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Tuesday, December 26, 2017


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Paul Stockford, Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, mentioned in a recent blog postthat “the contact center industry will be all about automation” in 2018. Does your organization have a strategy and plans in place for automation innovation?

Verint’s Customer Advisory Board (CAB) met earlier this month and the agenda included a session on automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Board members discussed strategies that would help them simplify and modernize their customer engagement operations—and several members mentioned that automation is a critical part of their 2018 customer engagement strategy planning.

Craig Seebach, Verint’s vice president, enterprise workforce optimization strategy, kicked off the automation discussion with a review of takeaways from a panel discussion he participated in at the Automation Innovation Conference in New York City on December 5. The panel session was called “Building a Comprehensive Business Case for Automation and AI” and Craig shared these insights:

  • Carefully evaluate the process(es) you might automate—and be careful not to automate “bad” processes. Review the processes closely and identify any corrective actions before you automate.  This seems like common sense, but is a common oversight.
  • Develop scorecards/dashboards to measure and manage success and expected outcomes. These tools can help you optimize cost, quality and service and regularly measure performance against goals.
  • Don’t try to address new compliance processes as part of new automation projects. Address and improve processes before you look at automating them. Otherwise, you make the automation initiative more complex.  

CAB member contributions to automation innovation ideas and considerations included:

  • Business Services Company: We’re in the process of automating more than 20 back office processes. Sometimes the project is an IT-driven initiative, and sometimes it’s a business initiative. We see broad opportunity to drive operational efficiencies through automation.
  • Global Financial Services Firm: We have various pilots under consideration including automating 1) processes around fraud transaction notifications 2) parts of the collections process where delinquency notice processes have human touches 3) manual processes around warranties/price matches for customer purchases. We are also looking at integrating process automation with knowledge management automation.
  • Major Insurance Company: The dynamic of the contact center and back office is changing for the individual. We are asking ourselves: do we have the right skill sets if agents are going to focus on the more complex work, and automate the more routine and redundant work? As you change the work time, you need to look at employee training and competency to do the more complex work. We are also looking at how salaries, staffingand overall training may be impacted.
  • Leading Retail Firm: There are discussions around making sure security concerns are addressed—ensuring that automation processes and bots/robots can’t be breached from a security perspective.
  • Major Utility: We are moving now toward universal agents where agents handle all types of customer and call types. This has caused some uncertainty among agents as they aren’t sure they have all the knowledge they need to do that type of job. We’re also changing our training a great deal and looking at an increased focus on knowledge management to help in this area.

So, what areas should you consider as your automation innovation strategy framework? Consider creating your plans starting with the primary areas of 1) Business Objectives 2) Technology 3) People / Culture and 4) Outcomes and ROI.  Be sure you have a specific goal, outcomes and expectations for each area.

As I discussed in a blog post last month, there is a place for everyone to contribute to customer engagement automation ideas and planning. And you never know—you might just have one of the recommendations or ideas that will help your organization revolutionize customer engagement in your industry.

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