On an evening in early March, The Shard’s normally wonderful vista was hampered by a wet and misty evening on the night of our Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) technology deep-dive. A sharp contrast to the clear view emerging in the room on the importance of improving service and how the latest UC tech can support the generational shift in work patterns and customer engagement.
Our UC specialists, together with the 8×8 team partners, led a discussion between a dozen of Digital Space’s customers spanning the retail, manufacturing and service industries. Their common focus: delivering great customer service through a hybrid workforce, to provide a consistent brand and customer experience, across a distributed branch, office, and facilities estate.
Agent workstyle was discussed along with the need to support this with flexibility, as many organisations are providing hybrid working in some form for their customer service employees. Cloud-based services like XCaaS is enabling new workstyles and agent-experience, as well as improving service for end-customers.
The concept of the hyper contact centres with the rows of agent pods, for many organisations, now seems like a relic from another age. Both society and technology have moved on and 8×8 explored the role of AI in monitoring and improving the customer experience right down to individual calls, agents and customers themselves.
Building a real-time picture of quality and experience, despite the service ‘centre’, now distributed over untrusted networks, is the challenge 8×8 has addressed with its XCaaS service and its ability to integrate the front and back office through its licensing. This flexibility and agility reflect the cloud-base of the service, democratising a level of customer service and experience previously only available to large enterprises. Similarly, security over untrusted home connections, has become the default delivery layer with 8×8 ensuring security by design, innate across its portfolio.
A key point for deployments of cloud contact centre services reflected this scalability with 8×8 advocating a ‘proof of concept’ approach using their sandbox to design, deploy and test innovative approaches for new services in an organisation. This minimises risk during development but provides rapid scale-out when successfully demonstrated. This process is a now familiar cloud-driven ‘agile’ deployment, which was necessary over the last two year, as organisations pivoted their business, along with the value creation and delivery to their customers.
The familiar UC focus of ‘omni-channel’ now has increased resonance as it’s not just service providers adapting to hybrid working but their customers too. A key conclusion from this discussion is that UC technology is more relevant now than it’s ever been and in fact, the flexibility of cloud contact centres has helped many organisations pivot to hybrid work, whilst improving their customer experience.
In a further nod to the impact of lockdown, 8×8 acknowledge the take-up in collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams. A fact borne out of the straw poll of our attendees. Rather than ignoring this trend, and the deep reliance many organisations have forged on it and similar collaboration platforms, 8×8 has pursued a feature roadmap of integration so that its services integrate and work with Teams, or stand-alone with its own collaboration interface and tools.
We heard from our award-winning experts on cloud contact centres for great customer service, all whilst navigating the ‘normalisation’ of hybrid working. The discussion closed with examples of use cases for cloud UC&C and the powerful AI-enabled service management features it provides.
Technical discussion over, the audience then enjoyed less formal discussion with colleagues, specialists and their peers over dinner. A great evening of discovering technology solutions to customer service, whilst learning from peers about the challenges and successes they’ve encountered.
We will be announcing more technology, trend and strategy events in conjunction with our partners, for organisations shortly.