What’s HOT in Contact Centre with Julien Rio
Julien Rio, RingCentral Engage, talks to UC Today about the latest innovations in contact centre
Ahead of Call and Contact Centre Expo 2019, which runs 27th – 28th March at the London Excel, I spoke to Julien Rio, Head of Marketing for RingCentral Engage about his upcoming session and the importance of messaging and multiple channels in the contact centre.
Tell me a bit about your session at Call and Contact Centre Expo this year?
“My topic is ‘How to jumpstart your omni-digital strategy’. We’re going to explain what omni-digital is all about and why customers now have digital habits when it comes to communication – and why it’s extremely important to include in your contact centre strategy. I’ll then address pitfalls and introduce how complex the obstacles are and how to overcome them.
It starts with understanding who you customers are. It’s not about being available on every channel, but understanding what your customers need and find the right mix of traditional and modern digital channels.
Once you’ve decided which channels, it’s not just about being on those channels but offering a consistent customer experience across all those channels. You don’t expect a different brand voice per channel – everything needs to be unified. It sounds simple, but to deploy it can be extremely complex if you did not prepare your transition carefully.”
How important do you think messaging is for contact centres?
I asked Julien whether messaging is going to be a passing trend or the absolute future. “Absolutely not a passing trend. Very seldom do you just phone someone. You know that people have complicated agendas, so you respect that and message them.
Messaging is so hot right now. You have all the power when you send a message. In 2016, we were talking about messaging but that was mostly Facebook Messenger. Now we have WhatsApp and iMessage as well.
When you send a message in your personal life, you fully expect that companies adapt to your behaviour. Everyone is using it. Even more traditional generations tend to adapt because it’s so convenient and has such a great user experience”.
Is it just millennials driving this change of communication behaviour?
“No, it’s broader than that. The trends we see go up to 65 years old when people are using it. It is obviously incredibly hot when it comes to millennials. It’s awkward and inconvenient to make a call if you’re a millennial. But that’s reflected in all ages”.
We discussed and agreed that multi-tasking and sending multiple interactions at the same time are different and drive productivity.
In a business world, Julien mentioned when your customers are churning. “You have so many customers that accept a small problem, without taking the time to complain because they don’t like the idea of waiting on hold for your hotline. They then leave when another bigger problem arises. If there were other channels where they could conveniently log their problem and get on with their day, you could resolve that problem, keep that customer and turn them into a channel ambassador”.
Different channels within one platform
I wanted to delve deeper into messaging, with it being such a hot topic in the contact centre industry. I asked Julien what his thoughts were on businesses receiving a public message on Twitter and asking you to hide it in DM.
“There are multiple good reasons to satisfy a customer publicly. So, it’s really for the company to decide where to address the issue. There might be a reason why the customer has decided to make it public. However, if its private or sensitive data then they need to manage and govern the processes to communicating on Twitter”.
What are the blockers when it comes to implementing an omni-digital strategy?
“The first blocker is that contact centres tend to build around communication silos. Companies started with KPIs and training around phones”
“Then email came along, and they did the same. Then web chat, then social and they have several teams doing different tasks.
The first way round this this is to become channel agnostic. You must serve your customers based on your agent competencies. As soon as your contact centre is organised by skills, not channels, you start managing your customers more efficiently. There are no more Twitter or web chat specialists, just a customer-centric organisation.
The second blocker is digital identities. You could be John Doe in the real world but JohnDoe02 on Twitter and PinkUnicorn on Instagram. If you cannot identify this is the same person, you have to ask them redundant questions because you haven’t matched their digital identity to who they actually are”.
What’s the next technology to hit contact centres?
Julien said there are three things likely to be the next big things in contact centre. Two exist but aren’t utilised well in contact centres. One is brand new and likely to drop towards the end of 2019.
Review platforms – platforms like Google My Business, Foursquare, Yelp and Trip Advisor. “Customers tend to look at online reviews before making a purchase. This already exists but its new for companies to start managing these platforms to influence customer experience”.
Chatbots – “Everyone has been talking about chatbots since 2017. 2017 was discovery. 2018 was understanding and taking a strategic approach to chatbots. We now know that an efficient chatbot is one with a specific role.”
“For example, we have a utilities provider that uses a chatbot. They can take a meter reading or order a new line perfectly – but we can’t expect them to hold intelligent conversations”
Google RCS messaging channels – “This is probably coming to life late 2019. Whenever Google is involved, there is no reason it doesn’t get very big very quickly. As messaging already exists with brands like WhatsApp and Facebook, Google can make it happen. Everyone is using Google so it’s going to be so efficient and so easy because Google is everywhere”.
Julien compared the potential Google messaging success to WeChat’s success in Asia with multiple purposes. He said to expect Google to go way past messaging and that it’s one to look out for in the contact centre.
To find out more about Julien’s omni-digital seminar and to register for Call and Contact Centre Expo, visit RingCentral’s dedicated Call and Contact Centre Expo page.