Blog/Contact Center/What makes a digital contact center?

Let’s turn the clocks way, way back to see how far CX has come, where the future of digital contact centers is headed, and what makes a truly digital contact center. 

From analog to digital

In the 1960s, customers relied on switchboard operators to direct their calls. There were no phone trees to navigate yourself, and no way to switch from a call to a context-rich digital self-serve experience. The smartphone, and virtually every other channel we rely on, hadn’t been invented yet. There was just the operator to guide you from point A to point B.

When a customer called in, they were greeted by a switchboard operator who would ask who they were trying to reach and then patch that call through to the right destination using analog cables placed into the right port on a switchboard. This was the literal opposite of digital CX — it was all analog and all done manually. 

Back to the future of digital contact centers 

Today, modern companies use more efficient, automated processes to guide their customers’ calls and a whole lot more. Still, they face a tremendous challenge of balancing contact center budgets, choosing the right technology, and ensuring their customers have a seamless experience. 

Customers today rely on a whole host of channels to contact their favorite companies — from Facebook Messenger, to email, to live chat, to self-serve flows. If we still relied on 1960s switchboard operators today, their switchboards would look quite different and infinitely more complex. They’d have to figure out how to connect a customer reaching out on one channel, like email, to a customer service agent on a call, all without losing the context of that initial message from the customer. And, they’d have to pass that context along to an agent before they even pick up the phone. After the call is over, they’d have to store the important notes from the call somewhere, too. It’s a lot to ask of any one person. But, it’s not too much to ask of your contact center. 

While our old-school analog model wasn’t equipped to handle such complex and impactful CX flows, digital contact centers are built to do just that. 

The promise of a digital contact center 

Many companies face a communication bottleneck that’s costing them a precious resource — CSAT. These companies might rely on their call center as a primary means of addressing their customers’ inquiries, issues, and questions. The platform those companies are using might only be equipped to handle calls as opposed to being omnichannel-ready. This creates a bottleneck and leads to high call volumes and long wait times for customers trying to get a hold of an available agent. All that time spent waiting adds up in cost while also eroding customer satisfaction and customer trust. That’s what separates a call center from a digital contact center. 

Now, digital CX tools like Airkit can help companies embrace all of the channels their customers use to contact them, while cutting down on costs and increasing CSAT. Airkit connects channels together so you have a comprehensive view of your customer’s journey. Instead of looking at individual channels in a silo piecing together that invaluable customer context and data together, Airkit does that for you in an automated, efficient way. With valuable data at your fingertips on an intuitive, iterable platform, you can continuously improve your customers’ journey. 

For example, instead of making a customer wait on hold to check on the status of their insurance claim, you can build digital self-serve flows into your digital contact center to route traffic away from calls and towards self-serve experiences. With the press of a button, the customer can be sent a link via text or email so they can get the updated information they’re looking for faster. 

Using flexible, powerful tools like Airkit, companies like MetLife and others have been able to save their customers’ time while saving money. MetLife operates at an incredible degree of scale with over 90 million customers across 60 countries. When they wanted to make the way their customers complete their Statement of Health form more efficient, scalable, and enjoyable, they turned to Airkit.

After digitizing their SOH form flow using Airkit, MetLife saw a drastic impact. Four out of five applicants reported being satisfied or highly satisfied with the new experience. And, nearly 99% of MetLife’s employees completed the SOH forms in the new digital environment as opposed to the previous analog, paper experience. This showed a clear preference for MetLife’s new digitized SOH flow. This digitization improved completion results, boosting SOH completion rates by 50%. 

What’s clear today is that the more companies embrace the flexibility and power of digital platforms, the better they can serve their customers and deliver on their preferences. So, if your contact center is running more like a switchboard, and less like a modern digital contact center, we’re happy to help you get on the right side of history. Reach out to us, and talk to an expert today.

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