Augmenting the contact center

3 ways to augment the contact center for greater customer loyalty

  • karla nussbaumer
    Karla Nussbaumer
  • Mar 19, 2020

There are three primary ways in which to augment the contact center: connectivity, the channels, self-service.

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As the hub of communications across the entire customer lifecycle, contact centers are modernizing today with tomorrow’s customer experience in mind. 

Market-leading companies are putting the needs of their customers at the forefront, transforming their legacy call centers into intuitive, omnichannel contact centers. How? The adoption of cloud communications as part of their CX strategy.

Cloud platforms are enabling companies to build applications at unprecedented speed and flexibility. These platforms:

  • Are global, scalable, and cost-effective;
  • Don’t require massive budgets or lengthy installations, and;
  • Empower businesses to create custom contact centers tailored to their customer and business needs.

Cloud APIs—or, the routines, protocols, and tools developers use for building software applications—offer new approaches to building contact centers that do not require expensive systems integration or a ‘rip and replace’ rebuild. Instead, these building block APIs provide the flexibility to augment iteratively and to create a better customer experience, feature by feature.

Watch our on-demand webinar all about how to augment your current contact center solution.

Augment the connectivity to never miss a customer inquiry

Reliable connectivity is the foundation of any contact center. On-premise telephony systems are expensive to maintain, can take months to deploy, and require multiple providers to secure global coverage with regionalized phone numbers.

To meet the growing demand for omnichannel customer service, organizations are transitioning from legacy on-premise telephony systems to scalable cloud-based contact centers. However, making the transition to a modern contact center requires the right connectivity to support it—namely, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).
SIP Trunking can be used to connect your business to an Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) through a direct connection. The SIP protocol allows transmission of voice, video, and instant messaging data over the internet by converting them into packets of data. All you need for SIP is sufficient broadband internet bandwidth, which means contact centers can operate virtually from anywhere without the need for investing in a physical office space or building.

A SIP signal is controlled like data, so phone numbers are not determined by the location of equipment. With SIP, your company can have two or more predetermined IP addresses or phone numbers to failover incoming calls to. For example, you can pre-program your company’s incoming calls to route to: 

  1. Your company’s dedicated SIP circuit
  2. Your company’s primary internet connection
  3. Your company’s backup internet connection
  4. Another company site or phone number

SIP works with existing phone systems, plus it can be used to integrate new technologies into your communications suite. Which brings us to the next way to augment the contact center:

Augment the channels to communicate with customers on their preferred channels

Today’s customers expect businesses to interact with them on their terms — at any time, and on any channel — whether it’s text, voice, social, self-help, or web chats. 

Over the past decade, the number of ways consumers communicate has dramatically increased. And with so much choice, consumers want to control the frequency and channel when they hear from you. According to Twilio’s research, while most consumers are annoyed by communications from businesses, 75 percent of consumers have rewarded businesses that communicate in the way they prefer.

It’s important that your contact center can utilize different channels for different purposes. Consider the urgency of the message when selecting the channel. Be clear about what communications are urgent and don't abuse channels that customers prioritize for immediate needs. By embracing an omnichannel approach, you can meet any customers’ preferences and also reduce average handling time with a full customer view.

Augment the customer experience to prioritize faster resolution

The contact center is the proving ground for customer experience. According to recent Gartner research, customer effort is 40 percent more accurate at predicting customer loyalty than customer satisfaction.

Customer effort is the ease of customer interaction and resolution during a request. Leading brands eliminate drivers of disloyalty with a focus on self-service that prioritizes faster resolution. After implementing a virtual customer assistant (VCA), for example, organizations report a reduction of up to 70 percent in call, chat and/or email inquiries, and 33 percent savings per voice engagement.

For customer inquiries made through a call, an interactive voice response (IVR) system—an automated telephony system that interacts with callers through the use of voice and touch-tone keypad selections (DTMF tones), also commonly known as a phone tree—equipped with artificial intelligence can recognize a customer’s intent to provide answers, understanding requests that aren’t a part of a predetermined menu of options. 

IVR with AI can also intelligently route calls to reduce handling time or give callers the option of receiving either a callback, switch to chat, or SMS message from the next available agent, rather than wait. Similarly, AI-based chatbots, which have natural language understanding capabilities, can complete more complex tasks to reduce escalation to a live agent. Today, companies have a number of platforms to choose from to provide the APIs, infrastructure, and tools needed to build intelligent bots. These platforms are commonly referred to as conversational AI platforms, and let you focus on building a bot experience that works for your users without worrying about the underlying capabilities or infrastructure.

Not ready to rip-and-replace? No problem

Augmentation is the strategy to modernize a contact center without ripping and replacing. With traditional vendors, adding one feature to a contact center requires upgrading their contact center platform. With cloud-enabled contact center capabilities, companies can move at their own pace, building upon their existing infrastructure. In contrast, legacy contact center vendors limit a business’ ability to expand its customer service globally –– it requires additional hardware, software, plus complexity. 

In today’s market, there are more channels than ever on which brands and companies can engage with their customers. At the same time, customers expect a seamless experience from one channel to the next and want to engage with their chosen brands and companies on the channels they want, when they want to. That means the contact center of old—with locked-in phone trees, long wait times, and unclear menu options, among a lot of other disadvantages—just don’t cut it anymore.

Watch the webinar

Watch our on-demand webinar: Augmenting, Adapting and Accelerating with a Cloud Contact Center.

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karla nussbaumer

Karla Nussbaumer

Karla is Head of Technical Marketing at Twilio. She is responsible for establishing Twilio Flex as the leader in the contact center market. With technical consulting, research and storytelling as her core skills, she has developed and executed programs to increase Flex growth in the industry. Before Twilio, she held product marketing and sales roles in the contact center and collaboration industry. Her experience spans across several technologies to develop GTM strategies and increase revenue.