Ghoulish spectres haunt every company: the ghosts of old technologies and systems. The past hangs onto the contact center like a residue, affecting daily operations and steering your company toward the dark side. Often this environment is ripe for creating monsters and frightening apparitions. Here are some that we’ve found during our company site visits:
Many contact centers have disjointed legacy systems that can no longer fulfill their needs. These software systems act like a core body for contact center operations, but lack the limbs and appendages to carry out additional functionality. Like Dr. Frankenstein sewing mismatched body parts on his monster, contact centers have added integrations onto these systems (i.e. applications for social media, SMS, messengers, live chat, etc.). However, often these integrations are awkward and so unwieldy that companies end up preferring a limbless body to a monstrous body. This leads us to Thing…
Remember Thing, the disembodied hand from the Addams Family? Every contact center has its own Thing (or several Things). Instead of integrating channels into one software body (and risking creating the Frankenstein monster of systems), many contact centers choose to have Things, a.k.a. disembodied software platforms (i.e. one separate software for social media, one for email, one for live chat, one for SMS).
The problem with Thing
Thing isn’t connected to the main body that operates the contact center. Lacking the essential nerves for communicating information, Thing’s data exists apart from the limbless body’s data. For example, the information collected from a customer who calls into the contact center via phone will be housed in the body, while the same customer’s message from Facebook Messenger will be maintained by Thing. Things create data silos, preventing your contact center from accessing the information necessary for fully understanding a customer’s situation.
The problem with Things
Imagine how distracting it would be to have multiple Things crawling all over your contact center. And what if you were responsible for monitoring these Things during your shift? You may become bit batty. Many contact centers make their agents responsible for multiple Things, which is to say, these agents switch their attention between Thing 1 (social media platform), Thing 2 (live chat platform), Thing 3 (email client), etc. This UX nightmare is not only terrifying, but it’s also grossly inefficient!
What lies beneath
Does your contact center have a fear of what lies beneath? Dimension Data found in their 2017 report (Digital Crisis or Redemption) that companies are only analyzing data superficially and not exploring deeper into the informational abyss. Of course, it may be difficult to gather a full dataset when you have several disembodied hands running around and a disconnected and decaying central legacy system (truly a data scientist’s horror show).
Fear of the robot overlords
If we close our eyes, will artificial intelligence just go away? The rapidness of technological change can be frightening to the point where we automatically resist it. Many thought leaders argue that chatbots are a fad and will never displace customer service work. People had equally myopic opinions about the Internet while it was still in its infancy. In 1995, network expert and astrophysicist Cliff Stoll’s article “The Internet? Bah!” claimed that e-commerce and virtual communities were nonsensical and unrealistic fantasies; which proves that even the most intelligent minds are incapable of imagining the future.
The truth is that artificial intelligence will soon be everywhere and, given that customer service has already started using chatbots now, these virtual assistants will absolutely become essential components for contact centers within the upcoming few years. But, have no fear of the robot overlords…these chatbots are here to help your team with the boring bits of their job, so your human agents can carry out more interesting, challenging, and engaging work.
Ghostbusting for the 21st-Century Contact Center
How can you eradicate ghosts, monsters, and other terrors from your contact center? Look to the future. Ghosts cling to the remnants of the past – so it’s time to purge and start anew!
• Retire your legacy system and find an adaptable, robust solution that will serve your company well into the next few decades.
• Retire your Things (various disconnected digital communications platforms) and get a consolidated digital communications platform. Make sure this platform integrates with your new system (i.e. your contact center system or your CRM).
• When everything is integrated and running, prepare to enter the data abyss and explore what lies beneath. We fear the unknown, but with a full dataset, the unknown will become the known, and there will be no need for fear.
• Make sure your software system and your digital messaging platform have AI/chatbot potential, so you can bravely embrace the robot overlords!
InTheChat wishes you a safe and happy Halloween.