Execs In The Know- A Global Network of Customer Experience Professionals

The Contact Center of the Future: Everything Old is New Again

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The following is a guest blog written by Evan Dobkin, Marketing Manager at Aspect Software.  

I entered the contact center market five years ago, working on self-service interaction and the potential for personalized, customized experiences made possible by smartphones. At the time, the industry was planning for a multi-channel world. The domination of the “archaic” voice channel was starting to give way to native apps, social channels and SMS as the tides that would lift all customer service ships. It was very easy for businesses to get caught up in the hype of what was on the horizon and become paralyzed, wondering what changes they needed to make to their business to become part of this modern customer service world.

However, over these last five years, I’ve come to understand that despite the bells and whistles of sleek, up-and-coming communication channels, brands looking to add self-service interaction must begin by perfecting their IVR. A modernized IVR can help to improve the customer experience while providing a solid foundation for additional contact channels.

IVR has been, and will continue to be, the workhorse of your customer service offering. Often regarded by consumers as “the channel of last resort,” because they expect resolution when taking the time to call directly, it’s actually critical for resolving many customer issues. Not convinced? Consider these modern IVR realities:

– IVR is one of many contact points

– Improved speech recognition and dynamic personalization have made navigation easier

– New interactive voice solutions (Amazon Echo, Siri, etc…) emerged that are redefining how we interact with and our expectations of today’s IVR

– It is all about customer experience, ease of use – and containing costs

In 2012 Pew Research Center reported 46% of American adults owned a smartphone. By November of 2016 the number climbed to 77%. With this high adoption rate, consumers are more connected than ever before via social, apps and text and messaging platforms. In fact, KPCB reported in 2015 that six of the top 10 most used apps are messaging apps. Once upon a time voice was just IVR and live agent, but now includes virtual assistants and smart devices with the ability for voice and video.

It’s become apparent that brands can no longer afford to have their IVR operating in isolation. The enterprise IVR must become the foundation of the overall customer service ecosystem by adapting to changes in the way that customers prefer to interact, as well as adopting new technologies to enable the best possible experiences for customers. It’s time to leverage the technologies that make these new interaction points so popular to finally make good on the promise of IVR.

Join my Shop Talk, Modern IVR: Revitalize Your Most Important Touchpoint, at Customer Response Summit Vegas on Wednesday, February 8th and learn how adding modern capabilities to your IVR can improve the customer experience and help you capitalize on your customer’s first impression.


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