As part of our ongoing customer care executive interview series, we sat down with Frank Sherlock, VP International at CallMiner, to talk about its latest solutions, Brexit, AI, industry trends and what we can expect from 2019 and beyond…
Tell us about your company, products and services.
CallMiner empowers organisations of any size to extract and act on intelligence from customer interactions for improving customer experience, sales, marketing, and compliance, as well as agent and customer engagement centre performance. We have been honoured with multiple customer achievement awards, including Call Centre Helper’s Top 10 Contact Centre Technology and Credit Collection and Risk Best Use of Technology. CallMiner was also recently named a leader in the industry analyst report Forrester New Wave: AI-Fueled Speech Analytics Solutions, Q2 2018.
What have been the biggest challenges the Contact Centre/Customer Services industry has faced over the past 12 months?
Uncertainty of investments as Brexit rolled on (and on), confusion on AI, machine learning and the new tech jargon and hype, and explaining that data is needed to do any analysis with AI. The challenge from the Exec level to both CX and Call Centre to deliver aligned reporting on the true engagement experience. The hunger for ‘The Business’ to understand the complete Customer Journey whilst feedback apathy continues to increase
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
WFM, WFO, knowledge management and speech analytics systems to improve and focus coaching and performance to the people who really make a CX difference – the contact centre supervisors and agents. Those that can effectively capture and use data in a quick and efficient manner will win – others will get left behind.
What is the biggest priority for the Contact Centre/Customer Services industry in 2019?
Meeting the omni-channel challenge and the shift in consumer contact points and managing and improving the CX.
What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2019?
More adoption of analytics, data is a key battleground and source of knowledge on CX, analysing data at scale on all touchpoints will be needed. AI will become more commonplace – it’s already happening with Speech Analytics, Knowledge Management, Biometrics and chatbots, so I expect we will see some integration or at least AI collaboration, analytics helping inform KM systems, Biometrics managing intelligent call steering and speech analytics training chatbots!
What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
Omni-channel analytics – speech, web, email, social – and more adoption of real-time conversational analytics. The other area that I think will really take off is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as the transformation of the front office extends to the back office of contact centres.
In 2021 we’ll all be talking about…?
When is AI arriving?! Seriously though, we will be talking about the volume of transactions with organisations continuing to grow, the successful automation of transactional touch points and the demands placed on our human agents with ever more complex interactions.
Which person in, or associated with, the Contact Centre/Customer Services industry would you most like to meet?
Probably any of the leaders of organisations that supply me with services from broadband, to financial services, to energy – we have so much to improve and I am not sure the leaders always relate to the actual experience a user has when there is a problem or a complaint. I recently had issues with broadband, train and energy and I found the experiences so depressing and frustrating.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Contact Centre/Customer Services sector?
The constant changes of people, processes, regulations, products and technology that the industry faces. It is probably the most dynamic sector of any in the economy.
You go to the bar at the Call Centre Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
Good day, vodka and Coke. Bad day, several beers!
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Change – every day is different.
And what’s the most challenging?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
You can only ever give your best, it is the maximum you can give. It may not be enough, but if you look in the mirror and say you gave it your best, win, lose or draw, you could not have given more.
Peaky Blinders or The Crown?
Peaky Blinders, of course.