Customer experience is a priority for contact centers. The pandemic has forced contact centers to figure out how to maintain the same quality of customer service while making a switch to remote work almost overnight. As an unprecedented number of contact center agents started working from home and in many cases handling an influx of calls and emails, from a remote setting, offering the best customer experience often became a huge challenge for these firms. On the positive side, the pandemic has given customer contact center agents the opportunity to embrace new technologies to provide the best customer experience.
In a recent conversation with CXOToday, Arpit Vashishtha, Head-Cloud Infrastructure, Ameyo, a contact center solution provider, sheds light on how contact center agents should rethink their customer connect strategies and leverage technologies such as cloud, AI and ML to offer the best customer experience at the time of crisis.
How has the pandemic changed the customer experience landscape in the last one year?
In the new normal, we are seeing the customer experience landscape being redefined across industries. While faced with an uncertain environment, customers are relying on brands to offer more consistent, reliable, and higher quality support in an easy way. On their part, companies have shown remarkable agility in ensuring digital transformation to cater to their customers and engage them.
In the contact center industry, ensuring smooth, secure work from home models has posed some challenges. Given agents are spread across multiple locations, arranging IT infrastructure and managing remote call center agents has been one such challenge.
What are the latest trends in contact center technologies for better CX?
Last year was a very difficult one for all businesses, with every organization trying its best to deliver on the customer experience promise. Leveraging digital engagement channels already popular among customers like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram etc. has been the key in maintaining optimal customer service levels, especially for consumer facing businesses. Despite the increasing popularity of AI-driven chatbots to manage the constantly increasing customer queries, we have observed that there are a good number of customers who value human-to-human interactions. In fact, contact centers are pivotal for brands in fulfilling this requirement of customers by offering a humane and personalized customer experience.
Moreover, video interaction is also being seen as a desirable option for both brands and customers, especially for the processes that require human contact e.g., customer onboarding and verification (such as eKYC/video KYC) for financial services companies. Another key trend is the rising focus on cost optimization, as most businesses look to continue to have a large part of their workforce operate remotely over the next few months.
What are the biggest challenges customer care companies are facing?
Currently, the biggest challenge is to manage increased customer expectations with the evolving customer base and their dynamic needs. Today’s customers expect speed, accuracy, conciseness and complete resolution all at once. While companies are leveraging new-age technologies to assist them in a seamless manner, there’s still room for better integration and smoother deployment. For instance, some companies have put ML based chatbots to better use than others when it comes to reducing bot to human deflection/handoff percentage, leading to increased operational efficiencies and better workforce productivity.
Is there a need for organizations to rethink their customer connect strategies in the current scenario? If so how?
An omni-channel engagement approach has become a basic business prerequisite, especially in a far more contactless setting. Towards this, getting the channel mix right, mapping to what customers are already very comfortable with – be it WhatsApp or voice or Instagram or in-app chat – is critical to deliver the desired customer experience. We are seeing companies including more remote contact centers to fulfill customers’ need for human to human interaction when it comes to customer service or even for customer facing functions like sales or collections.
What is the new trends omni-channel customer experience space?
Delivering an intuitive, seamless omni-channel experience is easier said than done, given changing trends and consumer behavior. Organizations increasingly prefer an OPEX IT model such as moving to cloud vis-à-vis a CAPEX (on-premise infra) model. Cloud contact centers on the rise. There is an increased demand for virtual customer onboarding in the contactless world, especially for Banks and financial institutions in India. With RBI and IRDAI giving nod to Video-based Customer Identification Process (V-CIP) for Banks and FIs, Video KYC Solutions are gaining fast traction with businesses.
Organizations have also started to actively consider hiring a remote workforce across the globe without having to invest in any physical infrastructure. With this, they can hire a diverse workforce and provide a native experience to the customers on their preferred communication channel.
Has Ameyo undergone a change in its business model? What did you do differently last year?
Despite the uncertainty created by the pandemic, we continued our efforts towards analyzing the futuristic demands alongside creating apt products and solutions that would be most relevant for customers. We realized quite early last year that contact centers will be critical in the enormous increase in volume of interactions that enterprises were facing. We have a robust business model. We provide plug-and-play integrations with enterprise grade CRM platforms that enable businesses to manage end-to-end customer interactions. Through our omni-channel contact center software, we support brands to integrate digital and voice channels on one single platform, thus, streamlining their customer management processes. For example, our partnership with Oracle has started paying off, helping us not only enhance our value proposition to customers but also achieve superior price-performance benefits. By moving our critical applications onto Oracle’s secure, second generation cloud infrastructure, we’ve achieved 3x improvement in application performance and 30% more cost savings.
We helped over 100 enterprises and more than 10,000 agents go remote since lockdown. Our work from home solution offers cloud-based contact center for remote operations, mobile app with full-stack contact center capabilities and omni-channel solution for multichannel chat or email under one roof.
What are your growth strategies and business plans for the next 12-18 months?
We have continued to grow profitably with our focus on creating products and solutions that provide value to our customers. We have been pivoting from a license-based model to a subscription-based model as there is a shift towards cloud-based contact centers. Our focus is on digital transformation with omni-channel contact center software where we try to deliver all digital and voice channels in one platform. A few key initiatives we are planning in our upcoming product releases include faster search on a large number of tickets using Elastic Search, vertical-specific Video KYC solutions for securities, insurance, etc. plus enhancements, common omni-channel SDK for creating end applications such as Telemedicine, Sales CRM etc. to ensure best customer experience by maintaining our value proposition of superior product with quality service.