An In-Depth Look at the Future Needs of the Autonomous Customer

Jorge Blanco, U.S. Contact Center leader at Avaya, discusses a new study recently released with CMIQ's editor, which takes an in-depth look at understanding the trends, thoughts and needs of The Autonomous Customer.

1. If calls indeed become more complex, how do you predict the multi-channel system will handle this challenge?

Next-generation communications systems are session-based, as well as media and mode agnostic. Moreover, they shift control from the network to the application. With that said, a multi-channel system of this type is now capable of inherently handling all media types and modalities without requiring expensive and complex levels of integration, typical of current-generation solutions.

2. If 60 percent of those you surveyed claim they constantly change the channels they use, how will companies like Avaya and BT have to alter itself to better fit a variety of customer archetypes?

It is essential for companies to recognize that a new generation of customers are interacting with today’s companies, with an escalated set of real-time expectations and demands. We recognized this and it has been a key factor in our approach to contact center innovations. This new generation employs all channels (voice, email, IM, and now social media) when interacting with customer service. Every company that is in a prime position to define customer service experiences must recognize this shift, and understand the importance of looking at a customer’s entire context when addressing their needs. The more a company knows about addressing a customer’s context – their history, their preferred mode of communication, and their current needs – the better they can handle inquiries or issues, and the faster they can close transactions.

We are addressing this through multimedia, multimodal and context-aware solutions that support all types of contact center functionalities on a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based foundation. Last year we set out to bring our innovations to the forefront of contact center technology with a session-based approach to customer service that brings together customers, agents and experts -- along with all pertinent information -- into a single real-time session.

I also think that self service automation is a critical element in enhancing customer service experiences in a very efficient and productive way, and it is an area where you will see more developments from companies in the industry.

3. The survey claims that 74 percent of people think having to repeat their details is a nuisance. What’s the solution to this problem?

Incorporating a multimedia collaboration session model capable of anchoring all relevant context rather than attempting to push it from one agent or service to the next.

4. How is Avaya working with companies like Vonage, who provide long distance calls with no contract, or Skype, which allows users to call people for free, or a small fee overseas?

.Avaya has announced a partnership with Skype, which enables direct access to the Skype Connect service from an Avaya Aura-enabled environment. This capability enables Avaya Aura users to place and receive calls through Skype’s network.