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Real-Time Guidance Drives Contact Center Digital Transformation

September, 2023

In 2005, Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC, published a book called The Real-Time Contact Center, which had a twofold purpose. Its foundational objective was to give readers an appreciation for the importance and contributions of contact centers. The second objective was to lay out a business case and plan to help contact center executives and leaders transform these essential customer-facing departments from reactive operations into real-time proactive customer-oriented organizations. It has taken close to 20 years, but the convergence of the processing power of the cloud, interaction analytics (IA), artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, and a change in what agents are empowered to do for customers are finally making the concept of real-time contact centers a reality. 

Transitioning from Reactive to Proactive

New real-time guidance (RTG) solutions are augmented with generative AI and provide the technical and operational infrastructure to shift the service paradigm from reactive to proactive. These AI-enabled applications give customer service agents the in-the-moment information and direction they need to quickly understand what customers want so they can properly address each inquiry or concern during the interaction. This reduces handling time and increases the first contact resolution (FCR) rate, which is a win for the customer, enterprise, and agent.

When it comes to sales operations, RTG applications can be used in conjunction with predictive analytics to identify the best sales offer to present to a prospect or customer and the ideal approach to respond to objections. This enhances the overall sales process, improves customer satisfaction, enables agents to increase close rates and commissions, and positively impacts the company’s bottom line. 

RTG solutions also help improve regulatory compliance and script adherence. They can provide alerts and the mandatory wording agents must use for compliance requirements, such as the mini-Miranda warning, or remind them to verify a customer before performing certain transactions on their behalf. These applications can provide guided workflows and checklists to ensure agents complete all the steps involved in a complex transaction, eliminating processing delays and the need for customer follow-up. The real-time capabilities of these solutions are also helpful in reducing fraud, as they can notify agents of high-risk contacts when auto-authentication has not occurred.

RTG Improves the CX and EX

RTG applications help agents handle customer requests correctly the first time, which positions them to deliver an accurate and outstanding customer experience (CX) while reducing the need for follow-up on the same issue. These solutions are instrumental in decreasing interaction average handle time (AHT), as they locate and deliver the knowledge articles, or other information, and easy-to-follow guidance agents need to resolve customer issues more rapidly, enhancing the employee experience (EX). This lessens the need for agents to put callers on hold or transfer them to someone else, two things that customers greatly dislike. Real-time guidance can also be triggered to provide agents with tips for acknowledging and handling customer frustration, taking ownership of the problem, and getting the interaction back on track.

RTG applications provide targeted coaching and support for all agents; the more advanced solutions deliver content personalized to the needs of each employee, which can expedite their onboarding and ramp-up process. Real-time guidance can be aligned with agent tenure and/or skill proficiency or tied to specific key performance indicators (KPIs) to provide a range of assistance, from high-level reminders to detailed step-by-step instructions. Since RTG behavioral prompts, verbiage, hints, suggested responses, and workflows are based on proven techniques and the behaviors exhibited by top-performing agents, not idealized hypothetical concepts, they position agents to succeed on every contact. These solutions alter both the employee and customer experience by empowering agents with the information and tools they need to do their job right. 

Final Thoughts 

Contact centers that want to deliver an outstanding CX need tools that enable their agents to provide accurate real-time assistance to customers. This is a big change and opportunity for most contact centers that still rely on reactive policies and procedures designed with delays and extra steps because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Due to innovations in automation, analytics, and AI, companies that are willing to invest in RTG systems and best practices can transform how their contact centers operate. As these alterations greatly enhance the CX, EX, productivity, and the brand, it is the way to go and an important step in every company’s digital transformation.