Independent Contact Center Consultants: Bridging Strategy, Technology and Operations Since 2004

The Changing Face of Assisted Service

contact center agentThe other day, I was on my bank’s mobile app to view my recent credit card activity when I noticed an icon at the bottom of the screen that I hadn’t seen before. It was a microphone with “Voice” below it. When I hit the button, a “Siri-like” voice asked me to speak or type my request. Either choice brought up my recent activity in just two steps. My new “assistant” made my service much better!

Contact centers are moving beyond “self-service” into a more nuanced, “assisted service” concept, which brings entirely new ways of looking at human assistance. For example…

Virtual Assistants (VAs) in the form of visual “avatars” provide a captivating and interesting alternative to FAQs or searches on a company’s web site. They use natural language text analytics which allow customers to type a free-form question instead of choosing from a list. The VA replies with answers, points to links on the web page, or asks more questions to arrive at the right topic or answer.

The proliferation of smart phones is prompting companies to deploy advanced features in their mobile applications, including voice-assisted service. Some organizations are even incorporating the same avatar from their website into their mobile apps, leveraging the same interface and knowledge base.

Amazon now has the “Mayday” button on its Kindle Fire to connect with a customer service rep via one-way video. The agent can draw on the customer’s screen to provide directions and even take control of the device to fix a problem.

Web collaboration uses subtle approaches to coach rather than control, coupled with technology advances that make it more useful than ever. Mature solutions have overcome compatibility issues between competing browsers. Some applications leverage security codes to provide consumers with an extra measure of comfort that the agent (and nobody else) is viewing or accessing their screen.

Innovative vendors have added a “personal touch” to their speech recognition technology. If the advanced algorithms predict a low success rate in deciphering someone’s speech patterns, it sends phrases to agents who sit behind the scenes and provide their interpretive skills. While they do not interact directly with customers, they make sure that the customer has a great experience with the technology.

Done well and targeted to the right audience, all of these tools provide a more satisfying customer experience. They also benefit the organization through cost savings and revenue increases. And happy, self-assisted customers increase brand loyalty.

Here are selected vendors that provide assisted service technology:

Web Mobile Video Web Collaboration
ŸCodeBaby Creative Virtual eGain IntelliResponse MyCyberTwin NextIT noHold Apple AT&T Interactive Intelligence iSpeech Microsoft Nuance ŸAvaya Cisco Genesys Microsoft ŸeGain Genesys Glance LiveLook Live Person Moxie Software Oracle

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