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Why companies can no longer ignore Contact Centers

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Why companies can no longer ignore Contact Centers

Article by Giuliano Ferri, Head of Contact Center, Minsait

Companies no longer have excuses for not exploiting the full potential of the contact center. In our country, in fact, the gap between companies that use this channel as a mere cost center and those that embrace the transformation of this touchpoint as a strategic channel for establishing long-term, valuable relationships with customers.

Technology is now within everyone’s reach and integration with artificial intelligence will help reduce costs and increase benefits: not using the contact center as a differential channel for relating and communicating with customers means deliberately leaving it to competition a slice of customers. The latest report on the digitalisation of sales channels created by Minsait and its partners Digital Innovation Observatories of the Polytechnic of Milan reports that one of the main transformations of the contact center concerns its growing involvement in the sales process.

According to the report, this is now an activity that is carried out by 52% of internal contact centers and 56% of external ones. This data shows a clear trend: contact centers not only play a crucial role in managing interactions or providing assistance, but are becoming key players in enhancing companies’ sales activities.

In this scenario, it is essential that the customer feels recognized by the company and that the company is able to personalize its communication with the customer based on their history. In this regard, it is essential that contact center operators have access to all the information stored in company platforms (such as, for example, the CRM) necessary to communicate effectively with customers. As regards read-only access, it is active in a high percentage of companies: in 91% of cases for internal Contact Center operators and in 93% for external ones.

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Furthermore, during company-customer interaction, 63% of internal contact center operators (and 48% of external ones) can insert the information collected during the exchange with the consumer into company systems, in order to enrich the history of that relationship and therefore knowledge of the customer for the next interactions.

The next step, already started by 46% of Italian companies, is clear: enhancing the contact center with artificial intelligence (AI).
25% of companies say they have implemented AI solutions to suggest operators the Next-best Offer/Action when managing customer relationships. This is followed by the implementation of chatbots (in 18% of companies) and intelligent search engines (16%) capable of assisting operators in searching for information and procedures in the company’s rich information assets. Other use cases concern Speech & Text Analytics to interpret incoming requests, the Sentiment Analysis to understand the mood of the user who interacts with i touchpoint and it Smart Routing to prioritize incoming requests and direct them to the most appropriate channel.

But not all sectors are at the same level: sectors linked to services show greater maturity than product ones, in which there are fewer contacts between customers and operators and other sectors are preferred touchpoint.

Suffice it to say that all Telco & Media companies provide access to read and write information to internal and external contact center operators, thus guaranteeing complete knowledge of the customer and constant updating of information in this regard. Also in this sector, operators have made investments in AI projects to support the Customer Care. Other virtuous sectors are energy, banking and insurance and tourism. Bringing up the rear in the contact center sector are the Logistics and Retail sectors, the latter in particular continues to focus on other touchpoint priorities such as website and physical stores.

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While the transformation of contact centers is on the road and constantly evolving, awareness among Italian companies of the strategic importance of this contact point is absolutely imperative. Today there are no more excuses: the contact center is (and will increasingly be) a differential channel through which to provide an excellent customer experience and gain a competitive advantage over competitors who consciously choose to do without it.

30110 Helmond call center Rabobank int 06 (Kerkstr) 2009

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