But it can be oh so hard to resist with information technology rapidly evolving at an unprecedented pace to meet the market’s unquenchable demand for even more ways to interact. The modern contact center faces an increased level of pressure to adopt these new technologies all at once. Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), application programming interface (API), visual IVR – new possibilities are being formed every day with thought leaders expressing the need for contact centers to adapt or die.
Should contact centers blindly adopt all these new technologies? If so, at what cost?
The danger of adopting too much innovation without purpose
Though there may be tremendous excitement and even heightened media focus associated with adopting advanced or futuristic technologies, when implemented without purpose or a plan, these technologies can negatively affect contact center operations – impacting productivity, performance and the customer experience. Not to mention a loss in time and money.
Innovation for innovation’s sake can lead to contact centers becoming a victim of feature bloat – where organizations end up with so many overloaded systems and applications, it becomes difficult for managers and agents to quickly find and efficiently use the information or tools they need. This can also result in an overall decline in contact center performance as new technologies are not being used to their potential and are instead bogging down operations – in turn negatively impacting employee morale as they become increasingly frustrated with unwanted or unnecessary tools that make their work lives more complicated.
Innovation should be strategic
When contact centers do decide to adopt new trailblazing technologies, they need to do so in a strategic way that is in line with their business goals and objectives. This means taking a close look at the contact center’s current state, understanding pain points and areas for improvement, and then carefully selecting the right technology or solution that will address these specific needs.
“Remember, technology is only a tool. It cannot replace a good strategy, nor can it guarantee success. Technology should never be adopted for its own sake, but rather to support and enhance an existing strategy.”
Create a strategic plan and stick to it. Be open to change and adjust as you go, but if new technologies do not fit within your plan, then you know it’s not right for your organization.
Newfangled technology is not always best for your operations, environment and customers
While it’s essential for contact centers to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, they need to do so in a way that makes sense for their unique business. Simply put, not all contact centers will benefit from every new technology that comes down the pipeline. It’s important to carefully consider if a new technology is right for your contact center before jumping on the latest tech craze.
For example, a company that works exclusively with senior citizens relies heavily on live agents to handle customer interactions. Based on their customer demographics, adopting a chatbot would likely NOT be beneficial as their customer base largely prefers human interaction and is technology adverse. Instead, IVR technology would need to be adapted to provide selection options or the ability to say a word or sentence. In this case, adopting technology without analyzing customer needs would negatively impact the customer experience and would lead to customer defection.
On the other hand, a contact center that deals with younger generations may find that adopting an AI-powered chatbot DOES make sense as their customers are more comfortable interacting with technology and prefer immediate self-service options over live agent interactions.
At all times, technology should be used to support and improve the customer and agent experience.
No matter the solutions selected, it’s vital that all new technologies are properly integrated into the contact center’s existing infrastructure and that employees are given adequate training on how to use them. Otherwise, you’ll have a very expensive gadget that no one can use.
The contact center innovation takeaway
The contact center industry is constantly evolving and changing, but that doesn’t mean every contact center needs to implement every new technology or innovation that comes down the pipeline. When contact centers do decide to adopt new technologies, they need to do so in a strategic way that is in line with their business goals and objectives. This means taking a close look at the contact center’s current state, understanding pain points and areas for improvement, and then carefully selecting the right technology or solution that will address these specific needs.
While it may be tempting to jump on the latest and greatest technology trends, contact centers need to resist the urge to innovate merely for the sake of innovation. Instead, they should take a strategic approach to solution adoption, selecting new technologies that will help them achieve their specific business goals and objectives. Only then can contact centers hope to create a truly customer-centric environment that meets the needs of today – and tomorrow.
What do you think? How do you go about selecting and adopting cutting-edge technologies?