By combining customer engagement centre and contact centre systems, firms can leverage consistent analytics and knowledge tools for gathering, analysing and sharing critical information and recommendations to both customers and employees
The customer engagement centre (CEC) and contact centre (CC) have been integrating in silos for decades, with limited sharing of customer interaction channel functionality and data.
This has resulted in a fragmented customer experience (CX), leaving customers to guess which channel will yield the best and fastest answer, reports Gartner.
The analyst firm says its latest Gartner Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies describes the most critical technologies for supporting customers as they seek answers, advice and resolutions to problems, either through a variety of interaction channels or by enabling customer-facing employees to deliver resolution and advice.
“Combining the formerly separate yet closely related Hype Cycle for CRM customer service and customer engagement and Hype Cycle for contact centre infrastructure, this new Hype Cycle encourages customer service and support leaders to combine CEC and CC systems to create a broader technology ecosystem,” says Drew Kraus, vice president in Gartner’s Customer Service & Support practice.
“In doing so, they can leverage consistent analytics and knowledge tools for gathering, analysing and sharing critical information and recommendations to both customers and employees.”
Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies, 2019 (Source: Gartner, October 2019)
According to Gartner, these five technologies can help organisations deliver a holistic and unified CX:
Customer journey analytics: Customer journey analytics track and analyse the way customers and prospects use a combination of available channels to interact with an organisation over time. It covers all channels that customers and prospects have used — including human interactions, fully automated, customer assistance, physical locations and limited two-way interaction — providing more valuable insight than tracking by channel alone.
Virtual customer assistants (VCAs): VCAs act on behalf of an organisation to engage, deliver information and/or take action on behalf of a customer. They require more infrastructure, have memory and form a relationship with customers. When used effectively, VCAs enable organisations to scale the number of engagements they can handle, especially in the contact centre.
Chatbots: Chatbots are the number one use of artificial intelligence in organisations today. They vary in sophistication, from simple, decision-tree-based marketing stunts to implementations built on feature-rich platforms. Although chatbots are already in use today, they still have a huge potential to impact the number of service agents employed by an organisation, and how customer service itself is conducted.
Chatbots are the number one use of AI in organisations today
Conversational user interfaces (CUIs): CUIs are a high-level design model in which the user and machine interact in the user’s spoken or written natural language. Examples include Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Building upon chatbots and virtual assistants, CUIs are responsible for taking the user input and determining the intention of the user.
Knowledge management: Knowledge management for customer service includes the creation, discovery and delivery of various forms of targeted content for support agents, customers, chatbots, peer-to-peer support communities and partners.
This technology enables the creation, acquisition, storage, delivery and maintenance of corporate knowledge, information and data in formats that web-based, self-service or mobile applications can easily access, reports Gartner.
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