Steve ForcumFebruary 28, 2019

Digital Mixology – Transformation is best shaken, not stirred.

Digital Transformation, an admittedly overused buzzword, is top of mind for many businesses, especially in modernizing the customer experience in the contact center. In the past, the majority of calls into a call center were transactional in nature. Tasks such as resetting a password, checking an account balance, or making a payment required assistance to compete. Call center infrastructure was designed around servicing a large volume of calls that were short in nature. Metrics used to evaluate performance focused on how quickly calls were answered, how quickly agents ended calls, and the total number of calls handled per agent.

Investing in self-service tools to reduce call center traffic is not a new trend. The first generation of Digital Transformation included implementing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems which could tell customers their account balances, guide them through resetting their passwords or accept payments. If we fast forward to today’s interconnected and increasingly mobile world, many businesses view Digital Transformation as simply modernizing these self-service tools. Do you need to reset your password? Simply visit a website, answer some security questions, and choose a new password. Curious about your account balance? Open a mobile app and it’s right there. Payments can now be conveniently processed by SMS.

Is simply moving self-service “out of band” to digital channels the secret to eliminating calls to the contact center, or in other words is voice becoming less important?

The answer is a resounding no. While a Digital Transformation strategy may focus on modernizing self-service tools, voice is actually growing in importance. Consumers now handle the simple, transactional requests on their own but when situations become complicated a call into the contact center is still required. This is one of the main reasons why over 80% of companies’ first attempts at digital transformation failed, they didn’t account for voice as a part of their customer’s journey.

Ignoring voice magnifies how broken the call center is. The customer journey begins by dialing a toll-free number and quickly encountering the Pit of Misery, also known as the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Callers cannot hit the zero key, scream “Operator”, “Receptionist”, or “Beam Me Up Scotty”, or “Whatever magic word will get me out of here” fast enough. The IVR has become an antagonist, not an assistant, to the consumer. Once consumers escape the Pit of Misery they begin their voyage through the never-ending queue. After repeatedly hearing how important their call is they start to question their understanding of the word “important”. The journey through the queue mercifully ends when the call is connected with the guide who can help them, an overworked soul who seems more interested in how quickly they can end the call and move onto the next one.

To solve this issue businesses must become smarter, more responsive, and more secure than ever before. This means adding Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, and analytics to their Digital Transformationstrategies, which leads to another challenge.

Yesterday’s on-premise phone systems are like a glass of wine, a solution meant to be consumed largely without other ingredients added. Just as you could not make a mojito starting with a glass of wine, you cannot fully transform your customer’s journey with your on-premise PBX as the center of your Digital Transformation strategy.

Just as a good mixology course teaches the student about the ingredients, how they compliment each other, and the recipe for assembling the cocktail, I will continue sharing a series of blog posts will be your digital mixology course. You will learn how Avaya is working with the best and brightest in the Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Blockchain spaces to create smarter, more responsive and more secure solutions. You’ll understand how these solutions complement each other in transforming your customer journey, and then I’ll share some of our vertical-specific recipes that have created incredible customer experiences.

Can’t wait to learn more about Avaya’s solutions? Well, some great places to visit would be the A.I.Connect ecosystem of partners or our expo pavilion – booth 1519 at the upcoming Enterprise Connect 2019 event in Orlando, FL, or contact your local Avaya Business Partner

Digital Mixology � Transformation is best shaken, not stirred.

Steve Forcum

Steve Forcum, an Avaya sales engineer, can explain complex technology in simple terms. Forcum is a trusted advisor to many of the largest businesses in New England and beyond. He has developed a platform of engagement, interacting with customers, partners, and other followers on all forms of social media.

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