It was great to attend the UK National Contact Centre Conference run by the CCMA at the British Library in London last week, and to present alongside speakers from leading brands such as Air France, Booking.com, Lego and Severn Trent Water.
The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Delivering world class service, with a human touch’, and highlighted the key challenge facing many CX teams today – how to deliver an optimum balance of self-service and assisted service based on what innovations such as conversational AI can actually achieve.
With over 280 senior contact centre leaders attending, the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA) conference offered a great platform to share Sabio’s latest thinking around this issue. In my ‘Peak Voice?’ presentation, I outlined the challenge facing CX teams as they engage in a world where customers are communicating more than ever across multiple social and messaging networks, while half of them are now forecasting a reduction in their voice traffic.
Things have clearly changed enormously in the last 25 years. We’ve moved from the Telephony User Interface debuted by firms such as Direct Line and first direct 20 years ago, through online web and smartphone access, to the latest conversational AI-enabled user front-end that’s increasingly accessible across all our devices.
How brands respond to this profound shift in customer engagement is clearly important. However, it’s also imperative that organisations get their timing right and don’t jeopardise CX by debuting next generation technologies before they’re ready to support millions of customer interactions. Initial conversational AI-enabled assistants, for example, can already deliver real value when deployed in clearly defined roles.
But it’s important that we understand that we’re still only working with narrow AI functionality, indeed it will still be some years before we’re ready to completely remodel our customer contact operations with more general AI capabilities. So it’s necessary for organisations to determine what’s actually realistic now, for their CX and IT teams to deliver today, before making grand plans to disrupt their service operations.
I believe this is one of the reasons organisations become CCMA members, because they need to know the reality behind many of today’s impressive CX innovations, and they also need to understand what currently constitutes customer engagement best practice both in their own sector and across the broader marketplace.
As a CCMA Platinum Partner, Sabio believes that customer experiences should be brilliant, and we’re committed to supporting the CCMA as its members navigate their way through today’s rapidly evolving CX landscape. The ability to share, learn from and benchmark against the rest of the customer experience industry is core to this and something that the CCMA members hugely value. It’s a real privilege to be a part of this open and vibrant community.
Stuart Dorman can be contacted at [email protected]