Giving the customer control of the contact center experience

Experience customisation is an innovation that’s blossoming in the 21st century.

Technology has advanced to the point where a technologically-delivered product can be customised by the consumer’s selection of such a wide variety of options that each instance is likely to be unique. Consider for instance any premium automobile. From the customer’s viewpoint, the range of choice is getting back close to the ‘coach-built’ era before Henry Ford came along and standardised production with his model ‘T’.

What goes around comes around. But the auto is probably the most complex-to-develop industrial revolution item with which most of us still interact on a regular basis, so this evolutionary journey has been a slow one, taking around a hundred years.

But nearly five times faster has been the digital-era evolution of the smartphone. The selection of apps installed and content downloaded to a smartphone most probably makes almost every unit unique within, say, a month of acquisition.

Those who have grown up with the smartphone don’t collect music albums by favorite artists. They assemble favorite playlists containing individual tracks, which they may share with a few friends or family. Ever heard of the compact cassette?

My point here is that technology is facilitating mass personalisation, and that the cycle between platform innovation and personalisation is getting shorter.

In the contact center the challenge is to respond to the ever-increasing expectation of personalisation so as to retain (or better, improve) customer satisfaction whilst constraining costs. Here at Syntec, we believe that this means customer contact journeys will increasingly need to navigate multiple platforms, probably multi-channel, to reach a successful conclusion.

That’s why we’d encourage you to insert customer control into your contact offer, so that you re-envision yourselves as a contact control center, providing access to a smorgasbord of contact resolution technologies. For a telephone call in 2020 that might mean data-based identity verification, multi-level-menu call routing, automated account-balance reporting, agent-based query-resolution resulting in an up-sell, secure payment acquisition and an automated end-of-call survey. AI-based routing could even search out the best agent for you as an individual, based on everything that the CRM knows about you (which can sometimes be a frightening amount when all channels are pulled together) and what it knows about the agents on shift.

Across this smorgasbord of contact channels and customer experience, you’ll still need to be taking payments in a PCI-DSS and GDPR-compliant manner. As one of only a handful of patent-holding specialists in this area, we can help you with this and to increase customer choice and satisfaction whilst decreasing wrap-up time and also decreasing channel payment costs and the risks related to a data breach.  For more info on our CardEasy service click here.

But in just a year or two’s time, the identity verification might be voice-based, the call routing might be bot-based using natural language recognition and the end-of-call-survey might be tailored to the specific navigation through the smorgasbord. Neither we nor you can be sure. But for sure both the rate and range of development is increasing, and I can see lots of choice coming to a call center near you, which is why I urge you to start making choices which enable the customer to control the contact journey, rather than have the customer continue to see the call center as seeking to control them.

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