The Age of Contact Center Transformation
Like many industries these days, contact centers are at a crossroads. On the one hand, every business needs to save money and customer service is generally the first on the chopping block. On the other hand, call volumes are at peak levels. A January 2021 survey found that 65% of U.S. consumers required technician assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic but are still uncomfortable allowing technicians into their homes to repair things like electronics or utilities. A majority (52%) of these consumers prefer to get remote support from customer service agents. This means that call centers are more important than ever for assisting customers with their technical problems.
But with many call centers still adhering to a remote work model, call center management must work hard to ensure that the agents staffing the call centers feel engaged, filled with a sense of purpose and autonomy. And let’s not forget efficiency. Finding ways for agents to collaborate with each other and with their technician workforce is critical to ensuring fast resolutions and high customer satisfaction levels.
At the same time, organizations realize that they must be fully focused on each customer’s needs. Whether it’s improving self-service channels to provide customers with speed and effortless service or building personal connections through assisted channels, making it easy for customers to interact with the company is crucial. These touchpoints through systems, services, and products ultimately foster brand loyalty and strengthens relationships with the brand – all benefits that drive revenue.
Vision: A key element for transforming contact centers
With today’s digital-first mentality, the need for remote support, and enhanced employee engagement, brands are recognizing the need to add ‘eyes’ to their contact center offerings – visual strategies are the hottest trend right now. Creating a visual interaction between an agent and a customer in need of assistance is the fastest path to success. Both can see the same physical environment through the customer’s smartphone. The agent can use the power of video, Augmented Reality, and Computer Vision AI to guide the customer across every touchpoint from sales, onboarding, unboxing, setup, and troubleshooting to operational guidance, maintenance, and repair. Instead of customer support agents attempting to explain with words how customers can fix their issues, they can visually show them step-by-step. The use of vision delivers practical help, builds relationships with customers, and enables the contact center to generate more revenue.
But true visual engagement is more than just a tool to help you ‘see what your customer sees’ – it’s a centerpiece of digital transformation.
The journey toward Visual Transformation in contact centers
Organizations embedding visual technologies within their digital strategy are embarking on a multi-phase journey. This journey involves several stages where vision is added to more touchpoints, use cases, and departments over time while automating repetitive tasks. As organizations advance along the path toward Visual Transformation in contact centers, their visual offerings become more mature. This maturity improves their level of service, enhances the customer and employee experience, optimizes costs, and generates revenues from upsells – all benefits that boost ROI over time.
Stage 1: Live Visual Assistance
With Live Visual Assistance, the contact center agent or remote expert can see what the customer is seeing, making it much easier to provide live assistance and guidance. For example, an agent can ask to see the customer’s router and explain that a cable is plugged into the wrong port. Imagine replacing “Do you understand what I am describing?” with “See the blue cable near your right hand? Plug that into the 3rd port.” and being able to point to that on-screen. Game-changing, right?
Live Visual Assistance also sets the stage for agents to drive revenue through upsells. If that same agent sees that the customer’s router is damaged or outdated, he can suggest a new model and make the sale on the call.
Stage 2: Visual Automation for call center agents
Visual Automation for agents is where a visual assistant can offer decision support for agents by recognizing the problem and providing the employee with the next-best actions to fix the issue. For example, a customer who calls to troubleshoot a non-working coffee machine can be instructed to capture images or video of the product. The system automatically recognizes the model, detects the error, and supplies the agents with the steps needed to fix it.
Visual automation has many benefits including:
- reducing employee effort
- driving faster resolutions
- enhancing the CX
- cutting costs by optimizing the contact center’s resources with dramatically simplified interactions.
At this stage, organizations see significant improvements in a wide range of actions from product registration to warranty validation to prep for installation or repair procedures.
Stage 3: Visual Self-Service
The most advanced stage is Visual Self-Service, where contact centers leverage all their stored visual data to equip automation tools with smart eyes – like a chatbot or IVR that can see. At this stage, a visual customer assistant can deliver full self-service resolutions — powered by Computer Vision AI — without interactions with human agents. The visual assistant can automatically recognize the product and its parts, identify the issue, and provide the resolution for the customer.
For example, a customer needs help troubleshooting their security system, which is making chirping noises. With Visual Self-Service, the customer interacts with a visual tech assistant that can see using the power of Computer Vision AI. The customer is guided to capture images of the alarm’s control unit. The system recognizes the device and then provides the customer with step-by-step guidance to resolve the issue.
This stage of visual automation decreases incoming call volumes with higher deflection to self-service channels, optimizing agent utilization by eliminating repetitive inquiries and empowering staff to deal with more complex cases.
Visual Transformation in Contact Centers
In today’s age of economic uncertainty, contact centers can modernize and advance their capabilities by investing in the right technology. Visual technologies, such as Augmented Reality and Computer Vision AI, which have become practical and affordable, are key elements in transforming contact centers into places that drive value for their organizations.
Embarking on the journey toward a Visual Transformation in your contact center – step-by-step – empowers organizations to streamline customer interactions and delivers a host of ROI-driving benefits, including boosting service levels, improving employee engagement, enhancing the customer experience, optimizing costs, and generating revenues from upsells. If your contact center is still flying blind, the time to open your ‘eyes’ has come.
This article was first published on the TechSee blog.