2022 – The Year of the Customer Experience Reboot

Originally published on LinkedIn Pulse on 6 January 2022

By Brad Hairston, Advisory Alliance Director at Blue Prism

Now that we have been dealing with COVID-19 for roughly two years, clearly one of its many business impacts is the escalated importance of customer experience. Most of us are interacting with companies (retailers, brands, service providers, etc.) in more ways than we did before the pandemic and more frequently, it seems. I also believe that we are more sensitive to the quality of customer service received than ever before. So how is the quality of customer experience provided by the companies you rely upon for products and services? The best way to share my perspective is with a quick real-life story…

I recently changed to a new internet service provider (to remain nameless). At the time of installation, the company ran a fiber cable across my yard to my house, which they said they would bury within a few weeks. After more than a month and no follow-up action on their part, I called the company. I spent nearly 45 minutes on the phone with a contact center agent trying to explain what I needed. It was not even clear to the agent that I had recently become a new customer. Once the agent finally understood the work to be done, she assigned it to a local service rep who came to my house a few days later. Once this rep arrived, however, I was greeted at the door with “So what do you need me to do?” This is not an exaggeration.

Something has to Change

Most contact centers are burdened with the same issues – too many systems, too little customer context, too many scripts to follow, too much turnover, etc. It makes a relatively simple customer interaction (“please come bury the cable you installed”) turn into a 45-minute conversation followed by a local rep that doesn’t even know why he is standing at your front door. Contact centers are desperate for simplification. They want to insulate their agents from the myriad of systems that they typically need to use in customer interactions. All of this only bogs down the agents and keeps them from delivering great customer experiences.

The remedy for most of these contact centers may very well be rooted in intelligent automation, which in recent years has emerged from the back office and moved into the front office. Specifically, this provides the contact center with a shared pool of digital co-workers to whom the agents can delegate “busy-work” activities before, during and after customer interactions. There are numerous tasks agents perform today that digital workers can perform much more efficiently, freeing the agents up to be more attentive to the customer, to empathize with them, and to seek the best solution to their problem/request. This includes pulling together customer information to provide a 360-degree view, as well as querying and updating systems with information provided by customers. With less busywork, agents are happier and more fulfilled, and happier agents provide better customer experience! Furthermore, digital co-workers can help agents reduce the average call time, which for customers is one of the biggest benefits of all. Companies using intelligent automation in the contact center have seen up to 75% reduced wait times and call duration.

Not Your Ordinary Digital Worker

It’s important to note that the digital co-workers in the contact center are “intelligent” and can go way beyond tackling basic, keystroke-driven, repetitive work. Depending upon the specific needs of the contact center, digital workers can be augmented with several advanced skills so that they can perform complex activities. Here are Blue Prism podcasts that delve into some examples of advanced capabilities available to digital workers in the contact center through our amazing Blue Prism Technology Alliance Partners:

Here’s hoping that contact centers across the globe take advantage of the opportunity to embrace intelligent automation to radically improve customer experience in 2022!

View original article here.