With the rise of social media and collaboration tools in the
, contact-center technology is quickly evolving to keep pace with new demands. Both heavy hitters and startups are running to innovate around a once-phone-oriented industry.
According to a Yankee Group study entitled Social Media Means Serious Business, businesses must understand that social media are no longer just a marketing initiative for generating leads. Businesses are now focusing on how social media, combined with customer service and other revenue-generating initiatives, can help make the relationship between a company and its customers more effective for both.
The study found that 80 percent of survey respondents believe businesses should review social-media sites to see what people are saying about them. Another 70 percent of consumers want to be able to leverage social media to see real-time availability of company experts in technical support, billing and other departments. And 58 percent of consumers say regular communication with a business via social-networking sites improves their loyalty to that business.
Avaya Focuses on Customer Convenience
"A migration to chat, e-mail and web services is a growing trend in today's contact centers. The next thing I see coming is integrating these channels with a rich solution," said Chris McGugan, a contact-center product leader at Avaya.
"Also, being able to deliver a user's history, IVR transcript, and complete customer detail to a call-center agent will greatly decrease the handle time and increase customer satisfaction. The ability to transfer customer details from one agent to another -- rather than asking a customer to repeat themselves with each transfer -- is a significant improvement in call-center technology, and we will see this capability gain in usage and enhance customer experiences."
Avaya Aura Contact Center aims to transform work assignment, overall experience management, and provide a unique approach to introducing multimedia to the voice-centric contact center. McGugan said Avaya will continue its focus on solutions that not only take full advantage of new multimedia channels but also offer simple ways for a company to understand their impact.
From Social Media To Speech Recognition
Andy Haas, senior manager of Deloitte Consulting, agreed that social media are quickly becoming the preferred communication channel for contact centers. Integrating social media into the contact-center technology landscape can not only help resolve issues faster, but also help derive meaningful insights about products, competitors and the market in general, he said.
"The emergence of personal video conferencing is creating an opportunity for face-to-face customer service in a virtual environment. Additionally, pictures or facial recognition could be used to help validate product defects in real time or provide caller authentication," Haas said. He also pointed to the rise of self-service avatars, virtual online assistants who can dynamically and intelligently guide a customer's online experience. Self-service avatars, he said, are driving a more fulfilling online experience.
"Presence technology allows contact centers to connect with customers in an immediate way to provide immediate information that's relevant to their physical surroundings. For example, contact centers can push in-store discounts to customers based on their presence near a company's retail store, driving additional revenue opportunities," Haas said. "Speech-based quality monitoring solutions enable the analysis of the voice exchange between customer and CSR to evaluate tone, stress and keywords to improve customer satisfaction."