Blog | 02.10.2022

Modernize your Contact Center to Improve Customer Service

Balancing Agent-Assist and Self-Serve in the Contact Center

Our Contact Center practice is excited to continue last year’s success by solving the business challenges of hybrid work and distributed agent teams. NWN Carousel recently partnered with Five9 to assist a large insurance company in their migration to a cloud contact center. The customer described the experience as “almost boring” thanks to the strong focus and detailed planning from our teams. The successful outcome was validated by a double-digit increase in caller authentications and near-perfect service levels – on the very first day.

Read on for a roundup of 2022 contact center trends with ways to improve the customer experience!

NWN Carousel Team Receiving the 2021 Five9 Partner Excellence Award
NWN Carousel Team Receiving the 2021 Five9 Partner Excellence Award from L to R:
Jake Butterbaugh, Sr VP Global Partner, Five9; Mark Moretti, EVP Sales Transformation, NWN Carousel; Kevin Basden VP Contact Center; NWN Carousel, Brian Norton, VP, Partner Alliances, NWN Carousel; and Tony Dipaolo, Director Channel Sales, Five9

2022 – What’s in Store for Contact Centers?

Today’s customer journey begins well before they initiate contact with a person. They’re self-serving via virtual agents across your brand’s channels.

While applied Artificial Intelligence and automation drive an increased trend towards self-service, a human touch is key to driving success in contact centers. Agent attrition is a top detriment to delivering customer satisfaction. Empowering customer service agents with the right mix of digital tools and training increases customer loyalty. Combining industry-leading research, as well as feedback from our customers NWN Carousel has designed strategies for enabling the hybrid contact center of the future.

The global contact center industry was estimated at a $339 billion in 2020. It’s expected to reach $496 billion by 2027! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to create a customer service strategy that drives business growth.

Adapt a Blend of Automation & Human Touch

The truth is if your agents aren’t happy – your customers likely won’t be either. Contact centers must make agent engagement a top priority. This means giving them the right blend of automation tools to make hybrid work easier while also establishing metrics to reward good performance, such as:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Efficiency and productivity
  • Eagerness to improve with training
  • Maintaining standards and compliances

Now is the right time to develop a hybrid approach with a blend of virtual and live agent interactions – an approach that delivers superior customer experience. It’s common for an organization to implement automation and artificial intelligence to improve efficiency and speed while also delivering a personalized human-first experience. The transition from simple IVRs to intelligent virtual assistants where data, automation, and AI blend to provide hyper-personalized experiences – at the same staffing levels – will see an upward trend in contact centers of 2022 and beyond.

The concept of “Agent Intelligence” or “Super Intelligent” agents has recently become popular. Organizations understand they can save on training budgets while improving the customer experience by leveraging AI to augment their human staff. NWN Carousel has successfully helped companies improve self-service and automation without sacrificing customer experience.

Fact: 90% of customers use service as a factor in determining whether to do business with a company – Microsoft

Tackling Poor Contact Center Customer Service

Pandemic delays are real. With short to mid-term supply chain struggles continuing into 2022, organizations are going to be budget constricted and forced to do more while spending the same or less. Focus will shift to cost savings and cost avoidance, with return on investment once again being more prevalent. But COVID is no longer an excuse to provide poor agent training or inadequate customer service. With the pace of technology rapidly changing, and our attention spans shrinking, customers have never been more impatient. Customers will always opt for quick, human service. But an advanced solution like a Visual IVR is still an ideal way to offer customers the personalized attention they crave.

Fact: According to Gartner: The core benefits of self-service are twofold: 1) it lowers cost for the organization, and 2) all else equal, customers prefer to resolve issues on their own.

Improving Customer Retention

Self-Service and Automation: Provide personalized, immersive, and robust self-service capabilities by leveraging intelligent virtual assistants, integrations with relevant information sources, and contextualized options and responses.

Digital Channel Experience: Enable customers to interact with an organization while maintaining contextual intelligence across every contact channel – voice, chat, email, SMS, social media, and more.

  • Harness the history of the customer journey (pages visited, self-service selections, etc.) and business (or CRM) data to provide the context for a comprehensive and efficient experience.
  • Leverage analytics that better predict customer contact patterns, influence agent behaviors, and refine self-service capabilities. The results are technology and business processes  that adapt and yield measurable results at a rapid rate.

Fact: A study by Microsoft determined that the human attention span has dropped to eight seconds – that’s less focus than that of a goldfish!

Digital Customer Service with Enhanced Analytics

According to the 2021 ISG Contact Center Report, a mix of remote and office-based work is expected to become the norm for contact centers. The benefits are numerous — including cost savings, better access to talent, and higher productivity. For customer service agents the model offers empowerment, flexibility, work-life balance, mobility, and more. As a result, in today’s hybrid world, contact centers in 2022 have to make major investments in their technology to monitor IT operations and analytics.

Top performing organizations that adopt a 360-degree view of the customer journey are rewarded with better customer service scores, lower call volume, shorter call times, and faster call resolution rates. And yet, according to Gartner, fewer than 10% of companies have a 360-degree view of their customer journeys. 

NWN Carousel’s Experience Management Portal (EMP) leverages intelligent automation and knowledge graphs to monitor your call center operations to deliver business value and competitive advantage. EMP is an integrated solution that is easy to provision, use, and manage for organizations of all sizes. It streamlines the implementation and management of contact center services empowering organizations to adopt the latest technology and maximize their ROI.

Fact: Gartner predicts that by 2023, over 75% of all customer communication management implementations will be cloud or hybrid solutions. The need for change is being driven by both employee – and customer demand.

Contact Center of the Future

Organizations will lean more on their technology partners, such as leading Cloud Communications Service Provider (CCSP) NWN Carousel to implement and maintain complex solutions. Organizations will also concentrate more on being a “user” of contact center software and less on “managing” it. With the complexity that’s on the horizon, it’s important to have a strategic cloud contact center partner to help you service customers with both a human and digital touch.