Way back in 1962, a visionary TV program lit up the airwaves with its colorful, optimistic view of technology and the future. Of course, I’m talking about The Jetsons, with all the wondrous inventions that defined modern life in 2062. I’m also happy to point out that a lot of the “gee-whiz” technology that made The Jetsons so fun to watch has actually come to fruition today.
Sure, our cars don’t fly—yet. But we do have robot vacuums, personal computer assistants, and video calls. And they’re an integral and ubiquitous part of modern life. You could even argue that the show predicted the prominence of the cloud as a “platform.” After all, George and his family did live in the Skypad apartments—among the clouds. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not!
The Cloud Contact Center in Your Future
All kidding aside, as contact center professionals, we can’t dispute that the biggest technological innovation to come about in recent years is the advent of the cloud as a contact center platform. According to this Network World article, “Gartner predicts that by 2019 that 30% of the 100 largest software vendors will have adopted a cloud-only model.” So as we move from voice-based, to new digital channels, to ultimately an omnichannel environment—the cloud-based contact center will be the underlying foundation for pretty much all future innovations.
Only Support Voice? Ruh Roh!
Nowadays, customer journeys are increasingly web-initiated, socially influenced, and typically performed via mobile devices. According to the 2016 Dimension Data Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report, “Digital interactions account for 92% of all interactions with web, mobile, and social becoming top channel choices—with exceptional growth expected by 2017.” If your organization only supports voice for customer conversations, you’re living in the past.
The Omnichannel Inflection Point
Additional data states that connected omnichannel journeys are the #1 industry trend in 2016. And the cloud—which is fast becoming the default deployment environment for enterprise software applications—is the easiest, most scalable, and cost-effective way to support an omnichannel environment. The cloud is good for your agents (flexible coaching and analytics capabilities) and it’s good for dealing with application integration and future trends like the internet of things (IoT).
IoT, on Its Way
There’s a lot of discussion these days about IoT and how it’s the next big thing in the computing and connectivity space. Once everybody’s stuff is connected wirelessly to the cloud and equipped with sensors and software, no doubt our contact centers will be immersed in a sea of data and activity. Imagine eight million appliances automatically scheduling service calls through your contact center. Clearly, investing in a cloud-based contact center today gives you an unprecedented opportunity to improve customer relationships, outreach, and loyalty tomorrow.
So How Do You Handle the Future?
As you explore technology to support new channels, think integration. The customer journey is the primary focus, so equip your agents with a unified view into the various channels of communication—be it phone, text, social media, or another channel.
You also need to remember that people think in terms of comprehensive experiences. For example, when you interact with family or friends and switch from text messages to phone calls, the context of your dialog moves seamlessly from one means of communication to the next. Your friends don’t have to start their conversation over every time you switch things up. That’s exactly the same way your consumers should interact with your business. A seamless flow isn’t a fantasy—these kinds of customer experiences are in practice today.
See Cloud in Action
To give you a concrete example, Genesys and Microsoft Skype for Business combined technologies to offer a best-in-class customer engagement and unified communications solution. Through a native integration with Skype for Business, contact center customers engage using Skype’s voice and chat support. The interaction is seamless, and even if the customer drops an interaction and picks it up later, the journey is continued exactly where it left off. Without the cloud, this couldn’t take place.
Ron Stevenson has been in the software industry for over 20 years building and marketing products for cloud, mobile, social, ecommerce and database management. Serving in various roles within both startup ventures and large enterprises such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft…