I recently spent two days in Phoenix with Aspect’s executive team attending the company’s analyst summit. The event was an opportunity to discuss changes in the marketplace and how they impact the company’s roadmap.
First, kudos to the company for the level of transparency provided during our conversations. Second, here are some of my observations from the event:
Aspect Via: The company’s cloud-based customer engagement center platform is a major focus for them. Currently, Aspect Via supports live agent and self-service omni-channel interactions through voice (inbound and outbound), chat, and SMS technologies. The company plans to incorporate more channels (such as email) into the platform in 2017.
Aspect Via also brings together quality, performance KPIs, and workforce management functionality in role-based persona interfaces.
Agent experience: It’s no secret that we’re living in the era of the empowered customer. Given that, it’s surprising to see how many contact center practitioners forget or simply ignore the impact of agents on the customer experience.
As discussed in Aberdeen’s study, Agent Productivity & Performance Management, addressing the agent experience has a direct and positive impact on customer experience. During the summit, Aspect revealed that agent empowerment, involving access to quality and performance KPIs along with customer journey insights, is central to their product management and development activities.
Digital agents: This is one of the most interesting areas of contact center innovation today, and something we’ve covered extensively in studies such as The Intelligent Contact Center. “Digital agents” are essentially non-human agents companies use to address customer needs. Cognitive technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, AI, and real-time guidance help companies build and manage these digital agents.
Aspect’s Mila is a digital assistant that allows contact center agents to use SMS and other messaging apps for things like schedule changes or picking up shifts. Similarly, the interactive text capabilities of Aspect’s product line allow customers to interact with digital agents. Their investments in these areas are fully in line with the changes in technology influencing the entire space.
Workforce optimization: While workforce optimization might appear to be a well-established category, there’s been a considerable amount of incremental innovation in this area over the past several years. The use of robotic process automation to automate agent scheduling activities is one example of this.
Updates shared during the analyst event showed that Aspect is closely tracking these trends and incorporating capabilities such as Mila and gamification into its portfolio.
Omni-channel: As expected, omni-channel was a key topic discussed throughout the event. While the concept of delivering consistent and personalized interactions is not new, it is something many organizations still struggle with.
Aberdeen’s CEM Executive’s Agenda 2017 study shows that fragmented views of customer data across the business are a leading reason that companies are unable to use innovative technologies to deliver omni-channel conversations. With this in mind, we highly encourage all contact centers aiming to deliver omni-channel interactions to start with the basics. Begin by integrating disparate data silos and regularly audit your ability to deliver truly personalized conversations.
You can read Aberdeen’s Customer Intelligence study to learn how Best-in-Class firms build a unified view of customer data across all channels that supports their omni-channel programs.