Read our Q&A with Geoff Land, Managing Director of Infinity CCS…
What do you see as the single biggest challenge the contact centre/customer service industry has faced over the past 12 months?
Many companies last year were quick to acknowledge the importance of adopting new technologies such as digital channels, AI and chatbots to improve and deliver great customer service. However, companies are struggling to deliver on this due to outdated technology. This will continue to be the biggest challenge facing the industry.
Many IT leaders believed cloud computing made them more agile, yet many are stuck on proprietary systems that limit their ability to innovate and drive business growth. Inevitable issues range from poor platform performance to maintenance difficulties to outdated business-user tools.
What do you think is the biggest priority for the contact centre/customer service industry in 2018?
With the realisation now that customer experience is the ONLY differentiator, the priority this year has to be adapting and embracing technology to be able to deliver this. Forrester says the main focus for the industry in 2018 is the ability to act on digital transformation — with a worrying 20% of CEO’s predicted to fail to act, putting their businesses at risk.
Companies should however think carefully before taking a “rip and replace” approach to legacy technology. There are many desktop solutions available that can support new and emerging digital channels and create a more productive single agent environment with less financial outlay. These can be deployed quickly and flexibly, often with limited capital expenditure, which allows companies to run trials to see what really works without committing to a large investment.
What trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2018?
I think 2018 will be a year of consolidation for some, and an experimental one for many as companies try out new technologies to see what works and what doesn’t before committing to a long-term investment plan.
We will see more companies in the mid tier sector growing their businesses in non-cloud and hosted environments and there will be a lot more flexibility in vendor selection as companies choose not to put all their eggs in one basket. Instead buyers will explore more technically adept platforms that create better workflows and allow use of specialist tools such as knowledge bases, specialist email handling,self-service tools and other technologies.
Most importantly they will look for software solutions that can integrate front office with back office operations. I also believe there will be a growing acceptance of self-service and use of apps – both proprietary and third party ones such as Facebook Messenger – as companies embrace technology that is able to track and report on the entire customer journey.
What technology do you think is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
There are a growing number of desktop solutions with flexible platforms that can offer dialling solutions (using the new OFCOM guidelines) and knowledge tools along with more succinct workflows and very detailed customer analytics and metrics. These can all be integrated in a contact centre environment to achieve the desired customer experience whilst providing invaluable customer insight.
This will have the greatest impact this year for its tangible benefits like increased productivity and cost savings, whilst giving companies the ability to experiment with what works and what doesn’t without having to commit to large capital expenditure. AI is being talked about a lot, but we are not seeing much use of it.
Which customer interactions do you think cannot or should not be automated?
When experimenting with what can and cannot be automated, companies should always be mindful that a human should ultimately always be available. Ending up with frustrated customers will impact the overall customer experience. Amazon provides an amazing self-service customer experience, but agents are on hand and able to intervene when something goes wrong. Systems can respond in real-time, offering support through FAQs or virtual service agents across platforms and devices.
The ability to resolve customer service issues before they arise has huge potential. It could significantly lower customer abandonment rates in the purchasing cycle, whilst simultaneously reducing customer complaints and improving consumer satisfaction.
The key is working out which customers will embrace automation and which won’t. It’s also crucial to understand which interactions and transactions are best suited to being automated and which should be semi-automated with a hand-off to an agent after the chatbot or IVR has collected information and filtered out the simple queries.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?
The best piece of advice I ever had was “Always be true to yourself.” I’ve taken this to mean that if you believe it is right, then do it. Throughout my career it has helped me make the right decisions and in turn, develop strategies that best benefit my clients.
About Geoff Land
Geoff Land is Managing Director of Infinity CCS (Contact Centre Solutions), provider of dynamic workflow engines that power contact centres across 13 countries. Infinity works with some of the world’s largest contact centre operators such as Teleperformance, Webhelp, HGS and Bosch to deliver customer experience solutions that yield measurable efficiencies.
An experienced CX executive, Geoff has spent his career helping leading some of today’s leading brands transform their businesses. Geoff previously held senior positions at Bright Star Communications (Saudi Arabia), founded Inspire FZE in the United Arab Emirates and held a number of local and international positions at Nortel Networks.
About Infinity CCS
Infinity’s technology and services unlock your ability to win customers, retain them and maximise their satisfaction by empowering you to deliver exceptional customer experience across multiple channels, with ultimate efficiency.
All of our solutions have been built from the ground up for contact centres, and are based around our proprietary technology – the Infinity Platform – and support serviced delivered by customer management experts.
Infinity has over 20 years’ experience working with contact centres, and our Infinity Platform is deployed across more than 12,000 seats in 13 countries.
For more information please visit; www.infinityccs.com