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Contact Center 2023: Sales, Service, Marketing Converge

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In preparing for contact center and customer experience related content at Enterprise Connect 2020, just rescheduled due to coronavirus, I recently spoke with Karthik Kripapuri, recently appointed CEO of Selligent, which offers an intelligent omnichannel marketing and experience cloud platform.
 
I’d not yet met Kripapuri, and wanted to explore this topic with him: the assimilation of sales, service, and marketing. We “chatted” via email, and here is an edited version of our Q&A.
 
Some companies already "get" the notion that data and interactions from across a business need to be available to the agent in some form. What percent of companies do you think are doing something about it today, and how far will the industry "move the ball" over the next three years?
 
I think most companies today definitely understand this need – but understanding and being able to do something about it are two different things. That’s what separates the innovative and successful businesses from the rest. I’d say that there is still a huge gap in terms of companies that are well-versed at both marketing to consumers and harnessing that knowledge for reactive and proactive engagement in the contact center.
 
There are obviously outliers and several forward-thinking companies. A few that we work with – like Build.com and Dutch e-commerce company Coolblue – already feed this intelligence into their service departments.
 
If I were to predict, I’d say that in the next three years, if 90% of companies aren’t there, we’re all doing something wrong. Every research report we read and every conversation we have with clients revolves around how we can service customers better and be consistent with the experiences we provide – and we've talked about this for years. If businesses are unable to address this in the next three years, then we’ll have bigger issues with retaining customers and being successful overall.
 
What part will, or should, AI play in the delivery of contextual data to agents?
 
I’m not a technical expert here, but I think that AI can play a significant role in making more intelligent recommendations and surfacing the data to enable agents to make offers quickly. What we must remember is that AI is only as good as the data and information it can learn and glean from interactions companies have with consumers. At the end of the day, connecting all those data points to have a full picture of the customer is the number one priority.
 
Selligent has a reputation as a “marketing cloud” company. You now have a “customer experience cloud” offer. How does each leverage common assets, and how are they different?
 
Selligent has had a long history of leveraging data to power programs. We started as a CRM company 20+ years ago and pivoted to marketing; data has always been at the heart of building and maintaining relevant and personalized interactions with customers.
 
Selligent Marketing Cloud is all about pushing content and engaging with customers – sending them offers across the channels they interact with, whether that’s mobile, social, email, offering discounts, following up after a purchase, sharing recommendations, etc. Selligent Experience Cloud is about arming businesses with that same intelligence so they can react and even anticipate inbound communications from customers.
 
What we’re doing is tying all that activity together to help ensure that regardless of which part of the business interacts with customers, they have the same full picture of the individual and can deliver a seamless, connected experience.
 
Stay tuned for more information on the Contact Center & Customer Experience track for the newly rescheduled EC20, coming to San Francisco the week of Aug. 3, as well virtual programming for the week of March 30!