COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the customer contact centre (CC) industry, particularly in markets like India and the Philippines that provide outsourced services whether it is for inbound or outbound needs.
Frost & Sullivan noted that in the early days of the pandemic customer call volumes and customer requests surged. But containment mandates by governments and public health authorities forced business process outsourcing (BPO) operators of contact centres to move CC workers switch to a work-from-home (WFH) model—often using ad-hoc, remote workspaces.
The employees working remotely have to manage with less-than-secure legacy systems, limited customer support tools, and a widespread organizational support system. Companies realized that they needed to quickly pivot to more advanced technologies and tools to help them meet demand and fulfil customer requests more efficiently.
This involves leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics as well as application programming interfaces to deliver cloud-based communications platforms as a service (CPaaS) solutions that can be deployed and utilized quickly, often in weeks or even days.
Frost‘s Building the Foundation for a World-Class CX through Omnichannel Automation and AI highlights the best practices from industry thought leaders to identify key strategies that customers need for their implementation, how to create good experiences for customers with AI and automation, and how the “next to normal” post-COVID world will look.
“By enabling real-time communications, CPaaS and programmable API have opened up a range of opportunities,” observed Michael Brandenburg, ICT, senior industry analyst, connected work at Frost & Sullivan.
He added that through CPaaS, a business developer can create highly customized and complex workflows in code, or line-of-business managers can leverage the latest low-code/no-code workflow designers to build and modify workflows themselves.
“It enables both technical and non-technical teams to use the platform to offer differentiated customer experiences. More significantly, CPaaS platforms are designed to work with most existing infrastructures and contact centre systems,” he continued.
Businesses will increasingly use AI to automate time-consuming tasks such as customer surveys, handle transcription and translation services, and guide customers through self-service options. Some important factors to consider when deciding on the ideal solution to boost customer experiences include:
- Offer easy-to-use visual tools and rich APIs that both technical and non-technical teams can use to improve and simplify the customer journey—often a key competitive differentiator.
- Lends itself to ongoing customization and customer applications; many customers benefit from this.
- Enable a true omnichannel experience across generations and preferred communications types.
- Understand that AI is meant to augment agent capabilities, not replace them.
- Examine the entire customer experience from a holistic perspective.
- Utilize tools such as AI and ML to reduce costs and improve the customer journey but ensure human presence on the backend.
- Limit resolution time, reduce customer effort and communicate with customers on their preferred channel whenever possible.
- Ensure that the solution being implemented meets the customer’s end goal.