The Contact Center Made Cognitive

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the contact center enables organizations to deliver the kind of intuitive, contextualized, and seamless experiences customers and service agents need. But what other innovative capabilities are needed to build one? Cisco’s new guide helps you build the future today.  

  • Get the three essential elements needed to build a cognitive contact center 
  • Explore a new migration model that allows for a more flexible path to the cloud
  • Discover the three goals of predictive customer experiences and how everyone benefits

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B2B companies are differentiating themselves through the experience they deliver to customers. This strategy will grow in importance, while differentiating on products and price will become less important.1

Customer experience is becoming a strategic imperative for how businesses compete and differentiate their brands. At the same time, customers want to reach out in a wide variety of ways (voice, email, text, chat, and social media), making it challenging for contact centers to manage all these channels and route customers to the right resources.

These channels are often siloed in how they arrive at the contact center, leaving agents frustrated by having to deal with multiple disparate applications, and leaving customers dissatisfied by fragmented and impersonal experiences.

What happens when you use leading technology to build a cognitive contact center? You get powerful information about your customers, predictive and proactive customer experiences, and seamless integration into the rest of your organization.

With the right resources and solutions, the contact center can lead the charge in increasing positive business outcomes.

Building a cognitive contact center

Turn challenges into opportunities.

When it comes to improving the customer experience, it’s important to find solutions that address your customers’ biggest concerns:

  • Fragmented and disconnected experiences
  • Slow problem resolution
  • Long wait times
  • Ineffective agents who lack knowledge and experience
  • Lack of contact options (e.g., chat, phone, email)
  • Impersonal conversations

17% U.S. consumers say they’re willing to spend 17 percent more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service.2

59% In the United States, even if people love your company or product, 59 percent will walk away after several bad experiences, and 17 percent after just one bad experience.3

46% of all consumers will abandon a brand if the employees are not knowledgeable.3

While you’re addressing those problems, keep in mind that your contact center agents also have their own set of pain points that keep them from performing their job to the best of their ability:

  • They’re overwhelmed by too much information.
  • They can’t find the right information to resolve a customer issue the first time.
  • They don’t know enough about customers to care for them in a personalized way.
  • They’re using too many applications and systems.
  • They struggle to get answers from experts in real time.
  • They want job satisfaction and work-life balance.

What is a cognitive contact center?

A cognitive contact center has intelligence woven throughout every portion of the customer and agent experience. At Cisco, we’re using technology to transform those experiences from the inside out.

Powerful cloud data analytics that help you learn more about your customers

Artificial intelligence (AI) that adds context, makes suggestions, and creates predictive, proactive experiences for your customers

Integrated collaboration so your agents can easily reach experts quickly to improve first-contact resolution

Cisco Contact Center solutions deliver innovative capabilities:

  • Omnichannel
  • Predictive analytics–based routing
  • Expert collaboration and communications
  • CRM integrations
  • 360-degree customer journey analytics
  • Workforce optimization
  • Outbound campaigns

Customer experiences driven by data

Contact centers used to not have enough data. Now we have an abundance, which means you can gain tremendous insights into your customers’ experiences. This insight helps you learn about your customers’ journeys as they navigate throughout your entire organization—beyond just the contact center.

Being able to gather, consolidate, and analyze all that wonderful data helps you improve and enhance what your customers are experiencing. It helps you understand what they like and what they don’t like. It helps you identify patterns in their behavior that allow you to make their experience even better and more profitable.

Artificial intelligence, when combined with data, provides a powerful tool to enhance how you engage with your customers. And it provides your agents with the context, knowledge, and relevant information they need to deliver proactive and predictive care for your customers.

Analytics makes for better customer experiences now and in the future.

Cisco’s Customer Journey Analyzer enables you to dynamically improve customer experiences to drive deeper satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value. Customer Journey Analyzer is cloud based, and it also works with your on-premises Cisco® contact center solutions. It collects and unifies all your customer data, from multiple data sources and systems used across your organization, and it provides a 360-degree view of your end-to-end customer journey—all in one tool.

Using statistical performance analytics, Analyzer assesses customer and agent attributes and behaviors that result in the best business outcomes. You can model what-if scenarios that help you predict business impact when anything changes, such as customer routing, agent skilling, staffing, and more. It even predicts customer needs, matches them with the best agent, and routes them accordingly.

Analyzer provides a complete and consolidated business view of your customer journey, so you can optimize for operational efficiency, financial performance, and an improved customer experience.

Gracefully migrate to the cloud

Cisco brings cloud technology and AI together, and layers them on top of your contact center—whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud. You keep your Cisco contact center on-premises, while adding advanced cloud services that won’t disrupt your business. Now you have a hybrid deployment that lets you enjoy cloud innovation and all the benefits that come with it, until you’re ready to migrate completely. And you protect your valuable on-premises investments.

Pay-as-you-grow flexibility

To make your transition to the cloud even smoother, we’ve created the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan for contact center. Collaboration Flex Plan makes it easy for you to buy a mix of cloud, on-premises, and hosted contact center services in a user-based subscription, pay-as-you-grow consumption model. This way, you can move your users however and whenever you need to, and you gain additional investment protection.

The need for predictive processes

What does it mean to create a predictive customer experience?

It means finding the right resource—whether it’s a person or information— at the right time, based on conversations as they happen. And then using that information to solve problems on the first try.

Let’s say a customer reaches out to a contact center using chat. As they communicate with an agent, Cisco Answers—powered by AI—listens to the conversation and suggests relevant articles and solutions to the customer’s problem in real time.

But what happens when we take it one step further? What if we used AI and machine learning to predict the customer’s issue and send them a solution before they even know they have a problem? This is where the magical moments begin.

Cisco is weaving artificial intelligence into the contact center to help you go beyond bot self-service capabilities and agent efficiency. With the right technology, you’ll have personalized, predictive, and proactive interactions with your customers that will drive their loyalty and lifetime value.

A predictive customer experience has three main goals:

  1. Intelligently match customers to agents.
  2. Provide the right context exactly when it’s needed.
  3. Deliver personalized, predictive, and proactive care.

68% Companies that empower their agents with unified communications (UC) experience a 68 percent greater annual increase in customer profit margins.4

98% of companies experience improved customer retention rates when their contact center is UC-enabled.4

25% of companies have a decrease in agent turnover rate with a UC-enabled contact center.4

An integrated collaboration portfolio

Agents, whether digital or human, are seen as the difference makers in creating meaningful customer interactions. But they often need a little help from experts to deliver solutions to customers. Traditionally, the contact center has been in a silo, making it difficult for agents to reach out and talk with subject-matter experts and others within the organization.

Cisco solutions are making it possible to break down communication barriers and extend the contact center to include the rest of the organization. This is accomplished with an integrated portfolio of collaboration solutions that work seamlessly with your contact center.

Imagine the entire company as a giant contact center, where every question can be answered by the right person. When a complex inquiry arises, the contact center agent can easily find, call, or shoot a message over to a subject-matter expert, without ever having to leave their agent desktop.

In this way, agents are more productive, they build strong connections with back-office colleagues, and customers get answers right away.

Everyone benefits.

How your organization benefits:

  • Agents are happier and more productive when they’re armed with the tools, resources, and customer histories that help them be successful at their job.
  • Agents have on-demand access to context and subject-matter experts whenever they need help.
  • At-risk customers are retained when you can predict their needs and connect them with the best retention agents.
  • Operational efficiency is improved as you balance call loads across locations and agents, regardless of geography.
  • Costs are lower when you move your contact center infrastructure to the cloud.
  • Agents are able to deliver proactive and predictive customer experiences, making the contact center a strategic center for forging deeper and more profitable relationships with your customers.

Your customers are not always easy to please, but when you make their experience a strategic priority to your business, you can create all sorts of positive business outcomes such as improved customer satisfaction and competitive advantage. Happy customers will spread the word, creating more references for you and helping to improve your brand’s reputation.

All of this can be accomplished with leading technology and the right partner who has the expertise to help you get there.

How your customers benefit:

  • They receive faster, better, more proactive service.
  • They feel understood by your agents.
  • They have a seamless experience without transfers and long wait times.
  • Their needs are predicted and they’re connected to the best agent.
  • Their issues are resolved on first contact, with no need to call back.

Why Cisco?

Delivering exceptional customer experiences—every single time— has never been more important. After all, this is how buying decisions are made. Cisco delivers the most complete contact center portfolio, combining world-class cloud calling, meetings, and team collaboration solutions with audio and video devices and headsets.

  • Global cloud leader: Cisco is the market-share leader for contact centers. We’re number one in North America and number two worldwide. We have more than 30,000 loyal customers and more than 3 million agents installed globally.
  • Integrated portfolio: Cisco has a broad and tightly integrated portfolio, with deep expertise in all areas of communications, contact center, collaboration, calling, security, networking, and devices. We offer tremendous economies of scale around research and development and the integration of key capabilities.
  • Flexible migration: Our “cloud first, not cloud only” approach makes it easy for you to take your first steps to cloud. Start with a flexible consumption model and advanced hybrid cloud services that give you cloud innovation without disrupting your critical on premises operations.
  • Intelligent journeys: Cisco leverages the power of cloud analytics and artificial intelligence to help you provide contextual, suggestive, and predictive customer experiences. We’ve invested billions of dollars in companies that are feeding into our AI and machine-learning practice.
  • Unified open platform: Our open platform architecture ensures that you can easily enhance business processes and workflow efficiency, as well as integrate with all the business tools that touch your contact center. Our intuitive agent desktop, reporting, and management tools provide a common and unified experience.
  • Security and trust: Cisco has an unassailable reputation for true security, and we continue to invest billions of dollars to make your contact centers more secure.

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