When you consider the tech evolution that has occurred in the last 15 years, it’s actually kind of mind blowing. We’ve been moving at such a rapid pace that it’s almost impossible to remember how things ‘used to be.’ From clunky desktop computer towers and giant mobile phones, tech inventions of the past seem almost comical, but it is because of those giant leaps forward that we can enjoy the modernized world we live in today.
The digitization of our lives can be felt in the smallest of everyday actions like using your cell phone to the most advanced examples of transmitting information from outer space. But what might be the most important aspect of digitization is yet to be exploited: getting all of your digital channels and inputs to speak in one unified digital language. The impact of achieving this will be immeasurable in our lives as the ability to harness communication skills along with AI and deep learning will provide us with information systems with unparalleled abilities.
Analog Vs Digital: What’s the Difference?
As an example of how far technology has advanced, let’s take a quick look at the concept of an analog phone – after all, some of you reading this may not have experienced one. Analog technology has been around for decades. In the case of the telephone, analog is now comically known as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), and this technology refers to the process of taking audio signals like our voices and translating those signals into electronic pulses. In contrast, the technology behind a digital device breaks down the human voice into binary code or a series of ‘0’s and ‘1’s. The receiving device then reassembles that code into the original signal or set of words as is the case with a phone conversation. This conversion to binary language is the first step towards a unified digital language. It gives a digital “name” or fingerprint to every sound, image or typed word.
The Triggers for Digitization
Speed is the name of the game when it comes to improving efficiency, and digital forms of communication will be the only way in which contact centers can move faster. In a digitized call center, software and AI can help detect a customer’s issue by recognizing key words typed into a chat box and either direct the customer to an online help resource or immediately route a call to an agent who can handle that specific issue. This means less aggravation from a customer perspective as no one likes to be bounced from agent to agent or to have to extensively search for the right resource. Digital communication channels also offer more security and reliability with high-level encryption software designed to minimize the risks of hacking.
The Customer Experience
Customers must be able to get service from any number of digital channels and platforms, not to mention any device. Engaging with customers on their favorite digital channels including social networks, chat, and email is what is now known as omnichannel support. Soon this type of support will no longer be a luxury for businesses but a necessity for those that want to maintain their customer bases. Moreover, the customer experience is no longer bound by the typical 9-5 office hours. When support is needed at 2 am, customers are not going to wait. Add with the desire for next-gen customers to be able to quickly resolve problems for themselves by using a self-help center and intelligent FAQ section, a robust digitized support center that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year will provide exactly what is needed.
Big and Small Data
Data is key to progress. We use it for insights and to improve customer service and experiences among many other things. Digital data is easy to gather, keep, analyze and understand. Having as much of your data in a digital form will help you get the most out of it. Every interaction, website click, chat session or other touch point becomes a data point that can be processed and analyzed. Slice and dice the data in any way you like and what you’ll end up with is invaluable insights that can help your business and optimize products and procedures. Analytics can be used by every department in a business from marketing and sales all the way through to customer service and HR.
Preparing for the Future
On the day that all of your communication channels’ incoming data speak the same digital language, the power of unified communication (across sound, sight and typed data) will transform your business as you’ll have the ability to put this data to work. With a digital approach, all of your data will speak the same language, and eventually different channels will be able to communicate using this unified digital language. Clear communication is the foundation for advancement, and digital language provides the basis for this communication. It supports an endless cycle of service optimization – collect data, analyze it, and enrich the AI technology so it can identify more patterns and provide smarter, faster solutions.
Now, all of this digitization powered by revolutionary technology won’t replace the human side of things. Although much of the tech that is powering the digital revolution is extraordinary, it is still in a stage of infancy. That’s not to say that it isn’t mature enough to use – quite the opposite is true – but it will continue to evolve and improve. For at least the foreseeable future, actual human support agents still need to have a presence in your call center because even the most intelligent FAQ section can’t solve every problem. By digitizing your call center now, you are empowering your live human agents to do their jobs better as they are armed with more information thanks to all that data that has been analyzed. This leads to more efficiency, better resolutions, and more opportunities for meaningful engagement, all of which ultimately leads to increased customer loyalty.
What to Consider When Digitizing Your Call Center
When transitioning from an analog call center to a digital one, what you need to keep in mind is the end game: offering knowledge-filled service solutions that enable quick, painless resolutions to customers on their terms and preferred platforms or devices. However, transitioning to a digital approach for customer service requires a multipronged approach that needs to be thought out and implemented strategically.
It starts with your customers and how they interact with your business. Listen to their needs and provide them with the digital solution they need most. For some businesses it may be expanding first into service channels on social media, while for others it may be enhancing self-service portals with 24/7 chats. You’re goal and priority is to attend to your most urgent customers’ needs.
Even the smallest change to your call center can have a huge impact. Carefully choose how to implement your digitization process so that your customers and employees get the most benefit from the transition. However, don’t wait too long because your competitors are already on the path to digitization and you don’t want to be left behind in the dust.