AI-powered contact centers | Steve Bederman on Engati CX Podcast

Host: Since we’ve officially entered the connected era, how will the emergence of 5g and IoT empower contact centers? And do you think it will help in creating a refined Omni Channel experience?

Steve Bederman: Yeah, I do think it will help.

It’s really a matter of our infrastructure, and adapting.

I think you’ll see that it improves every month and it’s a critical piece, in terms of being able to use a wide range of broad channels in the effort to communicate with people. It’s absolutely a next step.

Host: Absolutely. And I think with more advances in technology, the process will become smoother and even better.

Steve: The idea of the technology and the prototypes are always exciting. But then it’s always about the infrastructure, and how do you make sure that the infrastructure is stable, and everybody’s using the same platform. And once that happens over X amount of time, it’s an important facet of what we want to do as we move forward.

Steve Bederman was invited on the Engati CX Podcast.

The discussion touched some of the most anticipated topics in today’s contact center space: 5G and IoT applications for contact centers, customer self-servicing, key metrics for the new remote-work model, intelligent filtering the unstructured data, and many more.

Listen to the full episode here:

Host: In addition, we’re also entering an era of highly empowered buyers who prefer self service. So do you see contact centers implementing more self service mechanisms?

Steve: NobelBiz is a manufacturer of contact center solutions.

We’re out in the market with a tool that people use and enjoy called Omni+ and it’s an omni channel solution.

The reason today, even during the pandemic, it’s really taking off for us is probably the 10 years of effort in the multi channel environment where people began to play with different approaches and different channels.

For one reason, the channels are there to ease the ability to communicate on any level that a client wants. But also, because consumers are using tools, like Facebook and social media, on which they get to communicate a lot but also remain somewhat anonymous.

And they’re used to forums of multiple communications going on at the same time, that just leads to the self serving, or the need for self service.

We have the tools to do it: speech, technology, AI is already built into it.

And it’s just not about getting the consumer to adapt to it, because they want it, it’s about getting the actual contact center willing to use it.

Contact centers want to use it, because it reduces their overhead in terms of agent investment. Without agents, they can still do the transactions and it’s a balance between cost effectiveness.

So there’s a high motivation for everyone to want to do this.

Host: What upcoming trends do you see in 2021 for contact centers? Do you think we’re going to see more remote or virtual contact centers? Or are we going to go back to the normal when the pandemic is over?

Steve: The worst thing that happened to the world was a pandemic, the best thing that happened to contact centers, relative to adopting new technology was a pandemic, because it insisted that people had to go home.

So the first necessity is for the home environment to be able to handle the virtual environment, so bandwidth is a critical piece of that.

Anybody can go home with contact center solutions like Omni+ and log into their computer, their laptop or phone and work as an agent.

I think it’s going to remain that way: the first three weeks of the pandemic, when everybody went home in March last year, we saw a drop in traffic.

Now remember that NobelBiz, in addition to contact center solutions, we’re a carrier. So we get to see millions to billions of minutes of traffic and how it flows.

After those three weeks, by going home, the contact centers had to rebuild to the same level of traffic to where it was last year in March.

Now, they have the business, they know how to adapt to a wide open to the big infrastructure.

Host: And a lot of businesses, not just contact centers have adapted to a new way of working. And I think they’ve been getting the same benefit from it, and that’s really great.

Steve: It’s not a black or white, it’s probably a hybrid for people.

Even in my own business, we have hundreds of employees, and hundreds of our employees went home and they’re still at home today.

Will we close our heart offices around the world? We won’t. We will reduce them, we will have some innovative flow of employees in and out, but much of our business can be done effectively, in a virtual environment.

The advantage in a contact center is as soon as you’re comfortable with that virtual environment and you see the benefits of cost reduction and ability to manage, you’re going to feel that you don’t need to do anything, but start hiring people all over the world.

And that allows for a much more integrated broad workforce, which then allows contact centers to take on more business all over the world.

Host: Absolutely, that’s a really amazing idea. Moving on to our next question, what metrics should contact centers watch for success?

Steve: That’s one of the clearer things that you’re going to see here in 2021, a strong focus on the metrics, robust reporting is a critical piece of that.

If a Contact Center today has a wide range of channels, where they can communicate on Facebook and WhatsApp and telegram, on video, email and chat, you want to, then you have to measure.

The change from multiple channels to omni channel is specifically driven by the idea of capturing the entire context of a communication with a client in no matter which way they communicate.

You don’t want to just start reaching out in all different channels, hoping to just reach somebody. So it’s really about metrics.

Host: Since human interactions are filled with unstructured data, how can contact centers filter through and understand these pieces of data?

Steve: AI in the context of center world isn’t really a ‘wow’ feature anymore.

It’s a necessity and used oftentimes in terms of the ability to sort through the conversations and find out what is pertinent and important in those conversations.

So picking out key words, picking out phrasing, picking out the recognition – through the context of pulling out that data, you’re able to then understand and target much more clearly.

The key to all of that data and finding what’s important in it is really the way you get efficient and the way you don’t interfere with people’s lives, but you communicate with them when you need to.

Host: Before we wind up with the interview, Steven, any thoughts that you would like to share with our audience?

Steve: I’ve been in this industry of contact centers and communication for decades, I’m very involved.

I started out many, many years ago as a contact center agent myself, when we called it telemarketing, and worked through dialing 100 calls a day myself to build the automation that goes with it.

What I would remind any contact center, really any business is, you don’t have to rush to anything. Make sure your business is stable.

There are great tools, Engati has great tools, and NobelBiz has great tools. Just make sure that you don’t over adopt, just be careful, stabilize your business in these tough times.

And then begin to look at how to use the tools that are available in a way that assists your business, and doesn’t necessarily have to revolutionize your business.

Business building is a progression of continuous improvement, it’s not that every year you have a revolution in your business. It’s stability that we all look for, the tools are here.

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