With higher-than-ever customer expectations, brands must remain laser-focused on ensuring the experiences they are delivering--via their contact center partners--is up to par. To meet these demands, contact centers need to be constantly innovating; if the end-user isn’t happy, the company employing that contact center won’t be happy either. And that’s bad for our business.
Having a contact center is, frankly, running a business within a business. With so much at stake, it’s no wonder there are entire conferences focused on the contact center industry--the technologies, platforms, and solutions--helping contact centers please today’s always-on, omnichannel customers. This year, ICMI Contact Center Expo focused on the goal of helping industry professionals to ‘navigate the tides of transformation’.
The 2019 ICMI Contact Center Expo was held May 13-15 at The Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida, which made for a lovely setting for a great event. Sunday, May 12, was the dedicated booth set-up prior to the event; it was fun watching everyone's booths take shape. Edify exhibited in booth #209.
With shorter show hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, attendees and exhibitors alike were energized and excited to really get going and have engaging conversations, make new connections, and learn all they could about the trends in the space. Contact center professionals came to learn things like how to successfully integrate new technologies, use data to improve customer interactions, manage a diverse and remote workforce, and deliver the highest CX possible on all channels. It really was an explosion of information!
Attendees had firsthand access to live demos and product information from more than 90 solution providers. In addition to the excitement of the show floor, there was a buzzing awards party and numerous memorable speakers. Personally, I was excited to see Ben Nemtin on the speaker line-up; I recognized him as the star of MTV’s The Buried Life.
On Tuesday evening, the Edify team attended the ICMI Global Contact Center Awards Party. The theme was ‘White HOT’ and all of the decor, entertainment, and hors d'oeuvres matched perfectly with the vibrant culture of South Florida. Edify CEO Cameron Weeks had the honor of presenting Dorel Juvenile and Safety 1st with the award for ‘Best Digital Customer Experience’.
Contact Center Challenges
ICMI posted a social media poll on Wednesday, asking followers, “Which practice area is the biggest challenge for your contact center?”
The answers were just as you would expect, from highest to lowest: talent & performance management, customer experience & employee experience, tech & SLM management, and workforce management. It’s undoubtedly clear, businesses want to be able to better collect data, forecast workloads and organize schedules in their contact center(s). Seeing these responses really validated our presence at the expo because these things are at the crux of our business. Yes, at Edify we work really hard to make it easier to do all of these things!
Wanting to dive a bit deeper, we created a survey of our own and asked three questions:
- What's your greatest pain with your current technology?
- What's your greatest pain in the Contact Center?
- What’s your greatest pain in the back office?
Submissions told us that people are frustrated by their current technology because it lacks integrations and is on-premises. Their greatest pain in the contact center is having to switch between multiple screens to manage interactions. If you ask me, this is a huge issue. Demanding customers don’t have time to wait for a contact service rep to manually move between screens. Time is just too valuable. Pains experienced in the back office included things like no team communication and poor video quality. Both issues are detrimental to delivering great customer service. But, the good news is that all of these issues can be relieved with the right tools built within the right platform.
There were several recurring themes that tended to dominate the show floor this year.
Multi-channel vs. Omnichannel
Is your communications solution just multi-channel or truly omnichannel? The difference between the two is whether everything is completely integrated and seamlessly connected. According to the Essential Skills & Knowledge for Contact Center Solutions Providers presentation by Fancy Mills, 70% of what you still see on the market is a multi-channel solution. Only a mere 16% of contact centers provide true omnichannel support.
Natural language processing (NLU) & Sentiment Analysis
Does your system recognize and route users in the workflow? Sentiment analysis goes a step further, recognizing emotional triggers to automatically transfer customers to live agents.
Strategy is a key piece of what you do that delivers value. Does your software provider help your contact center to deliver strategic value to your customers?
Customer Experience (CX)
There is one thing we all know is certain--focus on the CX and it will drive revenue. Any business professional, whether working directly within the contact center or not, is responsible for helping perfect the customer experience. This experience starts before a contact is ever made! Implementing a platform with holistic journey mapping features, intelligent data analytics and more will improve your CX. Adopt new technology that positively impacts your CX to get in front of the competition.
Major trends within the contact center industry right now seem to center around the concept of doing more with less, implementing next-gen technologies, and perfecting the CX with the help of modern tools.
We believe the next “channel” of a modern omnichannel solution is the addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to supplement the overall user experience. AI and machine learning can ultimately transform the way customer service and contact center teams do business. Does your platform include a dedicated, intelligent bot?
The brand that offers the most ways to connect with consumers and delivers relevant information at each stage of the customer journey is likely to win the most business. People are willing to pay more for a better experience. And part of delivering a great experience is highly dependent on the ability to leverage powerful data. People's demands and expectations continually change at a rapid pace. Does your data tell you what your customers demand?
Proactive, Personalized Service
Customers demand immediate, personalized service, and contact centers are at the core of making that happen. If a customer has a problem, they expect a fast resolution any time of day or night. The combination of Machine Learning and cloud communications is making all kinds of customer experience strides possible. Is your business able to communicate seamlessly with customers to deliver the best experience possible?
In-house IT is expensive, and contact center hardware requires continuous updating. With cloud contact center solutions, companies can reduce their reliance on IT and lower IT staff size. And thanks to AI and bots powered by machine learning, easy inquiries and problems can be handled before needing to reach a live agent. This has led to the rise of the ‘super agent’. Does your communications platform empower your employees to do more with less?
Contact Center Goals
These prioritized goals are perhaps some of your greatest challenges to overcome in the contact center space: training staff to succeed, implementing new tech, increasing employee engagement, improving morale, better managing the workload and being able to do more with less, improving customer satisfaction, implementing new channels and delivering better employee training. We built Edify with all of these challenges and goals in mind.
Edify combines internal collaboration, contact center, and UC functionality with customer success tools and modern machine learning enhancements. This combination gives users the unique flexibility to connect the backend experts—from the C-Suite to marketing executives to developers—inside the same ecosystem as those on the frontline with customers. This makes it easier for businesses to communicate with customers and internally across teams.
It’s the first and only platform to offer complete BCaaS (Business Communications as a Service) functionality in a single tool, with a single dashboard, from a single vendor. The Edify platform empowers organizations to differentiate, elevate, and streamline their user and customer experience. Did you miss us at the ICMI Contact Center Expo? Click here to learn more. See you at the next show!