From Call Center to Digital Contact Center: A Blast from the Past Rockets into the Future

InTheChat scales digital contact channels using phone-based processes

Though contact centers recognize consumer demand for digital channels is on the rise and shows no signs of stopping, digital interactions are not meeting their expected levels, indicating that companies have not been implementing the strategies necessary for meeting consumer demand.

What’s holding them back? According to Dimension Data, poor solution functionality is preventing companies from serving their customers over digital channels. How can we solve this problem? The answer may be lying in plain sight…

In the contact center, poor digital solution functionality stems from the existence of multiple channels (social media, live chat, email, SMS, messengers) and the various software that support them, creating a patchwork of systems incapable of integration.

While digital service channels have only been around for a decade, phone services have had the luxury of over half a century of development. Compared to most digital solutions, phone-based services are simple and streamlined, offering a user flow that has been proven to work for both customers and call centers since the 1970s:

phone system customer journey process flow
1) Customer contacts company via phone, 2) customer presented with IVR, where they can select self-service or route their call to a specific department (ex. sales, service, technical support), 3) the rep resolves the customer’s issue, 4) the rep logs the details of the customer’s case into a CRM

Why can’t digital channels follow the same simple flow? The good news is they can; with the right technology. To make digital user experience run like phone-based user experience, the digital system requires four components: a multichannel platform, chatbots, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and CRM integration. Here’s what it looks like:

digital customer service user flow
1) Customers contact a company via their channel of preference (SMS, messengers, live chat, social media, email), 2) their messages enter an NLP component that analyzes their messages and can 3) direct them to self-service via chatbot or 4) route them to the most qualified agent for engagement (a sales rep, service rep, or technical support), 5) after resolving the customer’s issue, the agent can push the case details to the company’s CRM

The Multichannel Platform
Integrating all digital channels onto one platform eliminates the fragmented patchwork of systems seen in many contact centers, achieving the simplicity enjoyed by phone-based processes. Using one software solution for all digital contact channels ensures a fluid user flow for agents (all interactions have the same look and feel, whether agents engage via messaging, chat, social media, or email) and prevents information silos by enabling the collection of data across all channels.

The chatbot is for digital what the IVR is for phone. With chatbots, customers can get the information they need by selecting topic options from a visual menu (see How do chatbots work?) or they can engage in conversations with virtual assistants to find answers to more complex questions.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)
NLP can perform a similar function to IVRs in terms of agent routing. While phone-based IVRs allow customers to route their call to the appropriate rep (press 1 for sales, 2 for service, 3 for technical support…), NLP can analyze incoming messages and send them automatically to the most qualified agent.

CRM Integration
Poor solution functionality can result from a software’s failure to integrate with existing systems, such as CRMs. Without CRM integration, contact centers using multiple software platforms find it impossible to gather full sets of data about customers and their journeys. With CRM integration, companies can store customer information in one location, enabling valuable insights through accurate data analysis.

Seeing the full customer journey is also essential for improving quality of service. For example, if customers contact a company by phone and then switch to social media, accessing their phone records via CRM better informs a digital agent’s engagement and eliminates the need for customers to reiterate their issue – significantly reducing frustration levels and boosting satisfaction.

Looking backward to go forward
Over 50 years of tried and tested phone-based processes offer a great deal of value for the digital space. Adopting phone-based user flows and transforming them for the digital world creates fluid user experiences, allowing this blast from the past to rocket into the future.

Looking to rocket your contact center into the future? Contact InTheChat to discuss digital strategy and test-drive the ITC Enterprise…

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About the Author: Kat Austin