With the vast amounts of customer data and AI tools available now, contact centers are securely leveraging real-time data patterns to deliver a more intuitive and anticipatory customer experience known as predictive customer service. But how do you build out a predictive service environment that preemptively delights customers? Consider this your toolkit to predictive service for 2020 and beyond.
CIO research reveals the challenges with UCaaS and CCaaS as well as the top ways IT leaders ensure success.
With the vast amounts of customer data captured today and the artificial intelligence (AI) tools available now, contact centers are securely leveraging real-time data patterns to deliver a more intuitive and anticipatory customer experience known as predictive customer service.
With more than 69% of enterprises planning to increase their contact center AI budget in 2020, it’s only a matter of time before AI gets infused into every inch of the enterprise. As it does, IT and service leaders need ways to capitalize on this data without further complicating their operations. How do you leverage all that’s available today to build a predictive service environment that preemptively delights customers? Consider this your toolkit to predictive service for 2020 and beyond.
What is predictive service? Predictive capabilities engage customers proactively, using data to anticipate needs. By using a 360-degree customer approach that works in line with sales and marketing, predictive service is known to optimize revenue with more loyal customers and greater competitive advantage.
Predictive service is no longer an “emerging” new concept. It has become a staple within the modern-day cloud contact center.
The predictive customer experience is built on three core components:
Here are the technologies needed for mastering these areas of predictive service.
What it is: AI and machine learning can be applied around voice conversations to generate key insights into customer interactions. Conversational intelligence draws from a group of technologies including speech recognition, text-to speech, voice biometrics, natural language processing, machine learning, predictive analytics, behavioral analytics, speech analytics, and more. Analytics engines are used to transcribe conversations in real-time for deeper intelligence and superior customer engagements. These systems leverage current and historical facts to make predictions about future customer behaviors and needs (ex: 61% of customers who inquired about this product were also interested in purchasing this accessory) 6 . The result is essentially computers or programs that interact with people through a natural language conversation, backed by elevated levels of intelligence thanks to AI tools.
Why it’s important: Conversational customer care is growing in demand. Gartner predicts that by 2023, customers will prefer to use speech interfaces to initiate 70% of self-service interactions (compared to 40% in 2019) 1. Conversational intelligence drives operational efficiency, reduces after-call work, provides a more dynamic self service experience, and creates better consistency across touchpoints.
What it is: Predictive routing uses AI and machine learning to match customers and agents based on next-level variables like personality, similarities, and the skill level of a particular agent (how likely an agent is to sell, subscribe, upsell, retain, etc.). AI engines can quickly mine a contact center’s entire library of intelligence to optimally pair customers with agents and drive the best possible outcomes.
Enterprises can (and must) adopt predictive service for delivering better experiences in 2020 and beyond. Practically, there are three steps that should be taken to ensure success:
1. A single technology ecosystem for digital transformation readiness
Predictive service is much more than “just” AI. Cloud contact centers require a constellation of technologies all working together: AI and machine learning, virtual agents, predictive routing, omni-channel tools, workforce management, unified communications (UC), SIP trunking, network services, security services, and more. You must think about your entire technology ecosystem working as a unified whole, understanding the various layers that both make up the environment and ultimately lead to customer experience success. In order to reduce IT complexity, companies need a single cloud platform that can support the plethora of cloud technologies needed to make predictive service work successfully.
Gartner recommends: “Use an application ecosystem approach to investing in contact center vendor technology that can power improvements by offering fluid and easy access to features and benefits.” 1
2. A reliable and secure network foundation
Building the highly desirable “digital customer experience” hinges on delivering near-perfect network connectivity for users across the globe. In today’s world, customer experience leaders and IT professionals are less worried about the ROI of migrating their contact centers to the cloud (cloud benefits are well documented and easily justifiable). Instead, today’s cloud investors come to the table needing a partner who is an expert in seamless cloud migration and application support with a proven history in executing transitions that minimize contact center disruption. They quickly steer the conversation away from virtual agent features and functionality, probing into creating a smooth transition and, most importantly, additional capabilities that advance their digital transformation.
3. Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS)
Virtually every SaaS application (CRMs, ERPs, UC platforms, marketing tools, etc.) has an API option, but they are rarely used. As a result, only a fraction of contact centers integrate their apps in a meaningful way (ex: enabling predictive service). There is no shortage of APIs, yet IT teams aren’t taking full advantage because doing so is too complex. Integration as a Platform (iPaaS) changes all of this.
iPaaS is a solution that simplifies the integration of multiple apps and automates workflows. iPaaS solutions expedite and simplify integration projects, using a real-time execution engine to keep up with demanding requirements of real-time apps such as UC and CCaaS. Think of iPaaS as the glue between cloud applications or a way to break down the walls between your various services.
For example, when contact centers unite iPaaS with UCaaS, voice recognition tools, and any cloud-based business application, they have the power to easily create voice-triggered automation experiences for agents and customers. Voice-triggered workflows take business process automation to the next level. Imagine an agent’s voice triggering automated processes, where the conversation goes like this:
Agent: “Thanks Mike, I understand you would like to order those holiday slippers and have them sent to your house by Christmas. Is that correct?”
Agent: “Smart Assistant, create a purchase order for item #123 and ship to customer #987 at primary address 1234 Miller Ave, Dallas, Texas 78206. Over.” (On the back end, a purchase order is automatically created and populated, ready for final confirmation and order submission)
Agent: “How else can I help you today, Mike?”
If service and IT leaders wish to keep up with the pace of change coming in the next decade, they need a smarter, cloud-based contact center approach; one that ensures connected, intuitive, and personalized experiences both internally and externally.
Transforming with certainty comes down to converging the latest AI technologies with your data libraries and cloud contact center applications as a single platform. Accelerating this process requires a partner with expertise that crosses cloud contact center applications, IT networks, global application performance optimization, and security as well.
Masergy is the secure software-defined network and cloud platform for the digital enterprise. Recognized as the pioneer in software-defined networking, Masergy enables unrivaled, secure application performance across the network and the cloud with Managed SD-WAN, UCaaS, CCaaS and Managed Security solutions. Industry leading SLAs coupled with an unparalleled customer experience enable global enterprises to achieve business outcomes with certainty.
Contact us today for a free consultation.