02/03/2015

By Adam Faulkner, Founding Director at Sabio


While the UK already sets the standard when it comes to innovative customer service delivery in Europe, 2015 is no time to hold back on innovation – particularly as mobile, social, cloud and big data continue to drive new possibilities. To help provide a framework for next stage customer engagement developments, Sabio has highlighted the 15 main infrastructure, solution and strategic topics that will help drive innovation over the coming year.

Infrastructure:

1. Personal digital device explosion changing customer engagement – some Sabio customers report 40% of contacts now coming from smart devices, and this will accelerate during 2015. Consumers now have access to more advanced technology than most contact centres, making service differentiation through technology innovation a challenge.

2. Platform for next generation service – many firms delayed infrastructure investment until the economic recovery strengthened. 2015 will see infrastructure upgrades to support additional customer channels and integration.

3. Services shift towards the edge – a mix of smart device technologies, biometric fingerprint readers, intelligent apps and 4G connectivity is enabling new ‘edge services’. Dedicated applications such as Visual IVR and ID&V can deflect demand, creating operational savings.

4. Next-generation Voice enables embedded service – WebRTC, the open source project that turns the Web into an open communication platform, is poised to support intelligent embedded service. Developments will include click-to-call or click-to-video chat directly from apps, as well as live product demos and Amazon Mayday-style support.

5. Cloud gains momentum – While hosted deployment is attractive for smaller, sub 150-seat contact centres, larger operations with 1,000+ seats largely remain on premise. 2015 will blur this distinction as more organisations seek the flexible pricing, competitive features and rapid deployment offered by hosted solutions.

Solution:

1. PCI challenge – 2015 will see organisations transition towards a next generation secure voice approach that de-scopes the contact centre in PCI terms, avoiding card data in the contact centre in the first place.

2. Knowledge & Case Management – with contact centres increasingly serving as an escalation channel, advisors are handling fewer ‘standard calls’. 2015 will need smarter agents, supported by the latest generation of Knowledge & Case Management and Agent Desktop solutions.

3. Analytics set for significant growth – demand for speech and text analytics will strengthen, particularly as price/performance improves and pre-configured solutions become available.

4. Adopting a more intelligent approach to security - Gartner suggests ‘security can’t be a roadblock that stops all progress’. That’s particularly important for contact centres, with their need to balance rigorous risk management while also reducing Customer Effort.

5. More intelligent Virtual Assistants – Integrating Virtual Assistant technology with high traffic web pages such as FAQs, or embedding them in mobile apps will prove an increasingly cost-effective way to handle repeated queries.

Strategic:

1. Tighter integration between online channels and the contact centre – though often managed by different parts of the business, to the customer – it is all the same. Poor web design frustrates customers and can easily result in thousands of unnecessary calls.

2. Just Do It! – With so many channels on offer, many organisations aren’t sure what to do next. 2015 will firms being tactical about channels, with more projects and less waiting for an end-to-end strategic Digital Customer Service roadmap to appear

3. Removing barriers – Whether it’s simplifying commuting with personal travel cards such as Oyster or taking the pain out of payment with ApplePay, consumers tend to adopt simpler service innovations that make life easier. Apply the same thinking when it comes to innovating in order to reduce Customer Effort scores

4. Do social properly – the majority hasn’t yet integrated social media monitoring, analysis and response platforms into their contact centres. In 2015 you need to start listening to what’s being said on social networks and act on social content as part of broader CRM strategy

5. Customer Service becomes everybody’s job in 2015 – Silo-ed organisations can often make the integrated customer journey difficult to achieve, and that’s definitely the case when Marketing, Digital, Sales and Customer Service all operate independently. Contact centres need to play a stronger role in addressing this.