As organisations evolve their contact centres, call centres and service centres into customer experience centres, achieving time to value can be a challenge if they take a big bang platform implementation approach. Making the change incrementally can offer faster returns and an easier transition.
This is according to Christiaan Kriel, Business Executive: Automation at iOCO, who says rolling out a new customer experience platform can prove counterproductive for many organisations.
Kriel notes: “Customer expectations have changed significantly from just three years ago. Now, most want the ability to engage on the channel of their choice, 24/7. They want self-service, a personalised experience, and they expect their queries to be resolved faster.” PWC reports that as many as one in three consumers will walk away from a brand they love after a single bad experience.
As a result, the race is on for organisations to meet these demands and offer an improved customer experience while also reducing call volumes and costs and reducing agent churn. McKinsey finds that improving customer experience is the fastest growing priority for customer care leaders.
However, Kriel believes that all-in-one platforms promising to address customer experience demands are not always the best approach for South African businesses.
“The trouble with taking a new platform approach is that these are generally pre-built and inflexible. They come in as a ‘hammer’ and hope everything in the environment is a ‘nail’. Organisations have to panel beat their systems and throw out existing investments to make everything fit,” he says. In addition, significant platform roll-outs can take months or even years, and may require extensive change management before delivering value.
Kriel believes a better approach for local contact centres is to add to their existing infrastructure investments, architecting new integration and automation tools and features to deliver faster time to value in key areas.
“Most local contact centre businesses have significant existing investments and may also have custom-written solutions. Changing the entire environment is a lengthy process, and this stands in the way of them delivering a better customer experience. But by filling the gaps in their existing environment, they can address key issues and start seeing value in a matter of weeks,” he says.
He notes, for example, telcos where nearly a quarter of calls relate to data usage. “By resolving just that issue, and making it possible for customers to use self-service to answer their usage queries, you can drastically reduce call volumes. This is a significant and measurable value, and it doesn’t require a whole new platform to achieve it.”
Kriel says two main areas dramatically improve customer experience – digital self-help solutions, and empowering agents to be more effective and efficient, and able to offer personalised and proactive customer service.
“With an advisory-led, technology agnostic approach, organisations can overcome challenges such as multiple disconnected systems and applications, to enable intelligent self-service and agent support,” he says. Kriel says integration and intelligent automation across data silos, workflows and ERP, CRM and BPM systems, along with AI-enabled RPA and custom development, delivers rapid results without having to change the underlying technology stack.
He says that addressing these top priorities takes contact centres a long way forward on the customer experience centre journey. “However, achieving an optimal customer experience centre requires new digital capabilities, but it also demands new operational processes, mindsets and even different KPIs. For example, where call centre KPIs might focus on Abandoned Calls, Call Volumes and Occupancy Rate, customer experience centre KPIs include Customer Effort Scores, Personalisation Scores, First Contact Resolution and Customer Lifetime Value,” he says.
ehind the scenes – iOCO, established to simplify ICT, iOCO is Africa’s leading integrated technology services company, with the largest concentration of skills on the continent. As a Level 1 B-BBEE end-to-end ICT managed service provider and Cloud systems integrator, iOCO operates with over 20 years’ experience. Its team of more than 4500 specialists delivers Open Digital Integrator, Enterprise Applications, Data and Analytics, Compute and Platforms, and Manage and Operate solutions to over 1 000 customers. www.ioco.tech