This blog post is a part of our series Contact Center 2025. In this series of weekly blog posts, we will provide a detailed market analysis on the different facets of the future of the contact center
- Part 1: The emperor’s new clothes: changing consumers and their expectations
- Part 2: From cost center to profit center by automatic insanely boring stuff
- Part 3: Technological enablers (September 15th)
- Part 4: A roadmap for contact center automation (September 22nd)
- Part 5: From contact center to experience center (September 29nd)
From cost center to profit center by automating the boring stuff
Transforming static into a real-time interactive operating model
Building the contact center of the future requires a journey of increased efficiency and effectiveness.
Machine automated interactions will increase efficiency of customer support. We envision artificial intelligence and natural language processing to be the most significant drivers to push to a new, unexplored, level of automation, up to the point where machines can handle the bulk of the incoming call and message load, regardless of the channel where these interactions occur.
Human-augmented interaction will increase efficiency by a support agent. Having a human agent work with automated systems will increase his/her productivity dramatically. The human agent can now be free from humdrum and tedious activities like answering the same questions over and over again. Instead, he or she can concentrate fully on interacting in such a way that it will “wow” the consumer. Human-machine enforced interaction is where the future is. Having automated machines relieve human agents from menial and dull jobs allows those agents to fully dedicate themselves to more difficult issues and to deliver a meaningful and positive experience to consumers.
The risk of losing a personal touch is real, as well as machines might not be equipped to handle irrationality, emotions and other human characteristics. In addition, humans tend to dislike machines that try and mimic human traits. This phenomenon is called uncanny valley, and is widely accepted in the robotic industry.
Although the benefits of machine automation are clear, the human element remains a key differentiator in balancing a delicate threshold between effectiveness and efficiency. Therefore, we recommend adopting robotic process automation systems and artificial intelligence to take over and hence relieve the human support agent of simple tasks, while granting him/her the freedom and extremely powerful technology to become consumers’ best friend and assistant.
The contact center as profit center: this time things are different
In the digital economy, every customer interaction is an opportunity for an organization to create loyalty and enhance customer lifetime value. In order to survive – let alone thrive – in today’s marketplace, an organization can no longer view the customer experience as a collection of disparate parts. It should instead embrace the notion that all facets of the customer engagement experience are connected and view each individual moment as part of a singular, potentially endless “journey”.
Upon accepting this reality, the contact center can begin to realize its true potential. Instead of imposing unwanted restrictions on customers, it can provide them with the effortless, consistent, personalized experience they are truly demanding. It can empower agents to perform more efficiently and effectively.
By driving improved agent performance and yielding increased customer satisfaction, the engagement center will create meaningful business value. The dreaded “cost center” notion will indeed become a thing of the past.
Transitioning from an antiquated contact center into the engagement center of the future requires a series of specific actions, ranging from changes in mindset to the implementation of new systems. In our next blog post we will give more details on the technological side of this transformation. The blog post after that will present a detailed roadmap on how to get there.
Contact center 3.0. A consumer intelligence capability that fuels delightful customer experiences
Regardless of the issue type, context or channel, the goal should be to deliver personalized, proactive and consistent experiences. Supporting this imperative, predictably, requires a combination of strategic and technological transformation.
Strategically, engagement center leadership must manage in accordance with the customer experience demand. From the way it trains agents, to the way it analyzes interactions, to the way it measures performance, leadership definitively positions personalization, proactivity, and consistency as paramount priorities.
Leaders can appear fickle by sending mixed messages about the importance of customer-centricity on one side, but requiring agents to use robotic scripts that minimize personalization on the other side. Agents are required to focus exclusively on responding to inbound inquiries or using metrics that have little to do with the customer’s perspective of the experience. This undermines the entire effort. The engagement center will not function as a vehicle for customer centricity. Technological progress enables personalized scripts and continuous learning systems, which is the subject of the next blog post.
Systemically, the engagement center must position its team to better understand and serve its customers. In addition to establishing support for omnichannel engagement, the platform should provide agents with a unified or omnichannel desktop and better insight into the journey. It should also offer a more robust workforce management engine while giving leadership access to more granular and actionable reporting about agent performance and the voice of the customer.
The platform, moreover, should fully integrate with backend systems and be readily scalable based on customer and business need, so that support agents can commit fully to delivering a meaningful and delightful experience.