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New Year, New Customer Experience in the Cloud


Presented By: NICE CXone

By Chris Bauserman, VP Segment and Product Marketing, NICE inContact     

Regardless of industry, customer experience came into full focus this past year as one of the key differentiators among businesses. An organization’s ability to create personalized, meaningful interactions with their customers was the litmus test for success. With 2018 planning in full swing, businesses are looking for new opportunities to build upon their customer experience strategy. Leveraging unified cloud native technologies, businesses will be enabled to deliver engaging interactions at each journey touchpoint to build long-term relationships. Furthermore, 2018 brings added pressure on businesses to turn their customer service engines into drivers of overall business growth.   

How will these influences impact businesses in 2018? Here are a few of my predictions that will shape the customer experience landscape:    

Cloud Contact Center Adoption Accelerates  

I expect significant enterprise adoption of cloud contact center solutions in 2018 in order to compete and win in our customer experience-driven economy. This customer-centric digital transformation involves converting contact centers from trouble shooting cost-centers into significant drivers of business growth via exceptional customer experience. This will require more than minor upgrades to legacy infrastructure. Especially in large contact centers, there will be a renewed urgency to retool with a modern cloud platform. And, the option to transition from on-premises systems over time, and incorporate cloud into hybrid solutions, is eliminating difficult all-or-nothing ultimatums.   

Delaying a move to the cloud much longer—in whole or in part—is not an option, as outdated systems are unable to keep up with customer expectations. Today’s customers expect swift and complete service experiences and they’re getting it from leading brands. Eight in 10 say they would consider switching brands after a poor customer experience, according to the recent NICE inContact Customer Experience Transformation Benchmark Study. Leading businesses are moving quickly to be first in their respective categories, and contact centers in the cloud are enabling them to deliver great customer experiences while meeting daily metrics and incremental KPIs.  

AI Brings Proactive, Contextual Customer Experiences   

AI will play an enhanced, proactive role in enabling exceptional customer experience in 2018, where fast and accurate resolution is key. Today, AI in the self-service space (e.g. chatbots) helps provide fast service for transactional or traditionally self-service resolved issues. 2018 will break down barriers between AI and live agents by allowing a seamless handoff between them, enabling quicker and more complete resolution of more complex customer needs.   

Customer-facing AI is evolving rapidly and often industry or use case specific. Technology leaders should ensure their customer experience platform is built to be open with a rich set of modern APIs so they can use or swap out multiple AI technologies as they mature. It is also important to provide an option to transfer to a live agent quickly and with context.   

Agents Get a Unified Desktop    

Recent research firm Aberdeen revealed that a typical customer service agent spends 15 percent of his or her time finding relevant information to do their jobs, and uses an average of 5-7 interfaces. In their role as a brand ambassador, this means that they are significantly hindered if they aren’t able to effortlessly access the information they need to service customers. In 2018, businesses will look to simplify this experience. CRM tools have evolved to house crucial customer history, but that value is diminished if they have to jump between one platform to the next. Ensuring a seamless agent experience, which enables a great customer experience, is a top priority in 2018.    

To better support their agents in this vein, businesses will turn towards new solutions, with 36 percent planning on upgrading their contact center technology in 2018. These cloud-first platforms improve omnichannel routing and customer journey context to help streamline the processes and provide agents the tools and information they need to be productive and efficient, while also delivering excellent service. If 2017 was the year of mastering the individual tools needed to improve the customer experience, 2018 will be the year they came together in a unified platform.  

Exciting Times in Customer Experience

Technology has fundamentally changed the relationship between businesses and their customers. As a baseline, customers expect personalization, with organizations readily accessing purchase history and preferences. In addition, our culture of instant gratification is stronger than ever, so businesses also need to prioritize expediency in delivering results and resolutions. The most successful businesses in 2018 will be those who put themselves right in that sweet spot – understanding their customers’ journey and context and quickly and seamlessly meeting their needs. Expect to see more businesses turning to innovative, cloud native solutions to meet these expectations and drive long-term results across the organization.