Roadmap essential to advance up CX maturity curve

By Prince Mashayahanya, Product Manager Pivotal Data

Influenced by powerful market trends such as changing customer engagement preferences, digitisation, channel fragmentation and, most notably, the rise of the Experience Economy, the legacy contact centre model is facing obsolescence.

To remain relevant and contribute meaningfully to the prosperity and profitability of the modern enterprise, the contact centre must evolve into a platform that facilitates meaningful first-line customer engagement via multiple traditional and new digital channels.

Central to this transformation are overhauls of the contact centre’s technological and operational capabilities. However, in a marketplace characterised by the commoditisation of products, services and communication channels, it is ultimately the delivery of superior customer experience (CX) that will differentiate a business from its competitors and deliver a strategic advantage.

Memorable and consistent CX
Delivering memorable and consistent CX has therefore become a strategic imperative for any business (and its contact centre) that wishes to not only survive, but thrive in the new digitally-enabled economy. Increasingly business leaders are realising this fact, with Forrester research indicating that 86% of companies surveyed already aspire to be leaders in CX.

Download Pivotal Data’s free eBook to learn more about how CX is driving the contact centre evolution.

To achieve this objective, contact centre leaders across industries understand the importance of advancing CX maturity, with Gartner predicting that this year more than 50% of organisations will redirect investments to CX innovations.

However, contact centres find themselves at different points on the CX maturity curve. While some are only beginning to explore how to improve CX, others have already begun to implement strategies aimed at improving customer engagement and experience.

CX-centric strategic roadmap
Whatever level they find themselves, in the absence of a CX-centric strategic roadmap, few will craft the type of CX that differentiates a brand from its competitors. To truly excel, the contact centre needs to advance to a higher level of maturity by developing formalised processes and implementing the appropriate systems to deliver superior CX to customers.

Discover 10 Steps to CX Maturity in the Contact Centre with this eBook

The point of departure for every modern contact centre is to first develop a strategic maturity model, which will provide an actionable framework to better understand and benchmark the current state of its CX capabilities. This model will then guide the on-going maturation of a contact centre’s operations, processes and technology, by identifying both the strategic direction and the tools needed to continually improve customer engagement and their experiences with the brand.

Disruptive Mindsets

When Paul Hutton, Joel Stransky and Bruce Arnold launched Pivotal Group in 2012, they did so with a wealth of experience and business relationships on their side. But it was still a start-up. Here’s how they’ve built what they believe to be the foundations of a successful business in five years.

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SAFPS and OneVault launches imposter voice bank

The South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) is launching a highly innovative shared imposter voicebank to enhance its current service offering to its clients, which serves to substantially reduce fraudulent transactions in South African contact centres. The initiative will be piloted with select participants before rolling out nationally.

SAFPS is partnering with South Africa’s leading voice biometric authentication solutions provider OneVault and regards this initiative as a significant step towards helping combat fraud within contact centres.

“Voice Biometrics is an authentication solution that is similar to a fingerprint in that it represents an individual’s biological construct and is therefore difficult to emulate,” says Paul Hutton, OneVault CEO.

Methods of authentication have evolved from an item owned (a driver’s licence), to something known (mother’s maiden name), to an individual’s physical makeup or biometric reference point (finger print) and is known as third factor authentication.

“Thus, with a combination of two or all factors – commonly known as multi-factor authentication –it’s more difficult to commit fraud.”

The explosion of online and digital transactions has increased the demand for remote security and, more specifically, remote authentication. Hutton says, “Voice authentication is as accurate as a finger print and eliminates the need for an individual to be physically present to conclude a secure transaction.”

By using voice biometrics to automatically cross-reference each call with the shared imposter voicebank, the agent will be alerted if there is match against the ‘watch list’ and a defined process can be followed. The solution is sophisticated enough that it will trigger liveness detection functionality when artificial voice production or voice manipulation is detected.

“In the case where a legitimate customer is calling, the agent is able to identify the customer quickly and securely through a matched voice print, thus vastly improving the customer experience and overall contact centre efficiency.

All members of SAFPS are encouraged to participate in order to gain access to the recordings of known imposter calls. Imposter voices will be loaded onto this single shared database, which will then be distributed or used to trigger alerts, real-time.

“SAFPS has identified an innovative application to combat fraud through contact centres. Most fraud cases touch a contact centre at least once,” Hutton says. “The implementation of a shared imposter voicebank will have a substantial impact on combating this type of fraud.”

Hutton adds, “We will run a pilot for six months to enable us to apply necessary considerations to comply with South African regulations.”

Manie van Schalkwyk of SAFPS says, “We want to see competitors taking hands in fighting fraud. Together we can eradicate fraud in South Africa. We decided to partner with OneVault to assist in the fight against fraud as they bring exciting new technology in voice biometrics. ”

Hutton adds, “We are very excited about this partnership with SAFPS because its non-profit status gives the project credibility and allows us to participate in the fight against contact centre fraud in South Africa.”

Leverage human capital to drive innovation

In the prevailing technology-driven economy, many companies are choosing to invest substantially in the development and implementation of systems and platforms as a means to drive innovation and compete in an increasingly cluttered marketplace.

However, by focusing predominantly on technology as its key competitive differentiator, these businesses are failing to tap into their greatest potential for innovation – its human resources.

Human capital, as it’s commonly referred to, is often a company’s greatest asset, explains Bruce Arnold, co-founder of Pivotal , the holding company for a range of innovative tech businesses.

“When the inherent skills and collective knowledge that staff possess are allowed to flourish in an environment that promotes creativity and collaboration, achieved through an organisation’s processes and supported by technology, then human capital becomes the main driver of innovation.”

According to Arnold, it is this combination of people, processes and technology that ultimately drives business growth and sustainability, either by improving efficiencies through step-change innovation to remain competitive and grow market share, finding innovative ways to disrupt existing markets, or even create entirely new segments with game-changing innovation.

“Innovation is ultimately about continual improvement, and creating solutions for customers that ensure return on investment. Innovation challenges existing paradigms and forces businesses to become more relevant by continually exploring opportunities to grow and improve their competitiveness,” continues Arnold.

To achieve this, Arnold states that companies need to foster a culture of innovation, where idea generation thrives and teams of staff are allowed to develop concepts that can be successfully converted into profitable, value-adding solutions or products.

This culture of innovation also creates value within an organisation that attracts high quality people to the business, he adds. “By building a bigger pool of knowledgeable people, an organisation can create disparate groups that all network and collaborate to deliver their unique skill-sets, be it strategic conceptualisation, lateral thinking, the ability to understand and test the business viability of an innovative concept, or implementers who can convert innovative products and solutions into commercially-viable business offerings,” explains Arnold.

“Often, the key to unlocking the creative potential that drives this innovation within an organisation is about more than brainstorming; it’s about bringing the right people with the right context around the table,” he continues. “There is sufficient evidence to support the notion that people who have greater content knowledge are more likely to innovate in a specific area. And when this is combined with diverse thinking from other groups within the organisation, skill sets overlap which augments the creative process and accelerates the rate of innovation.”

The processes needed to orchestrate this culture of innovation requires that companies have a documented, communicated strategic intent for the business, with the capabilities to evaluate creative ideas against practical implementation and customer needs, along with the budgets needed to support research and development.

However, Arnold states that companies should never seek to innovate for the sake of it. “Innovation should address market pain-points, either to exploit a gap in the market or solve a problem. If the strategic intent of innovation fails to meet these parameters, then it’s often not worth the investment. However, once a market need has been established, the business can start to invest in and leverage its human capital to deliver new revenue opportunities,” he concludes.

Investing in Innovation

While big corporates understand the importance of investing in innovation for growth, projects fail because the speed required for innovation doesn’t happen fast enough,” says Bruce Arnold, Group CFO and co-founder, Pivotal Group. “The only way a large corporate can innovate is through the right leadership to drive the change necessary for innovation to happen quickly. As a result, we are seeing big corporates partner with startups and more agile companies to bring innovation to the market.”

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