I often think about what it would take to make the perfect contact center infrastructure solution, ACD, dialer, IVR/IVA, CTI, universal queue, etc. Obviously, perfect is in the eyes of the beholder, but there has to be a way of creating a contact center solution that is omnichannel, easy to provision, set up, install, implement and operate. For years, on-premise providers told us what they would do for companies, and we didn’t have many alternatives. Twenty-plus years ago, new cloud vendors came to market with a new model, contact center in the cloud, and again, we were told what they would do. I’m tired of being told what a vendor will do for me and would much prefer a communication and interaction platform that allows users to do what they want, when they want.
This is where the concepts of platforms and cloud come together. I dream of a contact center platform that enables users to easily buy and integrate the solutions and applications they want with existing applications, pay only for what is used, add or return components/functionality as needed, obtain help from experts at a reasonable cost, and implement solutions in short time frames, independent of the complexity of the operation. I know I’m asking for a lot, but given what I’ve observed in over 40 years of working in and analyzing the contact center market, this should be possible. But I want more.
I’d like a solution that comes with useful reports and has the flexibility to modify and create new ones without requiring the assistance of professional services, although I want support to be available if needed. The contact center solution should come with old and new key performance indicators (KPIs). Of course, it needs to measure all of the traditional metrics – productivity, quality, customer satisfaction, effectiveness, revenue – and the newer ones like customer ease and sentiment. I’d like the platform to be available in the cloud so that an organization does not have to invest resources to maintain the hardware and software. And I want to be able to use my own carriers and still have the option of using the vendor’s, if they have a better price.
Now for the fun stuff. The new contact center solution should use artificial intelligence and machine learning (including deep and neural learning) as its “brain,” enabling true adaptive and intelligent routing. It should come with robotic process automation to reduce the time agents spend on low-value tasks, freeing them to add value on every (or most) interaction. The contact center solution should be smart and learn from each interaction, sharing the voice of the customer directly with users in real or near-real time. And it should have the ability to collect data from other systems and share its metadata and findings with other enterprise systems, enhancing the perception of the service organization.
Here’s the real challenge – wading through vendor claims and promises to find an agile and open contact center platform that will carry a company into the future. Sure, you can always replace a cloud-based solution, but it would be nice not to have to.