Joonas Suoranta On: Customer Service Automation Trends 2021
Joonas Suoranta explains how customer service automation is designed to enrich the customer service experience without replacing the human touch.
In our interview with Customer Success expert Joonas Suoranta, we learn about the unique role automation and Natural Language Processing plays in ensuring customer satisfaction by allowing the customer service agent to focus on complex tasks that require the human touch. This interview is an extract from our full interview with Joonas for our Navigating Customer Service 2021 Guide.
Can you talk about what makes IVAs different and next generation, and particularly valuable as a customer service tool?
Joonas: I think in general, when you think about the chatbot experience, it's kind of like, you have something on the corner of your website, some kind of an automation, reply--replying on the basic questions that come in, that they're super static, that the replies, they're kind of like, giving you the [most] basic information.
But when we're talking about IVAs, the difference is that they actually resolve your queries. It does something else than just, you know, giving you the basic static reply. it actually gives you meaningful answers just for you.
So not just, you know, giving a super generic, you know, FAQ link or something like that, but actually understanding what the query is about, and then giving you a dynamic, personalized answer from the CRM--and using the CRM! I think it's super important [that IVAs] use the CRM, because they have a lot of information...that you can use to enrich the conversations.
What kind of advancements in NLP [Natural Language Processing] do you expect that we'll see in 2021? And how do you expect that these developments will affect customer service IVAs in particular?
Joonas: Obviously, a lot of things will happen. For the NLP as well. For example, contextual understanding is a big topic. I would imagine in the future, that's something that these automation solutions will be able to handle maybe 2021, maybe 2022.
But in general, I would still say that the NLP is important, [and] it's important that it scales to different languages. But what you do with the recognized question is far more important, and that's where the user will feel like hey, this solution is smart, like they can actually give a meaningful reply that is just for them. You know, Hey, where is my order, for example, and instead of giving a super static, you know, generic link to some self-service portal, actually, the IVA will ask, What is your order number?, and do a query, and based on the query return, the actual status of that order.
Statistics show that the modern contact center is already undergoing massive transformation. What do you think it's going to look like by the end of 2021?
Joonas: I think automation is here to stay, it's something that...will be a part of contact centers--it’s already part of contact centers. Those chatbots will not be the cure for contact centers, it's about actually being part of the customer journey actually being integrated deeply into the existing platform. And as I said, enriching the experience for the users.
Do you think that the concept that we know as a Contact Center today is going to be is going to even exist down the line?
Joonas: I think it's a kind of myth at this point that AI will replace humans. I don't see that happening anytime soon. I think it's super important [that] we have human touch when it comes to customer service. But I think, you know, the automation’s job is to make agents' lives easier, take tedious tasks out of the agents [hands], and then also enrich the agents' input that they get, but also the end users' input that they get.
Discover more of Joonas’ customer service predictions for 2021, as well as those from our other expert interviewees, in our Navigating Customer Service in 2021 trends guide. Grab your copy now
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