Home > Columns > CRM Columns

ICMI Contact Center Demo-Conference Provides Guidance for Professionals Questing for Customer Service Excellence

CRMXchange

Presented By: CRMXchange



Every company acknowledges that there is a growing need to deliver superior customer service. For executives and managers to lead their teams to peak excellence requires making a dedicated effort to gain the knowledge, skills and technological tools to position their companies to meet the consumers rising expectations.  

The ICMI Contact Center Demo-Conference, held at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV, offered a 360° view of the latest contact center best practices, and technologies. The event incorporated detailed case studies from such organizations as American Family Insurance, Penn Foster, Pier 1 Imports, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and others. Attendees had the opportunity to take tours of the contact center operations at MGM Resorts, TELUS International, Zappos, UPS and GES as well as the contact center of the TV show ‘Tanked.”

The event offered a multi-faceted education program including interactive workshops as well as tracks on Boosting Contact Center Culture, Maximizing Productivity, Elevating Leadership, Optimizing Technology, Driving Customer Experience and Achieving Metrics Nirvana. Special events included breakfast briefings and networking sessions, book signings, lunch and learns and a new Rockstar Party saluting the movers and shakers in customer experience.

Demo Hall attendees were able to evaluate the latest products and services and get detailed answers to questions on how they would make a difference for their organization. CRMXchange reached out to a cross-section of exhibitors to gain insights on the high-interest offerings they were demonstrating and how they might help companies to improve contact center operations.

lightico

Lightico offers real-time customer collaboration and smart automation with an in-call collaboration platform that accelerates contact center performance by enabling businesses to instantly collect documents, eSignatures and payments from its customers while they are on the phone. Jake Levant, VP of Marketing for Lightico, elaborated on the solution’s benefits.

Why is it important for businesses to make it as easy as possible for customers to complete transactions and resolve issues during the initial call?

Businesses invest tirelessly to improve customer journeys and experiences but it's only the “last mile” of that journey that makes the difference. The last mile is where new customers are created. It's where service requests are resolved. It's where NPS scores are determined.

Businesses are fumbling their critical relationships in the last mile - trying to complete complex customer processes like completing forms, gathering documents and signatures and collecting payments with outdated tools. Emails, printers, scanners, and clunky websites are no longer effectively serving today's customers, who are impatient, distracted and mobile. Its critical to manage those last-mile interactions simply, even with customers on the go.

What tools can companies use to capture the customer’s attention from the outset of an interaction? 

Companies should use robust, real-time digital engagement platform that empower their contact center agents to accelerate sales and resolve service requests - regardless of where customers choose to engage with them.

Rather than bouncing customers between different omnichannel touchpoints, agents need to be empowered with solutions that complete interactions - even complex ones - simply and immediately.   For example, with Lightico, while on a call, customers can digitally sign documents, complete forms, share documents/ID, see images and videos and process payments securely. In doing so, companies can capitalize on limited customer attention to complete complex processes and improve customer experience.

How can organizations, which must adhere to sensitive compliance regulations, improve the customer experience by using your solution to gather needed forms, documents and signatures?

Businesses that operate within regulated arenas can improve customer experience, improve sales effectiveness and reduce operating expenses by simplifying complex compliance processes.  Lightico brings instant digital engagement tools so documents, signatures/consent, forms and payments are collected and completed instantly and in full compliance with the relevant regulations.

With Lightico, companies have options to avoid putting customers through a frustrating loop that involves the email, print, scan/fax cycles that many businesses employ. Rather than suffering the consequences caused by these cumbersome procedures, agents can open a guided, digital collaboration session with customers to complete entire KYC (Know Your Customer) processes such as collecting proof of identity or residency (driver’s license or utility bill), completing eForms and approvals, and simplifying T&Cs confirmation – all while on a call.

What specific benefits does your solution deliver that differentiates it from other offerings in the marketplace?

With Lightico, companies can finally address critical last-mile CX issues. By accelerating processes and improving customer experience at business-critical moments, companies boost their sales, reduce their operational costs (FCR), and improve their customer experience (NPS). To find out how Lightico can improve last-mile CX, see it in action in this video.

MindTouch 

MindTouch offers what they consider to be a smarter knowledge management platform that makes it easy to deliver the right information to support agents and customers the moment it’s needed. The company is focused on the need to deliver reliable reports that go beyond the basics, working closely with clients to design relevant out-of-box reports to enhance self-service, increase ticket deflection, and improve support agent productivity. Kathryn Randazzo, Product Marketing Manager for MindTouch, offered additional details.

Why is it important for a support solution to provide more productive interactions by ensuring that account and customer insights are instantly available to agents?

By the time a customer is interacting with an agent it means they may have already had an unsuccessful self-service experience. These interactions need to be as frictionless as possible to ensure the customer can get the answer they need. For an agent to be successful, they need key information from their system of record to understand who the end user is, what products they have, and ticket information that was submitted.

From a knowledge management perspective, it’s important for an agent to also have access to any knowledge the customer may have tried to access during their self-service attempt. This gives an agent immediate insight into the intent of the customer’s problem, which empowers them to proactively solve customer issues. The net result is lower customer effort and reduced handle time.

How does enabling customers to find self-service knowledge directly on Google help to both improve CSAT and reduce overall ticket volume?

According to Aspect Software, 73 percent of customers want the ability to solve product/service issues on their own and one-third say they'd 'rather clean a toilet than speak with a customer service rep.’ Therefore, any time a customer can get their answer directly through self-service, it inherently has the potential to improve CSAT. However, they don’t always start on the company’s website looking for the answers. Instead, customers often turn to Google because it’s what they know, it’s easy, and they have had success with it.

Today, Google has become the ‘Agent 0’ interaction. If you're not delivering knowledge where your customers are needing it, you’re losing out on the most valuable case deflection there is.

Why is it critical for a knowledge base to be able to scale effectively to deliver content at any volume level?

Scalability is essential for any organization that is delivering customer support and service. At some point, knowledge content gets created at a tremendous rate, often accumulating into the tens to hundreds of thousands of articles. Thus, most knowledge management solutions struggle to index all this content and provide answers back to the requestor at a pace that is desired by those looking for it.

Additionally, scalability also introduces the topic of reliability–the more content you have, the more unreliable the content can become due to duplication of content, inconsistent tagging, etc.

The best knowledge management vendors have learned how to tackle this problem to not only provide lightning-quick responses and accurate search results, but to continue to do so regardless of the scale of content.

What sets MindTouch apart from similar offerings in the marketplace?

MindTouch offers a smart, fast and flexible alternative to traditional KM solutions. Its differentiators include the following: 

  • Scalability. Built to scale without reducing usability and reliability.
  • Ease of Integration. Extensible into virtually all CRM and contact center solutions.
  • Rapid Deployment. The MindTouch platform can be deployed within weeks instead of months, thus offering customers faster ROI from their customer self-service and agent assistance deployments.
  • Depth and Breadth of Functionality. Built exclusively as a knowledge management platform so it’s more full-featured than CRM and contact center KM add-on products.
  • KCS-Verified. One of only four knowledge management vendors to be KCS (Knowledge-Centered Service) V6 verified, which gives customers a proven methodology for integrating the use, validation, improvement and creation of knowledge into its customer service and support processes.  

What specific benefits does your solution deliver? 

MindTouch takes a holistic knowledge management approach by giving organizations a single system for customer self-service and agent assistance, along with advanced search capabilities and intelligent AI automation—all of which can be applied across any channel and any device.

The platform was designed with simplicity in mind, offering deployment times as little as four to six weeks. And its cloud-based platform means organizations never need to worry about scheduled downtime or maintenance.

The MindTouch knowledge management platform simply offers what we believe to be the most modern, comprehensive, mature and scalable architecture available, which results in enhanced operational efficiencies, faster ROI, increased agent productivity, and an improved customer experience. 

mobilecoach

Mobile Coach offers a chatbot platform for the enterprise that enables organizations to author bots that give them influence in improving the skills and motivation levels of both employees and customers with a goal of driving desired business results. The platform’s reporting dashboard and analytic tools empower businesses with the data to better understand what its audience is thinking and feeling in addition to measuring program ROI.  Casey Sullivan, Mobile Coach’s Marketing Director, dove deeper in his responses.

What are some of the primary business case uses for chatbots in employee and customer engagement?

Chatbots are an effective and efficient way to scale common conversations, whether with employees or with customers. Some common use cases with employee engagement include the use of chatbots to reinforce employee training programs such as customer service skills, new employee onboarding, or managerial skills. Chatbots are also adept at handling many common customer service interactions, which can include most Tier 1 and some Tier 2 interactions.

Why is it so important to have the capabilities to deploy chatbots across multiple channels while maintaining data security in all interactions?

Over the past several years, Mobile Coach has found that in order to engage end users the chatbot must communicate with people in the channel they are most comfortable working in--whether that is SMS, web chat, or a messaging app such as Facebook Messenger.

With clients around the globe and in many data-sensitive industries including healthcare and finance, security is of the utmost importance to the Mobile Coach team. Like most end users, we are increasingly more aware and concerned about the security of personal information. Our platform is set up to meet enterprise-grade security requirements including compliance to GDPR, HIPAA and other standards.

What differentiates Mobile Coach’s chatbot platform from other offerings in the marketplace?

Having chat on a website is standard nowadays. Mobile Coach’s platform approaches customer engagement from the mindset of chatbot first, live agent second. We have years of experience developing robust chatbots that engage with the end user, handling complex interactions, and creating a seamless transition from bot to agent (and sometimes back to bot) when necessary.

Other key differentiators in the platform include advanced authoring capabilities that enable the configuration of numerous script logic paths supporting many branches with countless rules- based conditions and triggers. Our platform supports the management of multiple chatbots and their respective data in one secure cloud solution. The Mobile Coach Platform simplifies the process of deploying a chatbot across messaging channels, languages and countries, making it easier for the enterprise to engage with their customers in the right channel in the right language.

What specific benefits does your solution deliver?

Mobile Coach has more than five years of experience in building enterprise grade chatbots. Our professional services team provides full support during the chatbot build out, launch, and post-launch phases. We work with many Fortune 500 companies to provide complex chatbots that engage and provide value to the end user and the enterprise. The Mobile Coach platform simplifies and quickens the process of designing, deploying and managing chatbots by removing the need for heavy coding skills or complex IT support.

quantiphi

Quantiphi is an applied AI and machine learning software and services company employing a team of Decision Science professionals to build scalable analytical solutions to help bring about the next quantum gain in both customer experience and unit economics of businesses. They employ advanced Natural Language models and domain-specific speech recognition, providing a new standard of accuracy levels. Asif Hasan, Co-Founder and Gaurav Johar, Applied AI Practice Lead at Quantiphi, offered in-depth observations.

How can organizations use applied AI Machine Learning software to help translate the promise of big data into information that has a quantifiable business impact?

Although m​achine learning has been around for years, it was previously difficult to use​ such ​technologies due to limited data and high compute cost. That has now changed - data is expanding exponentially and computing capability in the cloud is highly elastic. Computers can learn from extensive data and solve real business problems. 

At Quantiphi, we see five major areas where machine learning can be applied to help organizations drive quantifiable business impact:  

  • Power to understand visuals
  • Power to hear and understand language
  • Power to understand text documents
  • Power to anticipate the future
  • Power to optimize complex systems.

In what ways can a business use your ​​analytic innovation to make faster and better business decisions by tapping into a centralized and governed data resource​?

Quantiphi provides analytical solutions for businesses to increase their efficiency and reduce cost.  For example, a “no-limit” data lake can systematically transform raw big data into useful datasets and run on-demand analytics that instantly “scale to needs.”  This type of solution will help to accelerate analytic innovations and business decisions by tapping into a centralized and governed data source. 

At the core of Quantiphi’s offering lies our ability to train and integrate Google Cloud’s solution for contact centers, ​Contact Center AI​, with our clients’ systems. As ​announced​ in August 2018, Quantiphi was a launch partner for the Contact Center AI solution. At the core of the solution, we have a virtual agent trained on a large data set of call and chat logs. In cases when the conversation is transferred to a live agent, Agent Assist keeps listening to the conversation, extracts contextually relevant information from the knowledge base and presents that information to the live agent. The solution also allows for automated tagging of calls and chat logs to different topics, thereby reducing manual effort. 

Additional Quantiphi offerings that help our clients leverage their data to make faster and better business decisions include: recommendation engines, time series forecasting, image classification, video intelligence, preventive maintenance, and keyword detection. 

How do your ​​natural language understanding and speech recognition models extend the boundaries of existing solutions? 

A majority of the classic natural language processing techniques attempt to process text without understanding the meaning of the words. Deep learning enables machines to overcome this problem by training large neural networks in an environment with similar objects, relationships, and dynamics as our own, making these models far more powerful. Quantiphi’s natural language models go beyond the traditional topic and sentiment analysis and give our clients the ability to build custom chatbots, fraud detection agents, auto response systems and other powerful natural language understanding systems at unprecedented accuracy levels.

While conversational speech recognition systems have largely reached human parity with Google Home and Alexa showing small word error rates, the same cannot be said about domain-specific speech, which can be laden with vernacular terminology and slang. Quantiphi’s domain-specific speech recognition models overcome this problem through careful customization of acoustic and language components of the model pipeline to offer world-class accuracy in domain-specific speech. They also perform at near-human levels in speech emotion detection and other specialized voice recognition tasks. 

Quantiphi has worked closely with leading clients to develop natural language and speech recognition solutions across industries, including financial trading, media and higher education.

What are the beliefs on which Quantiphi was founded and how has it helped your organization grow?

Quantiphi was founded in 2013 on the premise that artificial intelligence and machine learning would be essential building blocks of digital transformation, and that a new breed of expertise would be necessary to help businesses harness the full potential of these technologies,

In March 2017, Google Cloud ​selected​ Quantiphi as one of five global launch partners in machine learning and few months back, we were given the 2017 Google Cloud Global Partner Award for Customer Excellence in the Machine Learning Specialization. We continue to be committed to bringing together the power of Google Cloud's machine learning technologies with Quantiphi's experience and proven use cases in applied machine learning to help organizations transform their business.

shelf

Shelf promotes its capability to provide a better way to organize and find a company's content, enabling organizations to limit the time and resources wasted in tracking down information. The solution shows the exact location of keywords inside of documents, videos, audio, images and more. Shelf’s intelligent suggestion engine, Merlin AI, allows businesses to exercise higher new levels of control over their information. Sedarius Perrotta, Chief Product Evangelist at Shelf, answered our questions.

In what ways have the methods that businesses manage content changed in the digital age?

The role of knowledge in the customer experience function is straightforward; to connect questions and answers as quickly and easily as possible. In the past, this has meant heavy training, cheat sheets, knowledge bases, content repositories and many other tools prone to human error.

But the traditional role of knowledge in CX is being disrupted by four major trends that are driving an irreversible change: 

  • the maturation of the cloud
  • the next generation of big data & analytics
  • advancements in artificial intelligence
  • and new capabilities to automate knowledge discovery  

Knowledge tasks that previously required massive human effort are increasingly being replaced by technology. The chart below shows that the burden on people to “manage” knowledge is shifting to automated, intelligent technology. 

Traditionally, the Achilles Heel of KM was the time-consuming maintenance tasks that an analyst or manager needed to perform to keep the system up-to-date and accurate. They often needed to get all of this done along with a multitude of other time-sensitive activities that had a higher priority. 

KM graphic

Can you explain the meaning behind your terminology “The Science of Organization” and how it relates to organizations having the ability to quickly access their most important knowledge resources?

New and powerful insights, driven by data and artificial intelligence, are turning both the discipline of managing knowledge and KM technology on its head. This will help make the CX function much more strategic and aligned with business growth through revealing new, powerful insights about the customer.

Bringing advanced analytics to a KM solution has had an immediate impact, creating transparency where there was previously a black box. Giving admins the ability to see what users are doing in the system enables continuous improvement on the content level, system level and agent level.

Automation is another massive area of impact that traditional KM never had. KM can now leverage massive amounts of data and aggregate, transform, and assess trends through analytics and AI. This enables a new opportunity to create task lists and notify admins removing a burden on maintenance and administration that was not possible in the last generation of KM.

AI can also enhance findability in ways previously not possible. Content can be recommended to agents based on IVR selection, customer profiles, call resolution patterns and search path history. When searches are performed, AI can also recommend information based on what agents are looking for.

How does your solution enable companies to shorten set up time and ramp-up time?

The first step is setting up the knowledge management system in the right way. Investing in organizing and structuring the content from the beginning enables all the powerful technology to function more effectively. Despite popular belief this could take as little as two weeks to accomplish in a contact center.

The intelligence that customers, agents and employees need is not static. It constantly evolves over time. That’s why the breakthroughs in big data, analytics and AI are so powerful.

Once information is stored in a powerful KM system, the AI begins to aggregate, process and analyze it in ways a person cannot accomplish.  Through dashboards, admins can now easily see what content is: the most used, going out of date, difficult to find, what search terms are effective and what search terms are leading to dead ends. With this insight from the AI, an admin is given a new level of intelligence and understanding of their content repository.

What differentiates Shelf from other knowledge management offerings on the marketplace?  

  • Best search and overall findability in the industry. Search to the exact location of keywords inside of documents, images, audio and video files.
  • Powerful analytics to gain insight into user behavior, content usage patterns, and search patterns to enable transparency and continuous improvement.
  • Maintenance Automation to reduce admin overhead and improve content accuracy
  • Artificial Intelligence to learn from user behavior and suggest improvements
  • Award winning User Interface to make onboarding and adoption seamless
  • Integrated with leading contact center solutions
The next event on the ICMI calendar is the annual ICMI Contact Center Expo and Conference, traditionally the association’s larger gathering, which will take place May 13-16, 2019 at the Diplomat Resort in Fort Lauderdale, FL.