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Hottest information about 10th Annual Optimising Contact Centres Summit

8 JULY 2019

Thomas REBY

Senior Strategy Manager
Google

3 Questions For Thomas Reby

What will be the role of AI and technology in general in contact centres in the future?

Technology will play an ever-increasing role in complementing human ability. Technology provides solutions to aspects of service that are repeatable and where rapid, error-free operation is paramount. Areas such as identity/address verification, scheduling and status reporting are all examples in which technology can free up human resource and allow companies to re-deploy time and energy in to service that requires empathy, evaluation and non-standard solutions. Humans will be augmented, not replaced by technology, and my hope is that we will start seeing more focus on service and relationships, since the parts of customer service that are “script-prone” get automated. In addition, AI will help us build connections and relations between events that we would not be able to identify with our limited cognitive ability. We are already seeing many examples of this across industries and in contact centres I believe predictive service intervention and proactive, outbound contacts will be fuelled by AI. We will probably see AI help drive specialisation and advanced staffing models, such that customer wait time becomes a thing of the past. Likewise, AI driven coaching will help train agents much more specifically in the areas needed. Far too often operations managers are relying on simple analysis of operational data to make contact centre decisions and I anticipate with AI that we will increase the depth of understanding dramatically. We will gain a new level of knowledge behind Customer Satisfaction increases (and decreases) as well as much better understanding of why individual performance varies in contact centres.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-service?

Self-service carries the obvious examples of rapid, on-demand help at low cost. Effective self-service allows for the customer to gather the knowledge needed, when convenient and without human interaction, it creates very little overhead. A less obvious benefit is meta-data capturing. As self-service journeys are logged or journaled, meta-data is created which helps feed process improvement initiatives, all the way back to product design and serviceability. This is very powerful, and coupled with AI, the meta-data will be able to provide unexpected insight leading to improved customer experience.

How to boost agent performance and productivity?

In my experience, agent performance and productivity is driven through instilling a sense of ownership and self-direction. Too much focus on metric optimisation and coaching towards metrics, leads to disenfranchised employees who think with a transactional, sub-optimising mindset. The key to boost agent performance lies in making sure that they place a part in developing the business. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure coaching is targeting their growth and goals and the performance will follow.
  • Take their feedback seriously and improve process and product accordingly to gain their trust.
  • Allow them to help set targets and own their business reviews as a team. Hand over accountability and after a transition period you will see a level of commitment you would not have imagined.

A lot of literature exists on self-managed and self-directed teams and I would strongly suggest anyone looking to improve team performance to look into bringing in a degree of self-managed teams as a start!

Thomas is a Senior Strategy Manager at Google with extensive experience from technology companies, including Google, YouTube, eBay, Dell and Electronic Arts.
During his career he has managed global operations in e-commerce, technical support, content management and digital advertising, as well as held key leadership positions developing strategies for Customer Experience, revenue generation and knowledge management.
He has advanced CX research methodology by shifting traditional survey processes towards a progressive action-oriented insights, centring on pre-empting failure and knowing when to deviate from standards.
In addition, he introduced a fusion of sales and services, delivering Customer Success through machine learning models that drive product adoption and revenue growth as a byproduct of customer goal attainment.
Through 7 years of dedicated Knowledge Management experience he has transformed KM capabilities of 2 fortune 500 companies. This includes establishing knowledge sharing culture, implementing KM systems and tools, as well as tracking and optimising the value of knowledge and knowledge contributors across global teams.
Currently, Thomas is a Strategy Manager at Google, supporting consumer operations in areas such as gmail, Google Maps and Pixel hardware.
He is a father of two and currently lives in Dublin, Ireland.

4 JULY 2019

Martijn FRANSSEN

Director Digital Transformation Customer Service
KPN

3 Questions For Martijn Franssen

What will be the role of AI and technology in general in contact centres in the future?

AI will be a bare necessity to run decision models determining which contact needs to be established (or not) providing hyper personalised service to our customers – boosting sales, satisfaction and with that lifetime value. At the same time it will facilitate our CSRs providing them relevant information to surpass customer expectations.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-service?

It is always on providing ease of use, reducing waiting time and reducing costs. However, customer contact is valuable as it creates loyalty and gives the opportunity to add value in a personal contact.

How to boost agent performance and productivity?

By a complex mix of boosting employee satisfaction, data support, easy to use application, performance-based routing, coaching, providing a career/increasing duration of stay, and many more.

Martijn has 15 years of experience in Telco, Insurance and Media industry as a director in companies like KPN, Endemol and BGL.
Diverse background with functions in Finance, Operations, M&A and international management functions.
He is strongly committed to contribute to the life of others which is represented by being a member of the board of Amnesty International, Animal Welfare,
He is also an entrepreneur / founder of online platform to contribute to more than 200 charities. On the top of everything he is a proud father of two super girls

2 JULY 2019

Mailiis PLOOMANN

Head of Telecom Services
Elisa

3 Questions For Mailiis Ploomann

What will be the role of AI and technology in general in contact centres in the future?

In my opinion, humans will stop doing robot’s jobs and start focusing on real emotionally intelligent tasks in the near future. All the mundane and repetitive work will be taken care by bots and robots in general.
It will also be my personal dream and agenda to bring product managers closer to the client and an active part of customer service process in general. Using ML algorithms and automation tools will make all that possible.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-service?

Self-service can only take care of straight-forward customer actions. Without combining it with a solution targeted bot/assistant, customers will be left alone and will sooner or later start looking for a human agent. In my opinion, self-service is an essential tool but should not be considered a solution by itself, but rather a meeting point for the customer and virtual assistant/bot.

How to boost agent performance and productivity?

By leaving them with only the most interesting and emotionally engaging tasks and automating everything that can and should be automated. People start making mistakes when they are unhappy or simply bored and/or tired – that can never be excluded all the way – but could be significantly reduced once they don’t have to do robot’s jobs anymore.

Mailiis has worked in telecom industry for more than 10 years. Starting from the position of product manager and now being the Head of Telecom Services in Elisa Estonia – in charge for all products and services for the consumer customer market and also all the end-user devices for the whole customer base. She is also a licensed DISC trainer and a member of the consumer customer strategy board. With her background in business management and marketing she finds the telecom industry one of the most fascinating areas in today’s economics – basically a wonderland where everything is possible and what isn’t today – will be in a year’s time. Starting from 2017, AI and Machine Learning as a strategical tool has been one of the youngest but highest priority members of her portfolio. While rebuilding the idea of product management, customer service automation, user experience monitoring and facial biometrics are already live and this is just the beginning.

28 JUNE 2019

Björn  SJÖLANDER

Performance Manager,
Customer Support Centre
IKEA

3 Questions For Björn SJÖLANDER

What will be the role of AI and technology in general in contact centres in the future?

AI and technology will be used for collecting data and insights, preparing both customer and co-worker for a more effortless experience. It can be used to predict customer needs perhaps, even before the customers realise the needs themselves. I also believe that technology will change the role of the customer support centres, removing the short and easy contacts and increasing the more complex cases and interaction. This would mean new profiles when recruiting, new process for onboarding and a more in depth learning and development process.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-service?

Self-service has the potential if simplifying the customer meeting. The risk is that you take the perspective of the company rather than the customers. That would lead towards an overuse of self-services, which in the end would risk overcomplicating the customer interaction.
However, using a customer-focused approach, you provide an effortless experience for your customer and gaining loyalty in the long run. This would also allow you to refocus co-workers towards more complex cases.

How to boost agent performance and productivity?

In my opinion, the shift that needs to be made is to move away from performance coaching and step into behavioural coaching. With leaders focusing on changing behaviours rather than looking at data and numbers, you will empower your co-workers to make the change needed. Only when you change the root of the problem and create an understanding of the impact, you will see true changes. I am a strong believer in the power of coaching and self-evaluation, if the co-worker can identify his/her potentials you have already achieved, is the first step towards increased performance.

For the last 15 years I have been working with customer experience. Working mainly in outsourcing I have had the opportunity to work with many great brands both on local and global scale. My ongoing focus is improving the customer experience via use of analytics and process improvement. For the last 2 years I have been working with the customer meeting for IKEA Sweden with focus on performance management and finding new ways of interacting with the customer.

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