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Intelligent Automation Will Help Contact Centers Weather Turbulent Times

Just-in-Time Knowledge: How Self-Service Can Empower Customers and Contact Centers

I recently participated in a webinar with ICMI and TTEC about weathering turbulent times in the year ahead and ensuring long-term contact center success. During the webinar, the conversation included trends to track for long-term success-planning in the contact center, processes to create efficiencies, and finding balance between reducing costs and maintaining the customer experience.

Such conversations resonate with contact center leaders going into 2023. Recent research from Omdia’s ICT Enterprise Insights global survey shows companies pulling back, not only with contact center investments, but also with customer engagement technologies. From customer data platforms to social media monitoring, our research shows a year-over-year decline in planned investments across the board. Additionally, the research reveals the top two priorities for next year include increasing revenue and operating efficiencies.

Given these circumstances, enterprises of all sizes must balance the need to reduce operating expenditures and improve their customer experience (CX). As a result, companies must take a strategic look at their planning and investments.

This cautious spending will result in companies in 2023 looking at their CX investments closely, and ensuring that every dollar spent will yield anticipated outcomes. As a result, vendors will compete on pricing and must market their proven results.

In response to these challenges and investment plans, Omdia predicts the customer engagement market will focus on automation and intelligence in 2023 to enable precise decision-making and increased automation. Such investments comprise the last mile in digital transformation, an indication that some are taking this opportunity to further their AI investments.

Omdia’s research supports that. According to our ICT Enterprise Insights survey data, contact center platforms and technologies that are expected to hold the most potential for strategic (new) and minor enterprise investments in the coming 18 months include augmented virtual reality, IVAs/chatbots, and guided agent assist, with more than 57% of enterprises planning to increase their investments in these areas in 2023.

Such investments should prompt notable returns for contact centers because AI will help agents solve problems faster. For example, AI-based knowledge systems can automate routine tasks and queries or detect patterns in a customer’s responses, and automatically close conversations. Companies can use the time reed up to refocus agents on high-value tasks and CX and empathy training.

However, technology investments won’t achieve proper ROI if employees don’t embrace them. Companies should leverage a cross-section of employees and learn about their challenges, and then find champions who understand the goals of the initiative and can advocate for the needed decisions.

Then, most importantly, teams must effectively communicate internally and externally. Companies that weather any economic uncertainty will be the ones that listen to employees and customers and then communicate consistently. Externally, be honest and open about any potential shortfalls, like staffing shortages, for example. Internally, continue to identify pain points in the customer experience or important characteristics of a great customer experience for the organization. Then streamline processes and focus employees on maximizing those characteristics. Don’t lose sight of those basic tenets.