LeadDesk

at Call center World 2017
in Berlin

Part 1

The 19th CCW was a success. 8,000 international visitors experienced it live and direct. 260 exhibitors from 20 countries impressed with innovative solutions. More than 50 speakers transferred knowledge in 120 lectures.  www.ccw.eu

Hot topics and trends

Chatbots

This year’s CCW buzzword was chatbot. At least once in every presentation, the speakers talked about chatbots and their development, importance and various ways to use them efficiently. The difference between artificial intelligence and a simple chatbot was emphasized several times. But the good news is: The chatbot does not have to be smart to be efficient.

Messaging

Program integrations from WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger and beyond were a big topic on every stage. One could witness anything from simply transferred WhatsApp interfaces on computer screens to complex intervening systems. The importance of WhatsApp messaging was already a topic at last year’s CCW. This year the solutions and realizations were ready to be presented.

The difference between communicational measures that require both the sender and the recipient, to be available at the same time (such as phone calls), and the time resistant messaging (such as Facebook Messenger) is considered a game changer. The consumer alone chooses the time they want to be in contact and not the other way around.

Intelligent personal and virtual assistants – IPAs and VPAs

Artificial intelligence was very real at CCW 2017. Alexa, Google home, Siri, and co. were used at many corners. The cases varied greatly and made it clear that this might just be the beginning of something much bigger.
You may use them as a gatekeeper IVR or a process accelerator in contact centers with a strong focus on customer care. No more time is wasted by clicking aimlessly so your questions will get answers faster. The intelligent personal assistants with IVR can serve as a bridge between virtual assistants or chatbots and the human agents.

Are the IPAs and VPAs the “better” humans? Sarcasm might still be lost on them but everything logical is in a purer form compared to emotional humans. It’s on the people to think of fields of application of these artificial intelligent assistants.

IVR design

Some topics were not new, but still important to remember. Put the customer first is the most important mantra for IVR design. The number one rule to stick to is: Never let your customer repeat the same information twice. Due to the fast pace of our communication styles, preferences change rapidly. When designing your IVR, make sure it is accepted by your customers. Track and check regularly.
Even though it’s a robot-like voice, people want it to appear human-like to some degree. With a friendly sounding voice, easy to understand and not too long lasting.

Easy and connected

Did the fear and suspicion towards robots calm down to make room for curiosity? The possibilities for different use cases for robot assistants keep growing. Several ways were presented at the CCW in Berlin. For example, the API of Alexa, was mentioned as being fast and easy to program for different business needs.
Connectivity and integrations are the alpha and omega of omnichannel platforms and programs. Users demand that everything is integrated and easy to use. Hence, Daimler made it a goal to create one single ecosystem with only one API that people want to use every day. Daimler has also initiated some innovation hubs and plans to set up more in the future. The aim is to stay up-to-date and make use of the collective intelligence.
A representative from Oracle brought up an interesting example about up-selling. He talked to his internet provider on the phone and asked to connect his mobile service with his landline and internet services. He had to suggest it to the agent not the other way around. The agent did not have the necessary information on hand. Recommender systems make cross and up-selling so much easier. Nowadays, a life without the recommendations from consumer platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and more seems almost impossible. Interesting fact: 30% of Amazon’s revenue comes from the recommendations.
“People don’t actually want to talk to people anymore.” That was one bold statement by Marilyn Saulnier. It was followed by: “And they sure do not want to be transferred again and again.” Apparently, saying: “I’ll put you through” will make your caller hang up these days. So, what can you do? Simplify the processes, make it easier for the customer. Ease of use and time efficiency keep moving upwards on the priority lists. These two criteria become critical deal breakers for customers. It’s a race against time and not each other anymore. Companies that make their goal to offer better customer experiences will be successful.

CCW 2017 IN A NUTSHELL

 

  • The chatbots in combination with artificial intelligence and deep machine learning were audience magnets.
  • Disruptive use of existing tools or ideas such as recommender algorithms and smart home assistance devices was a big focus.
  • New improved approaches of interacting with customers in a modern user-friendly manner will raise the bar of positive customer experiences.
  • A general adaption to new communication ways is undeniably required in all contact centers and businesses with call centers.