Cloud, AI and RPA – call centres in 2020
Call centres have emerged as the frontline of technology-driven service delivery, enhancing business, assisting agents and predicting business trends.
As more businesses face the technical realities of digital transformation and advance towards 4IR, the customer experience is always front-of-mind, and it is little wonder the call centre has emerged as the frontline of technology-driven, fully automated service delivery.
This is according to Ian Goss-Ross, chief executive officer of Elingo, a leading ICT services and solutions provider to the rapidly expanding multimedia contact centre and enterprise IP telephony space.
Goss-Ross has identified several trends that will define the call centre industry in 2020, including internal consolidation, social impact, AI, robotic process automation (RPA), and cloud deployment.
“One of the main trends is consolidation…. The line between contact centre and other functions like administration, finance, sales and support is getting blurred. More companies will use cross-functional experience to enhance service delivery to customers,” he says.
Referring to mainstay technologies in 2019, AI, RPA and the cloud, Goss-Ross says there has always been big hype around AI, and in the contact centre, the motivators are to enhance business in a way that not only assists agents, but is also used to predict business trends.
“In the past, implementing AI required significant in-house technology investments, but with cloud any company can benefit from AI,” Goss-Ross says. “In terms of RPA, we have experienced how just one robot can do the repetitive work of thousands of humans in a contact centre. RPA will not replace people, but will relieve workload so that employees can focus on the high-value tasks. The technology can take a huge amount of admin away in many areas of the business, eg sales, support, finance, IT.”
Given the customer-facing nature of the contact centre and its direct link to business processes and procedures, it is no surprise to executives that social media has continued, and will continue, to have an influence on the call centre environment.
“Companies realise that the effect of social media is massive,” says Goss-Ross, adding that there is a new drive not just to service customers with other media channels, but also to understand the voice of the customer.
Channels including Facebook and WhatsApp feature strongly, and in other countries Apple Business Chat is expected to make a huge impression, according to Elingo.
However, the cloud is one of the most significant trends going forward, says Goss-Ross.
“Companies have been sweating IT assets, but the uptake in cloud is growing at a fast rate as we see those companies now transitioning to the cloud when IT assets are at end-of-life,” he says. “New start-up companies are almost exclusively implementing cloud from day one.”
Essentially, customers now realise that the security of the cloud platforms is much better than what most companies can achieve in-house, Goss-Ross says.
Elingo believes that as long as companies are proactive in following the development of these trends, and plan for and manage their influence, they will definitely enhance their call centre operation and extract maximum value from the resource.