Customers want—and expect—to be able to interact with companies on their own terms these days. That’s why offering an omnichannel approach to the customer experience and keeping up-to-date on the latest technological innovations is critical.

In recent years, game-changing new technologies—from chatbots and speech recognition to artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT)—have been converging around contact centers. 

The changing technology landscape has revolutionized the way contact centers operate and the way we look at the customer experience (CX). Initially, new technology such as automation and internet screen chats nudged contact centers from the traditional customer service model (waiting to answer calls from customers with questions or problems) to the more expansive customer care concept (focused on how well customers are taken care of when they have contact with the business).

More recently, new technologies have helped drive contact centers to focus on a new approach called customer success: reaching out proactively to customers to help them get the most out of a product or service, with opportunities to upgrade and purchase other products or services that meet their needs. The new technologies also sparked an evolution in the role that company IT teams play in contact centers.

For decades, IT departments were the primary decision-makers when a company was exploring new technologies – and that made perfect sense since IT departments were mainly responsible for installing and maintaining the company’s complex computer network systems. But as things grew relatively simpler with the move to cloud-based subscription services and software, the marketing and customer success teams gradually became far more involved in technology decision-making.

The Changing Role of IT

That’s certainly not to say that the IT team no longer has a role to play. They do. After all, IT still has the technical expertise and knowledge of what you might call the “bits and the bytes” needed to help guide the other departments to make the best decisions to advance the goals of the organization as a whole.

IT departments largely controlled technology decisions for years because the default assumption was that the IT team would buy or build what it needed itself, for reasons ranging from economics to security. But, that no longer holds true in many cases. There are important tradeoffs to be considered regarding whether it’s better to purchase a system or product and have it on site or purchase a cloud-based subscription service.

IT teams are still best equipped to answer important questions like whether a new program or service satisfies the company security policies and meets required performance standards. It’s just that, today, new technological innovations are far more of a team effort than before. And that team effort is increasingly focused on customer success.

Driving Customer Success

It seems there are only two speeds for CX these days: quick and quicker. Blame Amazon, if you like. What’s become known as the “Amazon Experience” has become what customers expect whenever they go online.

Think about it: The minute you set up your Amazon account you can search and select what you want, choose your delivery date, ask any questions, view suggestions on other products that might fit your needs, review your order history and get whatever you wind up ordering delivered to your door in a matter of two days. All without walking out side your house.

With that as the standard, customers are looking for alternative ways to do whatever it is they need to do quickly – making the adoption of an omnichannel approach critical to today’s customer success. Customers have come to expect a range of options so they can take care of business with a simple phone call, live chat, email, or even a YouTube-style DIY video among other alternatives.

This is where newer technologies are helping to drive CX. For example, a chatbot using speech recognition and AI drawing from a knowledge base can quickly take care of relatively minor issues—without a human even interacting with the customer.

To see where we’re heading just look at IoT for example. IoT is the concept that billions of physical devices and appliances—or, to use the technical term, things—are connected to the internet and to each other. From smartphones to coffee machines and alarm clocks to major appliances to vehicles to home security systems to … just about anything you can think of with an on/off switch.

Using a smartphone app, you can record a TV program on your home DVR, turn off your lights at home, lock your back door or turn up the heat or air conditioning when you’re on your way home. If you have an issue, you can use the app to diagnose the problem and even potentially fix it without having to contact the company.

That’s the world we live in. Customers expect to be able to do business with companies on whatever channel they choose, which makes staying up to date with technology so important. However, having a range of different channels is not going to cut it if those options are simply smoke-stacked—side-by-side and separate. They must be coordinated to truly be omnichannel.

The technology has to tie all those customer contacts together, regardless of whether one came in by phone call, another came in through online chat with an agent and still another came in through a chatbot with no human involvement.

These are some of the prevalent technologies converging around customer success today. And contact centers that bring together their IT, marketing and customer success teams to incorporate these technologies across a coordinated omnichannel approach will reap the rewards.

Learn More About CDC Software

CDC Software provides best-in-class Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions that create real-time, events-based links between leading telephony systems, CRM systems and other mission-critical contact center data sources – with a lower total cost of ownership than a custom integration project.

Contact us today to learn more or schedule a demo.