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Digital Consumerism Changes the Face of the Contact Center

By Randy Holl, CIO, Contact Solutions, a Verint Systems Company

Customer Service is no longer just about answering the phone; it’s about being responsive to voice, social media, messaging, video, email, digital web and mobile.

Addressing today’s digital consumer-centric environment is now table-stakes and your Contact Center technology has to step up and keep pace. Working with clients struggling with outdated telecom and contact center infrastructure while others seize market advantage by embracing advanced multi-channel integrated cloud platform solutions is an eye-opening experience. The conclusion is clear. There’s only one-way to go. That’s forward – and fast.

"Contact Centers in the age of digital consumerism need to operate with an outside in perspective" 

Regardless of the solution you chose, your strategy and the technology that enables it must be agile, reliable, secure, and scalable. It’s a complex omni-channel digital animal that can span in-house, remote, and virtual services for a highly diverse – traditional and digital – consumer-base. Teams, technologies, and strategies must be empowered to handle the evolving needs of such a multifaceted, ever changing beast.  

To capture and keep the modern, mobile, and individually focused consumer of today, your Contact Center systems and processes must be:

• Personalized to individual customer behaviors and preferences
• Protective with multi-level fraud prevention and management
• Proactive to flexibly and quickly respond to evolving consumer and agent needs
• Persistent to asynchronously serve and follow customers on their channel and device choice of the moment on their own time
• Analytics driven to continuously measure, analyze and improve performance

Key to bringing it all together in the Contact Center is analytics. Rather than viewing call logs as a reaction to a problem, organizations should be actively aggregating and combing through customer service events, web, mobile, and IT status reports, and other customer data sources to identify patterns and create new efficiencies.

Let’s discuss how being data driven can help Contact Centers adapt, protect and streamline in creating a new consumer-centric customer care environment that addresses Quality of customer Experience (QoE), flexible and expanded services, better protection from malicious intent, and improved cost efficiency.

ADAPT

WHAT: Deliver the mobile-first experience digital consumers expect.  

WHY: It’s not just millennials who are digitally enabled. Consumer research shows that the mobile phone is now primary for almost 98 percent of callers. Web and mobile customer service interactions have overtaken all other channels, across virtually all age groups – even those in the 65+ age group.

HOW: Offer omni-channel solutions with persistence across any channel and device.

• Users want their experience to follow them as their lifestyle dictates. E.g. start on the smartphone, seamlessly transition to the PC, and finish on their tablet as the day unfolds.

• Personalization based on caller behavior improves QoE, saves precious service time, and improves first call resolution. Push the info you know they want up-front through ‘self-serving’ content, based on prior personal calling patterns. Dynamically orient menu choices to individually serve most used requests first.

• Modify call-flows in real-time for easier end user transactions. Offer shorter prompts to experienced users and more input time for those less so. If a caller is struggling, adapt the interaction rate in real-time.

• Employ advanced passive biometric authentication and remember key (non- PCI) info so callers don’t have to repetitively enter ‘preamble’ information before reaching the point of service.

PROTECT

What: Identity Authentication, end-point analysis and cross application data sharing can get you ahead of the fraudster.

WHY:  There were 110 data breaches reported in the first two months of this year alone, exposing nearly 1.8 million personal identity records. And, with fraud losses topping $16 Billion worldwide – almost half in the US – fraud has become a major issue for businesses to address. But identity theft is only the first step in the fraud process – gathering the information needed to authenticate. Step two is often through a Customer Service channel – probing systems for weaknesses and “social engineering” the Call Center for eventual account takeover. More than one in every 3,000 calls to a financial institution call center is fraudulent. It is only after these detectable precursors are completed that the actual fraudulent act is committed.

HOW: Analysis of caller behavior (and deviations from the norm) offers early warning signs that can allow you to shut the gate and keep the barbarians on the outside.

• The IVR is frequently a missing link in “Defense in Depth” strategies for fraud detection and prevention. Automating and taking action in real-time on the early warning behaviors that occur in these systems, gives the opportunity to act before a loss occurs. Working to block fraudsters upstream in addition to the downstream detection action typical of data warehouse analytics adds a new layer of protection without burdening costly agent time and resources.

STREAMLINE

WHAT: Drive for efficiency - Automate more calls today than yesterday and reduce call times in both your automated and agent assisted service systems.

WHY:  75 percent of customers prefer to use self-service – but only if those interactions are properly served. Not only will the above recommendations make for a safer and more pleasing customer interaction, they can save you money as well.

HOW: Hosted solutions allow for faster response to emerging business needs, technology enhancements, compliance, and scaling demands without internal dependency roadblocks.

• Make sure your call flows are well designed and easy to navigate.
• Monitor task and goal completion rates for continuous improvement opportunities.
• Track and analyze frequency counts of common customer pain points to prioritize and focus your service improvement efforts.
• Integrate systems to enable more transactions to be handled automatically.
• Proactively “self-serve” content to avoid un-needed transfers to the Call Center.
• Discourage fraudsters up front and pass threat assessments up the service chain to specialist fraud agents.

Contact Centers in the age of digital consumerism need to operate with an outside in perspective. It’s no longer about how you can direct consumers and shepherd them through your preferred interaction channel, but rather how you can cover all the channels a consumer may want to use to reach you and do it on their terms. Exceptional customer service builds brand loyalty and these interactions are one of your best opportunities to differentiate from your competition. Today’s consumers across all generations demand that your systems be easy to use, flexible to fit modern on-the-go lifestyles, and secure to protect their sensitive information. Your solutions and processes must be data driven and results-oriented to meet this need. The payoff is increased brand loyalty and improved long-term customer value.

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