Last week, Onecom hosted the first UK event exploring innovation in the contact centre with partner Mitel, who have recently announced their integration with Google Contact Centre AI. Joining the speaker line up were guest speakers from Mitel including Shameem Smillie, Contact Centre Sales Manager UKISA, and Joshua Haslett, Vice President of Strategic Innovation, who provided the room with the UK’s first look into the Google AI integration. There was an overwhelming response to the event, and our apologies to those unable to reserve a place this time around. If you’ve registered to receive updates, we’ll be sharing a recording of the day in the coming weeks. For now, here are the top three takeaways from the day.
Customer Experience is the USP
Customer experience is not just a USP but the USP. 85% of companies say that customers receiving a positive experience in the contact centre sets them apart from their competitors, which has a direct impact on buying decisions and encourages brand loyalty. This figure showcases how important the customer experience is in 2018, and the desire for businesses to find and adopt new, disruptive technologies is making the marketplace even more competitive than it is today.
We live in a highly competitive world, so a well-thought-out customer experience strategy is imperative to keep customers returning time and time again. This is where an omnichannel contact centre comes into play; agents can interact via the consumers channel of choice. Shameem Smillie, Contact Centre Sales Manager UKISA at Mitel showcased how IoT, AI and omnichannel all have their place in the contact centre of the future, and how when combined, they can transform the experience for the customer and contact centre agents simultaneously. This echoes an important takeaway; the impact of cultural change on operational models. User education is key, and teams should work together to ensure a connected approach to customer service, using technology as an enabler to streamline processes and make teams more efficient.
It’s vital to create a balance between the more sensitive areas of the project; managing the speed, tackling disparate systems and legacy technology, all whilst keeping an eye on cultural change. As we move towards the workplace of the future, changes to workplace dynamics as a direct result of innovation is an area which needs to be closely monitored. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that whilst delivering an innovative customer experience isn’t always easy, it doesn’t have to be difficult either.
Innovation should be left open to your interpretation
The updates at the event only reinforced the importance of continuous improvement and innovation to drive success. However, innovation doesn’t need to be defined by large scale projects in order to achieve transformation and in essence, not one size fits all. Onecom’s Chief Operations Officer, Lucien Wynn explained, “Innovation comes in many forms. It does not have to be a big brand-new idea, it can also be improving the current processes and revenue streams… it’s about building a defined, lean process that works for you.”
Amazon Prime is a great example of a company that strived to deliver an innovative product through a simple yet effective operations process. As a service, it is distinguishable to other offerings, providing their subscribers a premium service, for a small annual fee. In return, subscribers receive benefits including preferential delivery options, a streaming service for films, TV and music, alongside exclusive offers and more. Their process from idea to completion was well thought out; a seeded idea into a beta service, tested, continuously reviewed and improved on using key data insights. From its launch back in 2005, Amazon Prime now has 100 million subscribers across the globe and was recently valued as the world’s second trillion dollar company; a sure sign of success – arguably influenced by their open mindedness to listen to their employees.
However, unlike Amazon Prime, businesses don’t always need complex or costly changes to call them transformative, but should still recognise the need to innovate to avoid being left behind. Without change, businesses can put themselves in dangerous territory by not keeping up with the pace from their competitors. The message throughout the event was to innovate at a pace which suits your business model. Moving forward in slower, considered stages is better than innovating at speed and getting it wrong.
AI complimented contact centres can provide exciting, new opportunities
By 2020, the key differentiator will shift from product and price to customer experience. So how do you differentiate your customer service to avoid being the disrupted? Be the disruptor. Our guest speaker, VP of Strategic Innovation at Mitel, Joshua Haslett explored a wide range of features that the Mitel Google AI integration is bringing to the fold in order to optimise customer service, empowering a business with the necessary toolkit to be the disruptor.
The integration was demonstrated from customer and the agent side simultaneously, showcasing how the features would work in practice. Offloading and automating workflows to bots will give time back to advisors to deal with more complex matters. But when the conversation gets more complex, it automatically gets pulled back through to a human advisor to answer the query. By using bots, it will help to ensure first contact resolution, and provide the customers with an unrivalled, positive experience.
The future of the contact centre
Technology used in the contact centre is forever-changing and moulding to meet customer needs and their expectations. But what can you do to help your customers in the future? Continue to innovate your business at a steady pace, differentiate your business from the competition with unrivalled service, and look to innovate further through AI and an omnichannel strategy in your contact centre.
It was a privilege to share with our attendees the future of the contact centre through the power of AI and omnichannel innovations. On behalf of Onecom I’d like to thank Mitel for sharing the first UK look with their Google AI integration, with special thanks to Joshua Haslett and Shameem Smillie as our guest speakers for sharing their valuable insights. And thanks to our guests for taking the time out to attend.