This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of CUSTOMER Magazine.
Outsourcing and consulting giant Infosys (News - Alert) recently took the wraps off a new solution called AssistEdge, which aims to improve the overall customer experience by addressing contact center agent productivity and integrating service-related activities across all channels.
Gopal Devanahalli, vice president of products, platforms and solutions at Infosys, explains that the product – which is aimed at telcos, high tech firms, and financial services companies – addresses customer pain points around multi-channel customer service, self service, the disparate internal systems required for customer service, expert overload, and cost.
While everybody likes to talk about multi-channel customer service, Devanahalli notes that in most instances, the cross-channel experience is not very good, especially from the customer standpoint, and particularly when customers start the process with self-service. AssistEdge aims to solve that by offering an integrated experience in which input data and accessed information follows customers across as many as eight channels.
Infosys explains that this context-passing capability captures and sequences the history of a customer’s interactions across such service channels as e-mail, chat, telephone, and Twitter (News - Alert). It then integrates the customer history from various enterprise systems. And then it presents all of the above to call center agents in a single window. That can allow for faster resolution for customers; encourage the use of self-service (which today is 30 percent); and enable companies to reduce their average call handling time by up to 50 percent, according to Infosys.
AssistEdge further improves self-help by making the process of interacting with a knowledge base more intuitive for the user, Infosys says. Rather than providing the same questions to all comers, AssistEdge tailors questions used in self-help inquiries for various scenarios, and the knowledge base is a living data store that gets updated over time to address new scenarios. Additionally, AssistEdge includes a loyalty system module that allows companies to award users with points for using self-service (as opposed to going through the contact center, a more expensive option for the company).
Devanahalli adds that contact center reps commonly have to log into multiple internal systems to address a customer request. In many cases, a single interaction requires the rep to tap into 12 to 15 applications, he says, and update each of those apps or systems with new information. Obviously, that’s not a very efficient process. So, to improve things, AssistEdge has a Smart User Environment module that allows the rep to see all the needed apps on a single screen, with the most important information displayed on the left side of the screen, and to enter information just once to populate multiple applications.
Another common pain point in customer service, according to Infosys, is that the experts to which the initial contact center reps forward specific inquiries often get overloaded by a multitude of inquiries. To help better distribute the load and prevent long wait times, AssistEdge routes queries only to experts available at that time, and experts can then initiate video chat or online chat interactions (more than one at a time, if desired) for fast resolution.
Cost is obviously another major concern related to customer service, which has traditionally been seen as a cost center. To help companies justify new investments in customer service, Devanahalli says Infosys delivers powerful analytics based on customer profile and other data like that from social media sites. That way, agents can make the best offers at the most optimal times, he says.
AssistEdge, which is available via license or as a cloud service, is typically implemented within three to six months. Return on investment, as result of lower call handling time, is slated for one year. Two large telcos, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. (BT (News - Alert) OpenRearch), are early users of AssistEdge.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi