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Contact Center Expectations at Enterprise Connect 2023

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Image: Yuri Arcurs - Alamy Stock Photo
The big news in contact centers this week is that Frontier Airlines has, as a company spokesperson told The Verge, “transitioned to fully digital communications,” or in other words, discontinued phone-based customer service support. Most communications industry analysts and observers condemned the move, noting that voice is still a primary channel for customers reaching out to companies for help. The contrarians pointed out that Frontier is a budget airline and suggested maybe we’re getting to the point where the ability to monopolize an agent’s valuable time and engage 100% of their attention for an unpredictable length of time may, in fact, be some kind of luxury.
With the rate at which AI technology is advancing, I’m confident that a time will come (probably in the not-too-distant future) when a company may decide the time is right to go heavily — if not fully — digital. But really, we’re kind of seeing that happen in slow-motion now. I remember Sheila McGee-Smith, the dean of contact center analysts, talking on a No Jitter webinar in the early days of the pandemic about how the term “deflection” (i.e., of voice calls into self-service) had become a more acceptable goal. That momentum has only continued to build.
In other words, we’re all on the road to less agent participation in customer service. We may never actually reach agent-free CX, but we’ll likely keep moving forward in that direction.
At Enterprise Connect 2023, we’ll have our biggest Contact Center/Customer Experience track ever, with many sessions devoted to issues around self-service, digital channels, and optimizing agent resources. Among the sessions we’ll be presenting:
  • Robin Gareiss of Metrigy will discuss the role that knowledge management systems play in ensuring that self-service is effective enough to actually achieve the goal of deflecting calls from agents. She’ll also lead a session on how advanced analytics can help you understand the actual state of CX in your enterprise.
  • Max Ball of Forrester Research will describe how AI is revolutionizing contact centers’ ability to parse and understand call recordings, yielding actionable insights based on 100% of the conversations agents are having with customers.
  • Mila D’Antonio of Omdia will present on customer engagement platforms (CEPs), which as the session abstract describes, “link crucial systems and communications and then proactively deliver information.” This gives the agent and the customer-facing employee the insights that they need to provide better service.
  • Juanita Coley of Solid Rock Consulting will detail what goes into a holistic customer experience strategy, one that accounts for CX channels normally outside the purview of the contact center.
  • Consultant Beth English of EE and Associates will offer real-world advice for a CCaaS migration. She'll share some common pitfalls and challenges with cloud migrations and how to overcome them.
We have a couple of more sessions to announce still. But clearly, this year much of the emphasis is on AI and data and what they can do for your customer experience. They may not eliminate agents, but they’ll make agents better at their jobs and more productive, and hopefully, it will make your customers happier.