Published on the 25/01/2016 | Written by Newsdesk
Interactive Intelligence shares its predictions for the five trends set to disrupt customer service...
A massive 89 percent of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience during the course of this year. That, said contact centre technology provider Interactive Intelligence, is a dramatic increase since Gartner’s 2014 and 2015 figures of 36 and 58 percent respectively.
“It’s clear that companies are making customer interaction experiences a priority, and the trends we’ve identified will be critical if businesses want to stay competitive,” said Donald Brown, Interactive Intelligence founder and CEO. “Of note is that all these trends rely heavily on the cloud, analytics and big data. These now form the underpinnings of nearly all things customer experience-related and will continue to be key components of any successful customer engagement strategy.”
The company’s five trends to watch are:
1. Customer-centricity breaks down silos between the contact centre, enterprise and external stakeholders
In today’s customer-centric world, customer relationships are becoming everyone’s responsibility. One of the biggest challenges companies face is the number of employees involved in handling customer interactions. This challenge will drive the need for digital workstreams powered by converged systems that support customer engagement, communications and collaboration, and the cloud will play a key role. These digital workstreams will not only help break down the barriers between the contact center and enterprise, but also between organisations and their partners, suppliers and customers for faster response times and greater knowledge sharing.
2. IoT Expands the Omnichannel Experience
The explosive growth of device connectivity, wireless technology, cloud computing, and advanced analytics has driven the Internet of Things from vision to reality. Today, according to Forrester Research, a full one-third of companies report using IoT, with another third planning to do so through 2016. But how do companies use IoT to improve customer service without creating yet another siloed channel? Best practices for connecting IoT platforms to the contact center will be crucial if companies want to create a seamless customer experience across all interaction channels.
3. Artificial Intelligence: Machine Learning hits prime time
Artificial intelligence has seen explosive growth. Advanced speech analytics, which relies heavily on AI, has been used in the contact centre for years to monitor interactions and trigger alerts for intervention. More recent AI advancements have fueled the growth of machine learning. In fact, the global market for smart machines is set to grow to nearly US$15.3 billion by 2019 at a 19.7 percent growth rate (2014-2019 CAGR), according to BCC Research. Machine learning can help companies identify patterns and predict customer behavior. Companies will increasingly use machine learning to proactively engage with customers and manage the contact centre in far more effective and intuitive ways, including the use of conversational bots that serve as virtual agents and supervisors.
4. Digital natives finally get sophisticated DIY customer service
As the influence of millennials on the purchase process increases, the demand for DIY customer service has skyrocketed. This need for more sophisticated self-service options (think Web, SMS and mobile) has left many companies scrambling to give millennials a true multimodal experience. Despite these challenges, opportunities abound, especially for start-ups and small to mid-size companies. These companies are typically nimbler than their larger counterparts – and many foster cultures that naturally embrace DIY — thus can adopt these strategies faster.
5. Mobile Everything
The topic of mobility is nothing new in 2016, but customers, members and citizens are fast anticipating the ability to do everything via a mobile device. In fact, nearly half of all inbound calls now come from mobile devices. In 2016, developing apps for mobile devices will no longer be an afterthought but a mandate up front. The challenge will be to create an experience that ensures the context of the interaction is transferred as customers move from mobile apps to live interactions.