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Stuart O'Brien

WEBINAR REWIND: The future of AI in the contact centre

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Don’t worry if you missed last week’s insightful webinar about the future of AI in the contact centre – You can now re-watch the entire session online.

The in-depth discussion saw Paul Lasserre (Global Segment Lead for Applied AI solutions, AWS) explore the maturity of AI in the CX space, the key barriers to AI adoption, and the top predictions for the future of AI in the contact centre.

Contact centres worldwide are adopting AI technology to reimagine the customer journey and empower agents to deliver faster, more accurate customer service. Yet despite 89% of CX professionals recognising the importance of leveraging AI in the contact centre, only 14% of organizations consider themselves “transformational” in employing AI to do the heavy lifting for their business.

The session explore the obstacles organizations face on their journey to AI maturity and how can these barriers be overcome as automation becomes a CX standard.

Click Here To Watch Again

Students encouraged to consider a career working with data

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Misperceptions about qualification and skill requirements are hindering UK students from pursuing a career working with data, a new study from Experian has revealed.

The research, which surveyed 2,001 UK adults (16+) in education, found over two thirds of students (68%) believe you require key qualifications in maths and / or science in order to work with data. Almost three quarters (72%) also believe that you need specific data skills in order to apply for a data related job.

However, despite the misperceptions, the research also highlighted that over half (53%) are considering a career working with data, including data analysis (29%), data science (21%) and data engineering roles (16%). Men are considerably more likely to consider a career in a data-related field, with 60% doing so compared to 48% of women.

The study follows on from a recent report published by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) which highlighted the UK faces a data skills shortage, with up to 234,000 job roles requiring data skills currently vacant. A lack of talent in the field would severely dent the Government’s ambition for the UK to become a world leader in data, as outlined in the National Data Strategy, so it’s encouraging that Experian’s research shows a healthy appetite from students.

Jonathan Westley, Chief Data Officer for Experian UK&I and EMEA, comments: “The pandemic has shown the growing importance of data and the role it can play in overcoming some of societies biggest challenges. The National Data Strategy is testament to this view, but achieving the Government’s ambitions will continue to be an uphill struggle if there’s not enough talent working in the data industry.

“While it’s encouraging to see that a growing number of graduates and apprentices are now considering a career in data, we need to do more by working alongside the Government to educate and create awareness around data roles with a broader, more diverse range of students. Those in education today are increasingly being driven by the idea of finding a career in which they can make a real difference, and we need to showcase the power of data for good in sectors from healthcare to education.”

Experian is calling on businesses and government to work together to entice more students from a wide range of backgrounds into careers working with data. And the demand is there – the research found that one in five students (21%) said that businesses needed to showcase how people can make a difference to society by pursuing a career in data, and one in four (25%) thought that a renewed focus on data skills and training was needed in the education system.

With 67% of students wanting companies to do more to promote data roles, Experian believes businesses have an opportunity to raise awareness to the importance of data and its crucial role.

5 Minutes With… TalkDesk’s Jay Gupta

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In the latest instalment of our contact sector industry executive interview series we spoke to Jay Gupta, Global Director of Product Marketing at Talkdesk, about the company, the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, the importance of operational efficiencies and the potential for artificial intelligence…

Tell us about your company, products and services?

Talkdesk was founded in 2011 by Tiago Paiva. He recognised that the problems contact centres face didn’t change, but businesses needed a better way to find solutions and deliver impressive customer experiences. Talkdesk is helping customers innovate a better way to great CX with Talkdesk CX Cloud™, an end-to-end customer experience solution that combines enterprise scale with consumer simplicity, all on a single unified platform. Talkdesk has since been named a Leader in the 2021 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for CCaaS for the second consecutive year.

What have been the biggest challenges the Contact Centre/Customer Services industry has faced over the past 12 months?

The pandemic completely restructured our day-to-day lives, many of us working from home and relying on online services. The companies that thrived were those who provided digital, frictionless customer experiences. Customer expectations became higher than ever, with 68% of customers reporting that a single poor customer service experience would negatively impact their brand loyalty. This pressure on brands to offer the amazon-like customer service was one of the biggest challenges in the contact centre industry and pushed businesses to rapidly accelerate their digital transformation roadmap.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

Especially over the past year, it is clear that the efficient operation of the contact centre is key to any business success. However, even the most efficient contact centres are not often viewed or operated as strategic assets, and companies miss clear opportunities to generate significant enterprise value by failing to invest in unlocking the true potential of contact centres. In direct response to this, Talkdesk has launched the ‘Cost-to-growth’ campaign which leverages the contact centre as a growth centre through 3 stages: Assess, Dream, and Launch.

What is the biggest priority for the Contact Centre/Customer services industry in 2021/22?

I think the biggest priority for the contact centre industry in 2021/22 would be to upgrade legacy technology and take advantage of cloud based technologies. The cloud has allowed so many people to work from home and been one of the main reasons businesses have been able to continue over 2020. Businesses are now recognising that every aspect of their organisation needs a cloud based solution to operate as efficiently as possible, as well as safeguard against unusual events.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022?

I would definitely expect to see an increase in the adoption of AI and automation. We are seeing an increased recognition of the benefits of AI for providing agents with real-time contextual information, better managing the contact centre workforce, as well as delivering personalized, 24/7 customer service. I would expect this to be a growing priority in the contact centre industry in the near future.

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

This year, cloud-based intelligent security solutions are having a huge impact on the market. Intelligent Security, such as Talkdesk’s ‘Guardian’ enables businesses to gain better visibility of their remote workforce and effectively mitigate risks such as insider threats, noncompliance, negligence, and unpredictable work-from-home infrastructure. This technology can also ensure that customer interactions are handled securely and compliantly, regardless of where agents are located.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

In 2025, I think AI will become mainstream. We’re seeing more businesses across industries, big or small,  who don’t necessarily have the technical clout of a technology giant like Amazon, but want to transform their contact centres with AI to offer an Amazon-like customer experience. With 84% of organisations now believing customers expect self-service options 24/7, AI is providing contact centres with the tools to deliver impressive, frictionless customer experiences outside of the call centre operating hours. AI is also being used to empower agents by providing them with real-time, contextual information so they can answer customer questions more quickly and accurately. Finally, contact centres are now able to intelligently uncover friction points in customer journeys. I expect AI will be essential to the operation of the most successful contact centres in 2025.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Contact Centre/Customer Services sector?

The contact centre is often positioned as a cost centre despite sitting at the heart of customer experience. I was surprised to learn that businesses are extracting more value from their contact centres by enhancing their customer experiences. Delightful customer experiences that boost customer satisfaction and brand loyalty can catapult contact centres from a cost centre to a profit centre.

Digital Customer Engagement Summit – Putting the ‘SO WHAT’ into your digital content

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We wanted to let you know that we will now be hosting our Digital Customer Engagement Summit on the 24th November at the Hilton London Canary Wharf.

Don’t miss out on the chance to hear from Andrew Davis, Digital Trainer and Keynote Speaker at Talk Digital who will be speaking about;

“Putting the ‘SO WHAT’ into your digital content”

Every organisation is creating content but how many are creating engaging content that leads to an objective consistently. This keynote looks at how to do this in a Covid world.

·         Understanding where we are now in a Covid hit world with our content.

·         Looking at ways we can create content to improve engagement and data points.

·         Knowing how algorithms work and their impact on our online performance.

·         Measuring impact and understanding ROI.


I can reserve you a free place that includes; complimentary meals and refreshments throughout, a seat at our industry seminar sessions and a personalised “speed-dating” itinerary with a selection of budget-saving and innovative solution providers.

Confirm your place here via our online form, or you can contact me anytime if you have any questions,

Do you specialise in Web Self Service/Chat solutions? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Contact Centres Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the customer care market – and in October we’re focusing on Web Self Service/Chat solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help customer care industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Web Self Service/Chat solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Carly Walker on c.walker@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

Oct – Web Self Service/Chat
Nov – Display Boards
Dec – CRM

For more information on any of the above, contact Carly Walker on c.walker@forumevents.co.uk.

WEBINAR: The future of AI in the contact centre

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021, 10 a.m. BST

Join talkdesk for a virtual discussion with Paul Lasserre (Global Segment Lead for Applied AI solutions, AWS) to explore the maturity of AI in the CX space, the key barriers to AI adoption, and the top predictions for the future of AI in the contact centre.

Contact centres worldwide are adopting AI technology to reimagine the customer journey and empower agents to deliver faster, more accurate customer service. Yet despite 89% of CX professionals recognising the importance of leveraging AI in the contact centre, only 14% of organizations consider themselves “transformational” in employing AI to do the heavy lifting for their business.

What are the obstacles organizations face on their journey to AI maturity? And how can these barriers be overcome as automation becomes a CX standard?

Sign up to explore how businesses are adopting AI and the top predictions for the future AI in the contact centre.

Click Here To Register

UK ‘the most unforgiving country’ when it comes to customer service

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More than a third of people (38%) in the UK felt that their experience with customer service has got worse over the last 12 months, making it the highest figure out of the US and Europe.

That’s according to the Customer Service Index 2021, produced by Five9, which found nearly half of UK respondents (44%) are very unlikely to be willing to do business after poor customer experience – making it the least forgiving country.

And almost two-fifths (39%) of UK consumers have left a brand they were previously loyal to over the last 12 months, with the biggest losers being retail and consumer products (28%) followed by banking and financial services (15%).

Five9’s Customer Service Index looks at what consumers believe makes good or bad customer service. Other interesting points from the research include:

  • Phone is still king: More than half (51%) of total consumers (US and Europe) still prefer the phone as the best means of communicating with customer services. Yet compared with other countries, the UK is most likely to use webchat (20%)
  • When asked the preferred channel for urgent/sensitive issues, the number for by phone increased to 65%. Note that for the UK respondents, that number increased to 68%
  • Over a quarter (26%) of UK consumers are more willing to use social media platforms for customer service than they were a year ago
  • Virtual agents: Two-fifths (40%) of UK consumers are already using virtual agents where available. Nearly a fifth (18%) haven’t yet used them but would if they were available, showing a huge opportunity for contact centres to capitalise on virtual agents
  • The UK is still not ready for video: Over two-fifths (42%) of consumers would prefer not to use a video call with a customer service agent. Whereas in Spain, less than a third (29%) aren’t comfortable

Brian Atkinson, Vice President and General Manager, EMEA from Five9, said: “Our Customer Service Index suggests some correlation between customer service and brand loyalty. Most businesses have faced unprecedented uncertainty over the last 12 months and simply cannot afford to lose customers. It’s therefore essential to get customer service right – especially for UK consumers. To do this it is ultimately about human connection, which is the underlying theme across the survey results. The phone is still popular because consumers want to feel like they are talking to a real person, and are being understood and listened to. Yet, they still expect the same across chatbots and social media. Human connection needs to therefore be at the heart of every communication – even if an actual person isn’t present.”

You can read the full report here.

Last chance to register for the Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit

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The Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit takes place NEXT WEEK – secure your place today!

13th & 14th September – Queens Hotel, Leeds

Your complimentary pass includes:

– A corporate “speed-dating” itinerary of one-to-one meetings with solution providers
– A seat at our industry seminar sessions (included within your itinerary)
– Overnight accommodation at the venue – free of charge
– Complimentary meals and refreshments throughout
– Networking breaks to make new connections in your field

If you are interested in attending you can confirm your free place via our booking form here – www.contactcentresummit.co.uk/booking-form/

For more information, contact us directly at b.law@forumevents.co.uk.

NICE launches Enlighten XO

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NICE has commerced the roll out of Enlighten XO, which automatically generates insights from human conversations to build smart self-service with advanced AI.

Additionally, the platform streamlines the development of digital self-service applications by injecting data from past interactions to optimise future self-service experiences.

NICE says organisations can now take a data-driven, self-learning, empirical approach to increase self-service effectiveness and drive exceptional experiences.

In Forrester’s publication, “Predictions 2021, Customer Service,” the analysts reported, “Customer behaviors and communication preferences have permanently shifted; in 2021, brands will see a 40% increase in digital customer service.”

NICE says that in today’s digital-first world, organisations need to deliver an effortless experience on the consumer’s channel of choice to compete in a transformative industry.

The new solution analyses 100% of interactions from any platform to discover the best opportunities for automation, taking the guesswork out of self-service development with purpose-built AI models that identify customer intents, training phrases, and problem-solving activities that ensure success.

Armed with superior data and insights, organizations can accelerate their digital transformation and turn self-service into a competitive advantage.

“Soaring demand for digital service is driving organizations to accelerate their digital CX transformation and drive full resolution on their digital platforms,” said Barry Cooper, President, NICE Workforce & Customer Experience Group. “Enlighten XO makes self-service applications smarter by deriving intelligence from consumer conversations across all channels. We’re excited to introduce Enlighten XO to the market and make self-service capable of creating engaging experiences.”

Contact & customer service centres: 2021 buying trends revealed

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Agent Coaching & Monitoring, Training & Development and Artificial Intelligence top the list of solutions the UK’s leading contact centre and customer services professionals are sourcing in 2021.

The findings have been revealed in the lead up to the Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit, which takes place on September 13th & 14th at the Queens Hotel in Leeds.

Delegates registering to attend the event have been asked which areas they needed to invest in during 2021 and beyond.

A significant 67.9% are looking to invest in Agent Coaching & Monitoring, with 50% sourcing Training & Development solutions.

Just behind were Artificial Intelligence (46.4%), Business Performance Improvement, Business Performance Improvement and Multi-Channel Comms/Integration (all 46.4%).

% of delegates at the Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit sourcing certain products & solutions (Top 10):

Agent Coaching and Monitoring 67.9%
Training & Development 50.0%
Artificial Intelligence 46.4%
Business Performance Improvement 46.4%
Multi-Channel Comms/Integration 46.4%
Online Live Chat 46.4%
Call Centre Technology 42.9%
Workforce Management/Optimisation 42.9%
Home Working 39.3%
Knowledge Management 39.3%

To find out more about the Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit, visit https://contactcentresummit.co.uk.