RIS: How is the role of the contact center changing in an era of digital clienteling? What new skills does this require?
Kurian: For a typical contact center agent, they have no idea what will hit them with each inbound customer call. They are measured by first call resolution, average call handle time and other customer satisfaction metrics. With online retail associates, they are also measured by revenue generation. Enterprises have petabytes of customer data, and without technology it is challenging for associates and agents to make sense of that data and help the customer in minutes, if not seconds.
For both the agents and the online retail associates, it is imperative to have real-time access to unified customer data with complete buyer journey information. And that data needs to be accessible regardless of engagement channel — voice, email, text, chat, video, etc.
Ideally, AI-based, next-best action recommendations are available in the same interface to guide them toward fully leveraging these engagement opportunities.
For online retail associates to succeed in the contact center, they need the ability to digest and use data to impact the micro-moments in the customer journey, and to operate and execute in all support channels based on real-time data insights.
RIS: What are the foundational tools retailers need to provide contact center associates now that their role also includes more selling and clienteling?
Kurian: There are three fundamental ingredients:
- Cloud-based contact center application
- Omnichannel clienteling tools including video integrated into retailer's task management solution
- Customer data platform that handles real-time data with AI-enabled next-best action engine
RIS: Retailers must pivot their approach to clienteling quickly. What are some keys to doing so successfully?
Kurian: Retailers must capture omnichannel customer behavior data, connect online and offline data with clienteling initiatives, and empower their employees with data.
But beyond that, management must:
- Provide employees with adequate and updated training to support sales, marketing and communication efforts with customers.
- Give employees up-to-date information about each individual customer, along with personalized suggestions and next-best actions for associates to take if initial actions and suggestions don’t close the sale.
- Deliver routine opportunities for employees to learn about privacy and data-driven culture.