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Digital revolution descends on contact centres

By Tracy Burrows, ITWeb contributor.
Johannesburg, 2 Jul 2014

The digital revolution is just beginning, and companies that fail to prepare for future customer expectations will be left behind, delegates heard at this week's Interactive Intelligence Contact Centre in the Cloud Executive Forum.

Interactive Intelligence's manager, Sales Operations for Africa, Deon Scheepers, said the "nexus of forces" including social media, mobile, big data and cloud was only now gaining momentum in Africa. But Africa is catching up with the world, and when it does, customer expectations will drive significant change in how contact centres interact and deliver service. "Globally, customers are expecting more and they are expecting it faster," he noted.

Scheepers highlighted Interactive Intelligence's latest annual surveys, which poll contact centre professionals and customers globally.

"Effective follow-up is now the most valued aspect of customer service interaction globally, while in South Africa, a knowledgeable agent is still top priority," he said. Globally, the top customer frustration when dealing with contact centres is being transferred multiple times, followed by not being able to understand the agent. And globally, customers said they were highly likely to share both positive and negative customer experiences with friends and family via social media.

In order to capture and react to any customer pronouncements, every organisation needs to have a single and holistic view of all customer interactions. What this means for contact centres is that they need to have access to all customer-relevant information and offer multi-channel interactions in order to meet customer expectations," said Scheepers.

Delegates heard that cloud-based contact centres using a single integrated platform allow enterprises to consolidate data, ensure reliability and scalability, and support multi-channel engagement and a single view of the customer, all of which enhances customer service. Gareth Mellon, senior industry analyst for ICT at Frost & Sullivan, said the decreasing cost of bandwidth and storage, and increasing personal use of cloud services is driving cloud uptake by enterprises and contact centres. The key reasons for contact centres to adopt cloud now, he said, were capital budget constraints, cost savings, access to the latest technologies and the need for flexible site and agent provisioning.

Chris Majer, Interactive Intelligence's cloud practice manager for EMEA, added: "Cloud really can be described as the perfect storm."

He said the old concerns about security and cost were falling away as cloud proved itself in the contact centre space, and that Interactive Intelligence was seeing a significant swing to cloud among its own clients, in line with global trends. "Cloud now makes up 70% of our annual orders globally, and made up 85% of our EMEA orders this year," he revealed.

Speakers

Gareth Mellon
Senior Industry Analyst for the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) team at Frost & Sullivan Africa
Chris Majer
Chris Majer
Cloud Practice Manager, EMEA for Interactive Intelligence

Andre le Roux
Managing Director for the African Region at Interactive Intelligence
Deon Scheepers
Deon Scheepers
Manager, Sales Operations Africa at Interactive Intelligence
 
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Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) is a global provider of contact center automation, unified communications, and business process automation software and services designed to improve the customer experience. The company’s unified IP business communications solutions, which can be deployed on-premise or via the cloud, are ideal for industries such as financial services, insurance, outsourcers, collections, and utilities.

IN THE NEWS

Contact centres embrace the cloud
Johannesburg, 27 Jun 2014
South African contact centres, while lagging those in much of the rest of the world, are reaching a cloud adoption tipping point, says Andre le Roux, African region MD for Interactive Intelligence.

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