New Year, New Customer Experience in the Cloud
By Chris Bauserman, VP Segment and Product Marketing, NICE
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.
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outdated systems are unable to keep up with customer expectations.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.