The customer-experience world is changing rapidly. Within this dynamic landscape, companies need to go beyond than just adopting innovations to keep up with the market. They need to know how to operate in it and learn to view customer experiences from an outside-in perspective, in order to provide continuous and complex support. Customer experience is like a marathon, in which every interaction counts. Each interaction is like a small step in a complex journey with many ups and downs, that forms an integrated and consistent customer experience. In this interview, Mihai Ionescu, Commercial Director at Intrarom and Apostolos Kemos, Sales Director (Central and South East Europe) at Genesys, share insights on how to create a compelling customer experience using cutting-edge innovations and deep understanding of customers’ needs.
- Q: What does an Omnichannel Customer Experience mean?
Intrarom: Today, as more and more consumers turn to websites to find answers, only the tough questions reach the company’s agents. By that moment, customers have already tried to resolve their problems by finding answers on the website or in social communities. Nowadays, customers are tech-savvy and get easily frustrated when their self-service attempts fail to deliver any reasonable solution. Supporting all these disconnected multichannel customer interactions leaves contact center employees and back-office experts overwhelmed and overburdened. It makes them navigate multiple siloed applications and screens to solve a single problem. They strive to help unhappy customers who expect the agents to know their interactions history. In the end, it requires even more time to connect the missing dots and get the task done. Most companies support multichannel customer interactions including voice, email, and chat, but they fall short of providing a seamless experience. They have no tools to support an omnichannel context, i.e. to share context across all channels. Contact center agents can’t synchronize multiple channels simultaneously within a single interaction and direct customer journeys or interactions in step-by-step sequences. Customers enjoy Omnichannel Experience when a company manages to understand the lifecycle of customer journey and start to deliver highly personalized and context-appropriate experience that customers expect. So, to build a real Omnichannel Experience you need a comprehensive omnichannel solution supporting a complete set of features and functions to direct and manage customer journeys. Now, we witness a rapid evolution of contact center solutions in the market and it’s very important to choose the right solution for your business needs.
Genesys: Genesys is a leader of the Romanian contact center solutions market. We’ve been working here for 15 years and we have a deep knowledge of local trends and business demands in terms of Customer Experience and customer journey management. Omnichannel customer experience unifies inbound and outbound communication to deliver proactive, contextual interactions to the customers, an effortless experience. The main task here is to create seamless, personalized engagements across all channels throughout the entire customer journey. An omnichannel customer experience is made up of individual customer touchpoints, over a variety of channels that seamlessly connect, allowing customers to pick up where they left off in one channel and continue the experience in another.
- Q: How do you offer a unique experience to your customers?
Intrarom: Intrarom is a leading Contact Center Integrator in the Balkans for the last 20 years. Our unparalleled experience along with long lasting and solid co-operation with the world’s leading Contact Center innovations vendors, like Genesys, provide the unique CX management experience to our customers.
Genesys: Business grows more competitive each day, and customers’ demands increase as well. We help companies to exceed their business goals and customer expectations with the Genesys Customer Experience Platform. We believe that great CX drives great business results and customer loyalty. Our platform provides innovative tools to manage customer journeys across channels. So the agents know exactly who is contacting them and how to give a customer the best possible solution from the very first second of the interaction. The whole contact center team has the information and applications they need, any time they need — right at their fingertips. Our solutions deliver customer and employee engagement and business optimization capabilities that foster lasting relationships and lead to impressive business results.
- Q: Which is the most important step of the customer journey that you create?
Intrarom: Intrarom’s customers are from all around the world, they deal with different cultures and legislations. The most important step of the customer journey that Intrarom creates is the consulting services (business and technical), that help companies to leverage advanced customer service driven by the world’s best practices.
Genesys: The whole customer experience is based on predefined use cases that enable companies to leverage best-in-class services based on previous successful installations. Genesys Customer Experience Platform provides seamless integration of all customer communications, including digital and voice, optimal CX across every channel and efficient predictive routing. These rich capabilities combined with our vast experience and deep knowledge of common use cases across the industries, enhance the whole customer journey with precise customer needs prediction, customer experience personalization and seamless synchronization of omnichannel interactions.
- Q: What is the employees’ contribution in this process?
Intrarom: Employees apparently have a living knowledge of customers’ needs, expectations and behavior. They interact with customers and understand their pain points (what do you mean? – maybe rephrase). That means employees bring into action a company’s customer journey management strategy on daily basis. That’s why it’s so important to keep employees motivated and empowered throughout their working experience.
Genesys: By identifying the drivers of successful customer conversations and replicating best practice across frontline employees, you can significantly improve business outcomes – and employee engagement. Empowering your employees to have great customer conversations – whatever the channel – gives them confidence. This has been proven to positively impact employee engagement, which, in turn, means significantly better customer experiences – and therefore improved CSAT, NPS and Customer Effort scores, as well as increased expenditure, loyalty and likelihood to recommend. And with 7/10 employees saying that ‘job related training and development’ directly influences their decision to stay with a company, it’s clear that helping employees be the best they can be, should be a key business priority.
- Q: What do you think about artificial intelligence in contact center?
Intrarom: We are living in an age of instant gratification. Customers, especially younger ones, expect things to happen quickly, if not instantly. They get information from their phones almost immediately, they make rapid decisions and purchases, and their patience is declining. The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) automation is one way to address the needs of such a demanding customers. Automated processes can help customer service representatives devote their full attention to today’s demanding customers. AI also helps agents boost their cross-selling capabilities, as analytics and big data connections give them the info they need to close more deals. Along with rising AI sophistication, businesses will find new ways to meet customer needs, even before the customer knows about them. Systems based on machine learning patterns, for example, are able to notice certain patterns in a customer’s account activity that suggests a problem. The system can alert an employee, who can contact the customer proactively and fix the problem.
Genesys: Genesys already leverages AI to power excellent customer experiences while creating opportunities for business efficiency. AI capabilities enable companies to do business faster, for less money, while at the same time offering a better customer experience. We consider our Blended AI concept as a game changer in customer experience: bots and automation need the influence of the human touch. AI is a powerful tool, but it may turn useless if we don’t put people at the center of everything we do. Bots are not meant to replace contact center agents, but remove repetitiveness. Emotion is the currency of experience, and only highly motivated and empowered people are able to understand and empathize.The paragon of Genesys Blended AI strategy is Kate. Kate is a customer experience AI which brings together AI, adaptive learning, bots, cognitive computing, and other automation technologies. With Kate, a company can deliver proactive and predictive experiences, personalized for customer journeys and improve agent performance.
- Q: How do you see the contact center of the future?
Intrarom: AI is often mistakenly seen as the nemesis of Contact Center agents, when, in reality, many of the tasks they come to manage are new, or rather made possible because of them. Customer engagement might begin with AI, but human interaction will always be there, for more complex cases leading to a whole different customer experience. Furthermore, contact centers will move to the cloud. Cloud-based contact center has a number of certain benefits, like quicker deployment and implementation, greater flexibility, scalability and security. It simplifies the management of remote agents and standardization of service across remote offices. Cloud contact center provides real-time data visibility and service customization. In terms of technology it creates nearly effortless upgrades and improvements.
Genesys: In the nearest future we will witness the rise of AI, as I’ve already mentioned, and we consider implementation of Blended AI as the most efficient approach to contact center transformation. Another step of this future transformation is a step to cloud-based contact centers. Companies are craving for contact centers that are built to adapt to customer demands and industry changes. They seek low-cost solutions that can be rapidly deployed and updated. They value intuitive platforms with rich CX capabilities, robust dashboard analysis and agile workflow planning. Genesys PureCloud platform is the next-generation, all-in-one cloud contact center solution that helps to manage and understand omnichannel interactions throughout a seamless customer journey. PureCloud provides contact center agents with a single tool that handles all communications — voice, chat, email, text, web, social media and more. An intuitive interface makes it easy to use for an agent, supervisor or IT administrator. It offers unparalleled reliability and consistent experience no matter how your customer contacts you. Built from the start to be an omnichannel, PureCloud follows the conversation everywhere — so agents always have the data they need to respond quickly. With every part of the customer conversation in one place, it’s simple to create a lasting collaboration and clarity that brings people closer together. When all the information about customer interactions is available to the agents, they can approach customer communication with empathy and understanding. PureCloud helps to capture and interpret trend data, giving rich insights for making human decisions that impact your business.