Technology is changing the ways that companies interact with their customers. Companies across all sectors are experimenting and rolling out tools that enhance the customer experience. As the range of services that companies – particularly telecoms operators – offer broadens, these tools will be critical in managing customer interaction efficiently and effectively.
Chatbots (virtual assistants) are already in use in many interaction environments, helping to improve the decision-making and problem-solving processes for customers.
Other tools, still in their infancy, are also being examined and tested. Among these are machine learning, analytics and AI (artificial intelligence). These tools will not necessarily replace humans in the interaction process but will enhance the efficiency of the interaction and potentially dramatically improve the relationship with the customer.
Deploying the tools
As the number and complexity of interactions increases, it is important to map the new interaction environment in order to support the use and deployment of these tools.
A TM Forum proof-of-concept project aims to do just that. The Optimization of the Interaction Center from the Agent Perspective Catalyst, championed by Deutsche Telekom and Virgin Media, sets out to fully understand the agent journey within the interaction environment.
Participants in this Catalyst are Liverpool John Moores University, 100 Celsius, KatoApo, Sopra Steria and Vectra Strategy, and the initial goal is to examine at least three specific areas within the interaction environment.
- Agent welfare: Stress-related issues within the agent community
- Agent efficiencies: The ability to fully map all the interactions within the center
- Agent fraud: The ability to map every interaction and touchpoint within the journey and highlight unusual activity using anomaly analytics
Deliverables from this project, driven by this better understanding of the agent journey, will include a key matrix of the environment under the Return on Learning (RoL) category. It will also produce new metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of machine learning and AI in the interaction environment.
The Catalyst builds upon last year’s Machine Learning Optimized Omnichannel (MLOOC) Catalyst, using the concepts and key attributes of customer experience management CEM. The Customer Experience Lifecycle Model and journey analytics concepts are central to this project.
While the vision is to enhance the agent journey and thus improve agent morale and the customer relationship, there is another key goal. These new tools have the potential to optimize the interaction center of the future. It is, however, essential that the role of machine learning, analytics and AI in the center are fully understood and mapped for that potential to be realized.
The participants and champions of this project are keen to encourage cross-industry discussion and acceptance of the metrics that will result from this work. Having common metrics will produce benefits for many industries including utilities, finance, health and telecoms.
The Optimization of the Interaction Center from the Agent Perspective Catalyst will be presented at the forthcoming TM Forum Live! event in Nice, (May 15-18).