CX Contact Center

Top 5 contact center trends with industry expert Robin Gareiss

Metrigy CEO and principal analyst, Robin Gareiss, shares her top five contact center takeaways and advice for customer experience leaders in 2024. 

5 min read

Updated on May 27, 2024

Published on April 19, 2024

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The customer experience (CX) world is constantly shifting and with an AI transformation currently in the works, it’s never been more important to stay on top of evolving contact center trends. We sat down with Robin Gareiss, CEO and principal analyst at Metrigy, to gain her insights on her top contact center takeaways to watch in 2024. As a renowned analyst in CX and technology, Robin shared her invaluable insights and practical tips for contact center leaders as they prepare for the next-generation contact center and develop AI-powered CX strategies.

Q: Great to have you with us, Robin. As we jump on a new wave of CX technology, how do you think the conversation around AI is shifting? 

At recent events, including Enterprise Connect, I found that last year’s somewhat theoretical musings on AI have given way to tangible implementations and announcements. There’s been a notable escalation in discussions surrounding AI, including generative AI (GenAI), and its integration into CX strategies. Conversations have ranged from foundational AI applications, such as interaction summaries, to more sophisticated integrations and partnerships. This marks a significant shift that truly underscores the fast pace of change for contact centers and CX overall.

Q: Following recent events and conversations, if you were to summarize your top CX trends for 2024, what would they be?

Several common themes have emerged for me, mainly regarding AI’s application in the contact center, but there are other notable trends, too.

1. Apply AI to empower, not eliminate, agents

I moderated a panel, “Job Shifting: Where And How AI Is Eliminating & Adding CX Positions,” at Enterprise Connect. The session delved into the impact of AI on CX industry roles. I liked hearing the overall consensus of AI being used as an augmentation tool for agents more so than a replacement. 

In addition, AI’s potential to enhance customer interactions and address agent burnout was a big theme. Implementing AI to identify and address agent burnout is an emerging area that we’re starting to see companies take a closer look at. Empathy was another discussion topic, and we talked about whether it’s possible to train bots to be more empathetic and look objectively at information to ascertain a customer’s needs. That’s the direction I think we’re heading: how do we teach the AI to interact like and support agents rather than eliminate that human touch?

Use AI to enhance – not eliminate – the human touch

Check out Metrigy’s report for tips on the right way to implement AI to meet customer expectations.

2. There is a need for advanced analytics to help build a solid foundation

Analytics is a huge topic of conversation. More specifically, how CX leaders need to use advanced analytics to understand what’s working and what’s not. For years, we had ‘big data,” but not enough insights from that data to take action. AI has changed that. It’s paramount that companies apply any new AI technology appropriately to improve customer care. Analytics can help organizations closely monitor any new innovations and enhancements and adjust where needed. I think a solid analytics foundation is missing for many contact center teams.

3. A need for ROI-driven AI implementations

There’s a general understanding that automation fueled by AI is a catalyst for productivity. CX leaders know that if they automate something, they’ll see a benefit in efficiency, but that’s often hard to measure. Analytics comes into play here, too. It’s becoming more apparent that companies need to see demos and test technology to assess the benefits and potential ROI before jumping in. It’s tempting to deploy quickly without taking this step, and I believe contact centers will reap more benefits in the long run by taking a systematic approach. 

"Research shows that companies are becoming more concerned about the real ROI of AI."

That said, there are measurable areas of AI. For example, we’ve seen a 35% time savings in after-call work thanks to the use of transcription. We also see a 29% reduction in average handle time due to agent assist tools. Plus, supervisors save nearly two hours a week by using AI for scheduling and capacity planning. They’re also saving time and improving agent performance by automating quality management to evaluate every interaction vs. just select ones.

4. UCaaS and CRM platform integration optimizes CX delivery

I’ve had many compelling conversations about the necessity of integrating solutions to get that full customer view and deliver higher-quality service. Companies have integrated CRM with contact centers and CPaaS to derive deeper customer insights. They’re also integrating their broader communications platforms–including unified communications (UCaaS) and contact center solutions (CC). This is where companies can make a difference, in my opinion, enabling that flow of information from agents to back-office staff. All in all, this can provide a more well-rounded customer experience by enabling faster resolutions.  

5. The need for video/screen sharing in the contact center

Our consumer research shows that customers really want video and screen sharing as an option, but it’s not readily available other than as an escalation path. Companies that have an appropriate use case for video calls need to figure out how to do this in a way that’s very seamless and cost-effective. Our research shows that CSAT scores increase when customers can use video, especially when troubleshooting. The same goes for sales; it’s harder to say no to someone face-to-face, which improves the chances of closing a deal.

"Consumers really want video, screen sharing, or both, but it's not readily available.”

Use AI to enhance - not eliminate - the human touch

Check out Metrigy’s report for tips on the right way to implement AI to meet customer expectations.

Advice for CX Leaders in the era of AI-powered customer experience

Q. What advice do you have for CX leaders as they approach this new wave of AI-powered customer experience?

From what I’ve seen at Enterprise Connect and other events, and through our research, here are my top tips for CX leaders as they take their first steps with contact center AI: 

1. Partner with a trusted contact center solutions provider

Make sure you’re working with a technology partner aligned with your CX goals and values to help you effectively prepare and navigate the rapidly evolving AI landscape. It’s very difficult to keep up with the pace of innovation, so it’s really crucial to partner with a provider you trust.

"You have to have a technology provider that aligns with your goals."

2. Focus on needs and opportunities

Identify specific CX challenges and opportunities before implementing AI initiatives. Rather than chasing the latest AI trends, prioritize solutions that address specific CX challenges and opportunities you’re facing. Don’t try to boil the ocean. Rather, take a gradual approach; determine what problems you’re trying to solve and the opportunities you’re trying to address and bring those to your trusted technology provider to help you find the right solution. If you act more methodically, you have a better chance of success. 

3. Educate and engage

Educate internal agents and external customers about the benefits of AI-driven CX enhancements. This is crucial for successful adoption across the board. Answer the questions they have about why you’re making the change: Am I going to be more productive? Am I going to make my KPIs? Am I going to do my job better? Having a user-friendly interface and showing agents how to use it is great, but if they don’t understand why they should use it, it just won’t stick.

Education is also imperative for customers. For example, you can show customers the benefit of using a bot by sending them a message after their interaction stating their problem was resolved in 56 seconds compared to a 4-minute phone call.

4. Measure and adapt

As I mentioned earlier, robust analytics are essential for assessing AI impact and driving continuous improvement in CX delivery. Establish robust measurement frameworks by measuring your baseline first to determine where you want to go. This will set you up to assess AI impact and adapt strategies accordingly.

5. Strengthen foundations

Ensure foundational elements such as security, compliance, and data integrity are strong enough to support AI-driven innovations effectively. These are fundamental pieces that are easy to overlook but will only trip you up later. 

Robin, thank you for your time and so many helpful insights!

How Zoom can help you elevate your customer experience

It’s clear from our conversation with Robin that AI is shaping the future of customer experience. By prioritizing a solid foundation and taking a thoughtful approach, you can find the right balance of AI integration that empowers agents and helps your contact center deliver new levels of customer satisfaction.  

Check out Metrigy’s latest customer experience report, Use AI to enhance - not eliminate - the human touch, for tips on the right way to implement AI to meet customer expectations.

We’re helping businesses deliver innovative AI-powered customer experiences with Zoom Contact Center, Zoom Virtual Agent, and Zoom Workforce Engagement.   

Reach out today, and one of our CX experts will happily answer any questions you may have.

 

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