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What It Means to be an “Intelligent” Contact Centre

Google the term “intelligent contact centre,” and you’ll see it’s been used for years, but its definition constantly evolves and usually is widely disputed. To muddy the waters even further, contact centre vendors each have their own spin on the term, typically aligning it with whichever capabilities their own platform offers.

But what does this term really mean, from the perspective of the people who matter most—the customers themselves?

We joined with leading global communications provider and Calabrio partner Tata Communications earlier this year to add some clarity around this topic. Here’s what we learned.

1. Intelligent contact centres let their customers connect in ways most convenient to them.

Each person has their own preferences and comfort zones when it comes to using technology to connect with customer support teams. One person may prefer chat, while another wants to talk with an agent live on the phone.

Whichever channel (or channels) they choose, however—voice, email, video, chat or social media—they expect their interaction to be easy, seamless and fast. It stands to reason that vendors who deliver this type of interaction over any and all device types create the best customer experiences.

2. Intelligent contact centres move beyond personalization, to individualized communication.

Let’s face it—personalised communication with customers via your contact centre is basic table stakes nowadays. They expect that, and that alone will not impress them nor set your company apart.

What today’s customers want is a one-to-one experience—they want to be treated as individuals. And this individualized approach requires all omnichannel activities to be integrated and synthesized into a single customer record that agents easily can access whenever they need it. Which leads me to my next point…

3. Intelligent contact centres empower agents to access complete and up-to-date information about any customer.

Our own research found that 34 percent of contact centre agents feel the lack of customer data available to them at the time of a customer’s request leaves them unable to fully deal with that customer’s inquiry. This inadequacy leaves the customer less than satisfied and more likely to submit another inquiry to the contact centre in the future.

Intelligent contact centres unify and make available to agents all customer information, so inquiries can be completely resolved to the customer’s satisfaction during the first interaction.

4. Intelligent contact centres deploy cutting-edge technology to better arm agents and more quickly satisfy customer needs.

Lastly, to do all of the above things—and to bypass, not merely meet, customer expectations—intelligent contact centres make the evaluation and deployment of innovative technology a top priority.

So what do they look for? Here are a few of the current hot technologies intelligent contact centres are actively implementing:

  • Advanced analytics. Used to streamline workflows and extract insights that drive better, faster service.
  • Predictive and prescriptive analytics. Used to anticipate customer needs and deliver more personalised interactions.
  • Speech/text/sentiment analytics. Used to analyse and understand not just what customers say but also what they mean, in order to more effectively grow sales, improve marketing strategies, and make better-informed product and operational decisions.
  • Behavioural analytics. Used to understand an individual’s unique behaviour, so agents can deliver the most personalised support.
  • Social analytics. Used to monitor and manage the company’s brand and reputation.
  • Speech recognition. Used to provide speedy, effective responses to customers in an automated yet natural manner.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) bots and virtual agents. Used to give agents the chance to locate answers to complex questions and other needs quickly and easily on their own, in order to reduce customer wait time.

Want to learn more? Download the full Calabrio and Tata Communications joint white paper, The Contact Centre for the Digital Age.

Brad Snedeker is the Director of Customer Advocacy at Calabrio. With over 15 years in the industry, Brad has extensive knowledge of the contact center space. As Calabrio’s head of the Innovation Center, he works directly with users to teach and develop new and innovative techniques to implement customer engagement and WFO best practices.

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