Today's contact centers: Q&A with Anand Janefalkar, founder and CEO of UJET
Most businesses today have interactive voice response (IVR) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Yet, problems still abound. They include unclear IVR navigation, long wait times, agents that can’t solve the issue at hand, the need to repeat details that have already been provided, or even the dreaded disconnect.
But opportunities for innovation do exist, says Anand Janefalkar, founder and CEO of UJET, which provides tools for a multichannel solution for voice, web, text, and mobile app support. According to Janefalkar, purpose-built contact center-as-a-service platforms are making it possible to streamline and enhance the customer service experience.
KMW: UJET describes itself as a “cloud contact center software company.” What do you think UJET is doing that differentiates it from other vendors in the field?
Anand Janefalkar: UJET is not only cloud-native but also smartphone-centric meaning we are not a wrapper around a provider’s API stack or their on-premise architecture. Our system is designed from scratch, including one of, if not the only multimodal and fluid-omnichannel routing engine that allows for agent productivity configurations while moving between voice, chat, or SMS sessions. With intelligent automation, UJET is able to automatically allow agents and supervisors to surface this information, helping them resolve issues faster and turn negative experiences into positive outcomes.
KMW: What is holding companies back from reaching their full potential for improved customer service?
AJ: Customers want to communicate with companies via the same channels in which they are using products and communicating with each other. Today, those channels are predominantly on mobile or the web, and through chat, SMS, or directly within an app. However, some organizations have yet to optimize their customer service and contact center in order to provide a consistent support experience over-the-phone, online, and on mobile devices.
KMW: What is your assessment of current customer service/contact center services in regard to digital transformation today?
AJ: The contact center ecosystem is evolving and most businesses are transforming their products and services to be more easily consumed digitally. Today’s contact center needs to create seamless data flows and connect information between new and existing systems and technologies. This transformation can help identify opportunities for automation, better capture the voice of the customer, and help support teams better assess and staff their contact center. That is where UJET comes in to provide an enterprise-grade, SOC2- and HIPAA-certified live communications platform that is truly cloud-native and mobile-friendly.
KMW: Where is the use of IVR and CRM systems falling short?
AJ: For many customers, being routed into an IVR tree comes with frustration, and for good reason. The majority of the time, customers are on the phone for extended periods of time and find themselves repeating information. In many circumstances, customers begin their experience via mobile or web, however, IVR is typically a completely different experience. Where IVR and CRM systems fall short is when they are operating in silos. Via the cloud, organizations can integrate their CRM data into the IVR channel in order to more quickly and intelligently route customers and exceed their expectations.
KMW: What are the advances in intelligent automation that can help companies do a better job of addressing customer needs and improving customer satisfaction?
AJ: For UJET, intelligent automation and conversational AI go hand-in-hand, it is far more than just chatbots. Intelligent automation is far more than that, it is the connective tissue between your contact center and the other systems you have in place. Intelligent automation helps support teams to automatically connect and surface data in order to better address customer needs. For example, being able to collect data across multiple channels, combined with intelligent automation enabling agent fluidity between channels for obtaining visual and contextual data, can better and more quickly route customers and reduce overall session time without compromising, and in many cases improving customer satisfaction.
KMW: How can that help understand customer context?
AJ: Whether you’re an agent, supervisor, or administrator, it’s all about identifying and surfacing the right context at the right time and meeting the customer on their channel of choice in order to create an organic and seamless support experience. For agents, it’s about optimizing support channels so they can automatically gather data pertaining to the customer and their issue before the interaction even begins. For supervisors and administrators, intelligent automation can help them to better staff their contact center with insights into peak hours and channels, train their agents, and increase the use of self-service by directing customers to quicker solutions.
KMW: Why does UJET see the smartphone as being integral to improving the conversational experience?
AJ: Smartphones have changed the way we interact with one another. We no longer simply call each other, we text, send videos, photos, and more, and with over 90% adoption in most established demographics and geographies, it is the default mode of communication. Customers should not have to change their conversational habits when interacting with brands and products. The smartphone is at the core of improving this experience, as many customers today value their experience just as much as the products themselves.
KMW: What do you expect to change in the next 5 years that will dramatically enhance CX and call center experiences for customers?
AJ: With mobile apps and web steadily becoming the primary interaction point between brands and customers, it will be critical for companies to optimize their support and call center with an in-app customer experience in mind. By keeping customers in the app rather than sending them to a toll-free phone number, and by using a fingerprint reader and facial recognition, support agents can securely and easily gather contextual data at no extra effort to the customer.