Contact Center interactions are skyrocketing globally says Keith Budge, SVP & GM, APAC & Japan at Genesys

Genesys is a leading provider of contact center solutions globally. Gartner has consistently ranked Genesys as one among the top 5 Customer Experience and Relationship Management software vendors across the world. Sangram Aglave, Contributing Editor, Businessworld caught up with Keith Budge, SVP & General Manager, APAC & Japan at Genesys to learn more about the state of the contact center market and various trends shaping it.

  • What is the outlook for contact center workload? Please share the trends you've come across at leading consumer businesses and consumer markets?

Keith Budge: While businesses make it more seamless to engage with consumers and prospects, we see interactions skyrocketing, across an always increasing multiplicity of channels. With so many new ways to engage, it’s harder and harder for companies to extend a great customer and employee experience. Customer experience is more important than ever — and at times, it’s the only thing that sets businesses apart from their competition. A study by the Customer experience consulting firm, Walker Information says that 86% buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. It also predicts that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator. Research conducted by Deloitte concludes found that 62% of companies view customer experience delivered by the contact center as a competitive differentiator. Predictive customer experience is a trend and it is to empower people with AI and machine learning to predict and improve customer experience outcomes. For this companies must gather customer data across web, mobile and all areas of engagement with a business, analyse and learn from that data to predict the next best action and connect the customer or prospect with marketing, sales, service or support. Organizations are looking at transforming the contact center into a revenue and profit center as opposed to a cost center.

  • How do human to machine contacts compare to human to human contacts at top contact centers across the world?

Keith Budge: It highly depends on the business environment and business strategies. We have seen customers automating more than 80% of the transactions in China for instance, in other instances it may fall to 10%. So, it is entirely dependent on a customer’s requirement, the industry they operate in and the desired outcomes. Directionally, human to machine interactions now account for a significant proportion of the overall interactions as they are embedded in the human to human conversations for routine tasks such as identification or billing.

  • What is the thumb rule for deploying human agents and identifying automation opportunities in a contact center?

Keith Budge: The rule of thumb is that automation shall be a “win-win” strategy for both the business and the consumer. It usually comes down to a case by case analysis to ensure that all parties are benefiting from the deployment of human agents versus automation. Currently, automation is deployed for routine tasks and humans are refocused on more complex issues that require careful handling. The second angle is with regards to how much automation should be deployed to support employees. When employees are better engaged and equipped, they can reach their full potential in managing engagement with customers. Again, a thorough analysis is needed in order to make sure that injecting automation will benefit the employee while increasing overall productivity.

  • Human Agents can make or break Cx. Is agent experience correlated to customer experience?

Keith Budge: Yes, it is. Customer experience is everything but without connected and engaged employees, that customer experience suffers. Artificial intelligence (AI), with its numerous high-value business outcomes, gives employees a better experience. And its automation capabilities aren’t limited to customer service bots. Automation of information, processes, insights and trends within the workplace offers more than just business optimization. It makes employees happier, more satisfied and less likely to seek greener pastures. With voicebots and chatbots, AI-assisted agents, workforce management, predictive analytics and more, Genesys has introduced a series of applications that deliver on the promise of AI at scale. But most importantly, Genesys AI innovations work together on one platform, sharing data insights that enrich the customer and employee experience and produce exponentially better business results.

  • Marketing as a business function is expanding in all direction and already subsumes Customer service at a lot of places. How can CMOs manage challenges in integrating marketing technologies?

Keith Budge: Sales and marketing professionals need a unified customer journey data platform that integrates all historical data on the customer journey and enables real-time tracking and engagement of customers so they can be engaged at the moment of purchase.

Genesys unifies customer data on a common platform and enables easy integration of this data for improved, real-time predictions of the right leads to engage, with the right offer, on the right channel and by the right sales resource. Genesys brings predictive, omni-channel engagement to the industry and transform how digital sales and marketing organizations leverage voice, digital and artificial intelligence channels to grow lead conversion and sales revenue.

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