Insight 2018: Q&A with Steve Haworth, CEO of TeleWare

Read our Q&A with Steve Haworth, CEO at TeleWare…

What do you see as the single biggest challenge the contact centre/customer service industry has faced over the past 12 months? And what do you think is the biggest priority for the contact centre/customer service industry in 2018?

Omnichannel integration was a pivotal business tool for contact centres in 2017. Telephone operating companies now offer 24/7 support to their customers across all channels (email, social media or via chatbots on the company’s website or app). Yet, if their questions aren’t answered, customers still have to wait for phone lines to open to speak to a physical person.

This explosion of customer channels has raised expectations for instant responses on any channel, at any time. As 2018 continues to progress into the data-driven age, businesses are relentlessly searching for tools that provide instant answers with the fastest response times, leading to a continued increase in the use of omnichannel features.

What trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2018?

To help tackle the challenges experienced in 2017, I’d expect to see significant investment in sophisticated conversational interfaces. In order to achieve this, improving the capabilities of automated tools through customer centric implementations of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) will be a big trend.

What technology do you think is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

Cognitive services – Augmented Reality (AR) and machine learning – will continue to mature. Shifting in a business environment from the niche to the mainstream. AI and cognitive services will also begin to appear in more applications and we’ll see further automation through bots. With conversational interfaces such as Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana beginning the move from the home to the office.

Which customer interactions do you think cannot or should not be automated?

Opportunities to build relationships with customers are priceless and should never be fully replaced by robots. Getting a personal touch is important in these interactions but, that said, there isn’t any specific process that could not benefit from automated processes in some form.

Do you see any new technologies on the horizon?

There are always new technologies on the horizon. There has been a lot of talk about using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning for tone and sentiment analysis over the last year. Matching this with voice synthesis, such as Adobe Voco, and real time video re-enactment has some interesting use cases and will make automated interactions more natural.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

Walk a mile in your customers’ shoes.

About TeleWare

TeleWare, a Microsoft Gold Partner in multiple disciplines, has been a leading communications technology business for over 25 years. Its customers include some of the world’s leading multinational and local financial and professional services, IT, manufacturing, retail, health and public sector organisations. Today, TeleWare technology is used by one in every three FTSE 100 companies.

TeleWare has created single numbering solutions, pioneered cloud based recording solutions and is the worlds’ leading provider of SIM based compliant recording. This helps businesses meet regulatory and governance requirements. TeleWare’s ability to help businesses route their communications more effectively addresses fundamental customer experience and business productivity challenges.

With innovation at its core, TeleWare designs and builds its own software products in-house. TeleWare’s innovation resulted in 2 recent Microsoft world firsts. By routing, recording and analysing a call through the Azure platform in real time and in a fully compliant environment, it created a paradigm shift in cloud platform capabilities. A month later TeleWare did this again, being the first to migrate all fixed line operations to Azure.