I am back in Paris in a few weeks and then Athens to talk about the next generation contact experience and the next generation contact centre.
I thought I would share with you some of the things I am looking at, and ask what you think are going to be on the agenda, in 2 years time. I spend more than half my time at the moment thinking about the design of next generation contact centres and looking at how my clients and their clients will be delivering their contact centre solutions.
As we steer our way through an ocean of hype about BOTS AI and Universal Agents to deliver communications with customers they want. It's tough to work out what is real and what is not, so here are my thoughts based on current observation.
1 - It will start with the phone
You will be working on an assumption of mobile first point of communication. It will be automated and use the phones security and other features to personalise that contact. A chat window protected by a biometrical locked app. Think how much greater the security, level of personalisation and reduction of customer effort possible. It will be the basic expectation.......and a warning to retailers it looks like that means in store too!
2 - It will start in a chat mode
The most likely form of interface will look like chat and that will be, the blending of Visual IVR, Chatbots, web search AI functionality, and over time the AI and "Deep Learning" Watson and the rest will be accessible as easy to consume functionality for contact centres.
The result will look like you are on WhatsApp or Messenger Skype Hangout etc in chat mode. Today when you think of search - you think of the Googles plain box
Moving forward the idea of the simple chat box will be the most common experience.
Agents will be the second line of contact and continuous contact across channels will increase the agents ability to move up the value chain. The blending of services will also increase as well. So the agent who can send you a text, an e-mail or share a session with you will become more common. Mixed contact agents will be the most common sort of agent being delivered.
the idea of the universal agent will remain an idea!
After 20 years of talk about the Universal Agent - there are very few business models where a universal agent will be a reality. We are driving up the value of agents by using technology to self serve and so it seems unlikely that technology is going to replace the behavioural reasons that some agents are more suited to some types of processes and experiences.
We will deliver universal agency - which is the technology framework that will empower any agent to deliver the most appropriate contact to the situation which is not the same thing.
Customers will expect you to add emotional connection from that chat window to an agent who has been briefed and can add value to the conversation.
TO BOT OR NOT TO BOT? That is the question
Actually its not. Either bots will work for you or not and I am not commenting on that subject here.......I am saying that the most common experience with a customer will start with a chat window. BOT'ing is a very different conversation as most people have different views about what AI is. I will talk that later in this series. This is not about how you deliver that chat window.
Chat based Agents will play a huge role in this with as much 50% of voice moving to Voice + chat + web share through context delivered from mobile over the next 5 years.
This is a practical possibility but phygital has yet to really grab the consumer.
For today I can confidently state that the most probable front end to customer service and browsing will be a chat window.......looking at the trends today.
The most common greeting will be how can I help?
Thats what I think......comments PLEASE!!!