Agentless Contact Center Solutions

Agentless Contact Center Solutions

By Dave Michels May 23, 2013 3 Comments
Dave Michels JPG
Agentless Contact Center Solutions by Dave Michels

What comes to mind with the term “customer self-service?” If you are currently thinking about “press 1 for this” or “press 2 for that,” it is time to rethink self-service. The modern IVR, like all aspects of UC, is multi-modal.

Consider these facts:

  • Customers increasingly prefer self-service options.

  • Customers are prepared to engage in self-service solutions before they call a contact center.

  • The costs of human-assisted call processing continue to rise.

It is not intuitive, but self-service has become preferred. I personally realized this during a recent hotel stay when ordering a wake-up call. It was a human that took the request and immediately my mind raced with the possibilities of human error. Did he hear the right time? Did he write/enter the right time? Will he remember in the morning? Maybe he’s out to get me! So, I set the alarm. It’s the same with so many industries, especially when we have to provide or receive personal information.

That’s a simple example, but self-service applications can be quite sophisticated. Airlines offer powerful examples by allowing their customers to book tickets, request special meals, select seats, purchase, and even check-in. Self-service should be a priority for modern customer service, retention, and engagement; and part of a comprehensive UC solution.

Modern self-service applications need to go beyond touch-tones and even voice – they should be designed for multi-modal communications. That means customer self-service needs to span across mobile, web, and voice interfaces.

There is tremendous confusion on self-service right now. The PC industry is struggling and mobile is booming – thus clearly mobile should take priority. In 2012, the amount of time U.S. consumers spent using mobile devices, excluding talk time, grew 52 percent. That’s impressive; however, it amounts to an average of 82 minutes a day, or 12 percent of Internet App use. In other words, Mobile has the higher growth rate, but a smaller base.

The result is a no-win situation. Either adopt a mobile-first approach to self-service because of the growth, or go web first for the base. Voxeo thinks organizations should continue to support old channels while concurrently developing-out new channels – and positions CXP as the tool to do it.

CXP Release 13 came out earlier this month with the mantra of “design once, deploy anywhere.” CXP 13 is intended to enable self-serve solutions for the entire customer base.

It’s a great pitch if it works. Christopher Edge, CTO of Integrated Voice Solutions, believes it does. “Developing a single application that includes mobile access through one tool will allow IVS to deliver best-in-class solutions quickly and efficiently.” Does CXP deliver? I don’t know, but Voxey says try developing on it for free to find out. Free test drives are available at www.voxeo.com/free (includes support).

Sophisticated self-service applications actually offer a hidden benefit of improved customer interactions. As mentioned above, customers tend to prefer self-service for routine tasks and queries. That means when they do call, they tend to have fewer mundane needs. The call center agent becomes more of an ambassador of goodwill and retention. In other words, seasoned agents measured on satisfaction instead of entry-level agents measured on call volume.

 

3 Responses to "Agentless Contact Center Solutions" - Add Yours

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Art Rosenberg 5/24/2013 8:34:24 AM

What consumer mobility is doing to "customer service" is changing the old telephony ground rules for both inbound inquiries and outbound notifications. It opens the door for more efficient online self-service applications (with "click-for-assistance" options), as well as more proactive, personalized "notifications" from business process applications (also with options for self-services or live assistance).

Self-service applications also generate more "contextual" data for agents to better understand what the customer was doing BEFORE requesting live assistance. Such assistance can now be provided n the customer's choice of mode, i.e., messages, chat, or voice/video connections. With mobility, those options can be anytime.

Putting those self-service applications into private or public "clouds" is the way to go in servicing mobile customers, as I have been writing about for "multi-modal interactions." Voxeo, along with Interactive Intelligence and Jacada, is creating new opportunities for channel partners to provide value-add support services to using organizations in those mobile customer service clouds.
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Bruce Burgess 5/24/2013 11:50:44 AM

We cannot ignore history. We have implemented web pages with chat and click to call. We must maintain them for the audience that uses them. At the same time we must acknowledge mobility trends and accommodate the mobile user. Expanding communications options and enabling new business processes that unify/integrate communications channels is what enhancing the customer experience is all about.
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Art Rosenberg 5/25/2013 9:07:11 AM

Postscript:

When it comes to customer service, there will NEVER be completely "agentless" contact centers! Every self-service business application will require some means for a customer to access live assistance whenever they have a question or a problem with the self-service application. It may simply be that it is too confusing or taking too long for them to get what they need.

Such assistance won't necessarily always be with a telephone connection, as in the past, since there are a number of factors that can influence the customer's choice of communication mode for assistance. As my colleague, Blair Pleasant, described at our UC Summit session, even simply posting a complaint on a social network can do the trick!

http://www.ucstrategies.com/uploadedFiles/UC_Summit/2013/NewOpportunitiesinContactCenters_PleasantRosenbergVanDoren.pdf

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