Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

As Contact Center Solutions Change, So Must the Contact Center

January 18, 2017

The customer support function is changing today. Not only are people communicating with the companies with which they do business differently – think mobile app and social media instead of phone call, at least for first contact – the mindset of the customer is changing. The so-called “Millennial generation” has overtaken the Baby Boomers in number to become the largest generation in America. And the Millennials do things differently.

Millennials have grown up with technology, and they’re used to multitasking, even when it comes to interacting with companies. But it’s not only the millennials who are using technology: even older generations of Americans are becoming more used to omnichannel, mobile and social communications. At the same time, all Americans are more demanding in their expectations of customer support: it needs to be fast and easy, and it needs to get results.

According to a recent blog post by Aspect’s Clare Angood, chat bots are the perfect technology to build a bridge between demanding omnichannel customers and companies.

“Facebook and Twitter have made it possible for businesses to set up these bots in their messaging apps, and some companies have even set up WhatsApp numbers for customers to contact them on,” wrote Angood. “When WhatsApp and Facebook each have one billion users, this is a huge amount of people that can be reached through these apps. So it makes sense for companies to go where their customers already are and introduce message app chat bots.”

As contact center solutions, chat bots can serve a lot of functions. They can easily answer simple questions: “What are your hours?” “Can I check my balance online?” “Where can I troubleshoot problems?” They can also act as a gateway to live help from an agent, since no matter how well it’s set up, a chat bot won’t be able to solve all a customer’s issues. What’s clever about chat bots is they can carry the pertinent information over to a live agent, and even use predictive analytics to draw conclusions about the customer’s issue, and route it to the right place.

“This is when it should give the customer the option to speak to a human contact center agent,” wrote Angood. “One of the most important things to consider here is the concept of context. Agents should be told what the customer’s issue is when they pick up the phone. This avoids any annoyance when the customer has to repeat their problem.”

When chat bots offload the easy and basic questions, they free up live agents to handle the more complex interactions, which is a win for customers, agents and the brand. 

Edited by Alicia Young