NICE inContact: True Omni-channel Customer Service
We talk NICE inContact’s acquisition of Brand Embassy
Since the acquisition of Czech Republic startup Brand Embassy in May, NICE inContact have been able to take their call centre management product to new heights – and bring long-overdue disruption to the customer service space.
As Chris Bauserman, VP Segment and Product Marketing, explains, “the Wall Street Journal had an article recently about how everybody hates customer services. The examples in there really reinforced what we knew about the things people were missing, the way they’re forced to interact with contact centres don’t reflect the way they have conversations in real life.
“Most of them are still driven by voice, and don’t even offer digital channels beyond email and a bit of web chat – but from Generation X on down, customers increasingly prefer a digital-first experience.”
Bringing the Companies Together
Bringing the two companies together put European advances in messaging communication from Brand Embassy at the heart of the existing NICE inContact ecosystem, and created a truly omni-channel experience for their first integrated release in July 2019 – which has benefited contact centres and their end users alike.
“Most ‘multi-channel’ contact centre software offers 4 or so channels – but with Brand Embassy integrated into our CXone platform, we at NICE inContact have found a way to deliver more than 30 channels. Moreover, we create a native experience within each one – not just the lowest common denominator of plain text, but interactions unique to the tool in question, such as Facebook ‘likes’ or iMessage firework reactions, rather than cramming them all into a single bland agent interface.”
In fact, it’s changed the agents’ workflow completely as well as the way their productivity and caseload is supervised and allocated. New management functionality was also needed, because, as Bauserman explains,
“It’s blown up 30 years of call centre best practice – it’s not the same job any more. Agents can do so much more with these tools”
Instead of dealing with a continual wave of push calls, the agents are dealing with a dynamic blend of real-time voice calls, emails, chat/texts – all with different expectations of synchronicity and response time. So they each need greater autonomy and discretion to manage the flow, to route conversations to different channels as they unfold, while gaining greater work satisfaction managing tickets to their ultimate resolution, whatever path they follow through the system.
“Of course, there’s help putting the context together” Bauserman points out, because switching context between multiple concurrent digital conversations effectively is challenging. “They have smart “cheat sheet” access to all the conversation history, as well as next best action recommended responses at their fingertips.”
So the creation of a user-centred experience starts with the design of great agent-centred solutions in the call centre, responding to an urgent need from customers, who know they need to create a better digital experience but often simply lacked the solutions and knowhow.
“We’ve hit on real pain points, they’re either saying ‘we didn’t know we could have this!’ and wanting to get set up really quickly”
“Or they might already be doing some digital customer service, but in a fragmented and siloed way, with some agents doing all the social or chat interaction off in one corner, providing a disjointed user experience – and not beginning to fully integrate all the work being done across the enterprise, such as marketing and social media, relying on the occasional ‘human hero’ to join the dots.”
Making the omni-channel experience truly seamless on the customer side while genuinely integrated on the agent side is an objective that’s becoming a reality thanks to NICE inContact’s latest release. For the call centres of today – this marks a win-win for enterprise and consumers alike.