Why Covid-19 is a watershed moment for the contact center
Contact centers have recently experienced rapid innovation, as a response to the massive surge in demand caused by the pandemic.
Employing millions of people in the US, the contact center industry is a major economic contributor. The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a seismic shift in its operating model as social distancing and home-working requirements, combined with surges in contact volumes to entities such as healthcare providers, tax authorities and airlines, have placed them under severe strain.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for growing numbers of private and public sector organizations to move from highly centralized contact center operations to a distributed cloud based CCaaS (contact center as a service) model.
Mission critical services
Several of our clients operate mission critical public services, with frontline contact center teams grappling with a surge in Covid-19 related enquiries. We helped both to implement appropriate solutions in challenging circumstances.
We worked hard to deliver accelerated implementation and seamless integration with existing IT systems without compromising service or security. The standard lead time to set up a reasonably complex cloud contact center is four to six weeks, but we have achieved a four-hour set-up that provided 90% of functionality requirements that were requested, then fine-tuned the rest.
Perhaps surprisingly, some CCaaS players are struggling, despite burgeoning demand. Having the right financial firepower as well as the technical expertise, systems and processes in place to meet increased client demand is vital.
Some clients are seeing contact volumes, either through voice or digital channels, rise in tandem with demand, such as public service providers and food retailers, while others like leisure and travel firms, although experiencing a dramatic reduction in business, are having to manage spikes in contacts for cancellations or refunds.
Different drivers pose the same problem, a capacity squeeze. As contact queues grow it causes frustration, stress and anxiety to customers. Although our huge infrastructure scale allows us to do so, we do not see increasing queueing capacity as the solution, but we are suggesting other approaches such as ‘machine agents’ to solve the problem.
Rise of automation
Machine agents are a form of intelligent automated services using AI that provide interactions using through voice or text conversations in a similar way to a human.
Voice machine agents use ‘Natural Language Processing’ (NLP) which enables those systems to understand language the way humans do. The huge popularity of voice-activated devices such as Alexa or Siri has made using these types of chatbots more acceptable. The global chatbot market is forecast to grow almost 30% annually to $9.4 billion by 2024.
Other advances in AI technology include areas such as emotion detection, enabling the intentions of a customer to be even better understood and dealt with effectively.
As well as benefiting customers, machine agents free the human agent workforce from repetitive tasks, enabling them to provide more personal-touch conversations.
Cloud-enabled CCaaS solutions can deliver numerous benefits including greater operational scalability and flexibility, seamless integration with existing systems, a unified view of customers across all contact channels, an ability to extract actionable insight and more efficient scheduling. In an increasingly cost-conscious environment, it can deliver cost savings.
Social distancing rules and health concerns have increased pressure on companies to provide home-working opportunities and cloud-based solutions can facilitate this.
The pandemic has highlighted how technology in general, and CCaaS in particular, can be used as a lever to respond efficiently to unprecedented demand on contact centers. It has forced organizations to tear up the rule book and however the current crisis plays out, there will be no going back.
Clarity is proud to have been providing on premises and Cloud Hosted Telephony to the America’s and the world since 2006. Our clients are worldwide and currently using our unified communications platform. Clarity Technologies Group, LLC surpasses expectations.
Call Clarity at 800-354-4160 today or email us at [email protected]. We are partnered internationally around the globe and we are open seven days a week 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST/EDT. https://claritytg.com and https://dotmantech.com.