Digital transformation projects will continue to disrupt the customer experience in 2019, says Aspect Software

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Customer experience expert provides predictions of changes to the contact centre and customer service landscape for the year ahead

Over the last few years, digital transformation has been one of the biggest buzzwords in business and with organisations understanding the benefits that technologies such as AI, IoT and big-data analytics can bring, projects have been executed, bringing improved efficiencies, cost reductions and improvements to business processes. According to Aspect Software, these projects will continue to dominate in 2019, disrupting the customer experience landscape.

“There has been a continued increase on focus of the importance of the customer service function in recent years and organisations are aware of the role technology has to play in this. For this reason, we’ll continue to see technology implementations improving the customer experience,” says Stephen Ball, senior VP Europe & Africa at Aspect, who puts forward the following predictions for 2019:

Moving to the cloud

“More and more organisations have moved to cloud-based customer experience platforms and this will continue to increase. With these platforms able to move beyond inflexible legacy systems – providing increased agility for busier periods – and bring all the elements of the customer experience together into a solution that can be accessed by anyone and from anywhere, we will see more organisations adopting the technology for the contact centre. When employed in the right way, cloud can be instrumental in transforming the contact centre into a much more comprehensive, agile customer engagement centre.”

Increased use of AI and machine learning

“With the right implementation of AI and machine learning technologies into the contact centre, organisations can not only improve their customer service operations, but also increase engagement and productivity among agents. These technologies have been instrumental in the rise of self-service options that enable customer queries to be addressed swiftly. Similarly, it’s no secret that happy agents deliver better service, and these technologies are also enabling this through automating and streamlining cumbersome processes and tasks, and also prompting agents based on cues. We will continue to see organisations implementing AI and machine learning into the contact centre in 2019.”

Omni-channel engagement 

“Offering an omni-channel experience means offering complete seamlessness between communication channels – a feat that may seem simple but surprisingly, many contact centres are still failing at this. While it’s great that many organisations now offer a wide variety of communication channels, they often operate these platforms separately, which makes it difficult for customers to switch between channels and runs the risk of them having to repeat themselves – one of the most frustrating experiences with automated contact centres. However, many are now tuned into the importance of this and as a result we will see more ensuring seamless integration across all platforms for an improved customer experience.”

Targeted customer routing 

“A greater focus on improving the customer experience is also seeing organisations looking to solutions that can ensure customers have their enquiries responded to quickly, but also that the appropriate person or technology is used to respond. For this reason, routing is having a growing in popularity – and we don’t mean manually pressing a number for a specific department – we mean skills-based routing to ensure customers are put through to properly trained agents who are able to deal with their enquiry. This creates happier customers and also improves the agent experience too, as they’re able to deal with enquiries they are specialists in.”

Human interaction will remain essential

“Despite widespread technology implementation and the increase of automaton in the contact centre, human interaction will remain absolutely essential. The customer’s need for human interaction is still prevalent and while technologies have developed hugely, humans are still required to deal with more complicated enquiries. As a result of this, we will see more contact centres ensuring their staff are upskilled alongside their technology implementations.”