CX Spotlight by Fifth Quadrant

The Present and Future of the Contact Centre with Avaya’s Peter Chidiac

Global digital communications leader Avaya announced on Tuesday that it has been selected for a five-year contract by the Australian Department of Defence (ADoD) as the contact centre technology provider. 

In a statement, Avaya said that the ADoD will migrate and consolidate its 14 contact centres, comprising more than 650 personnel and servicing over 40 lines of business, exclusively to the Avaya omni-channel platform. 

Avaya said the ADoD will benefit from a unified communications channel with expanded automation and analytics capabilities and combined data sets that deliver a more personalised customer experience (CX). 

“The migration to a centralised environment for each of its contact centres creates the opportunity for Defence to get closer to its ‘customers’ – whether they are employees across its various departments or external parties – than ever before,” Avaya’s Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand Peter Chidiac said. 

To find out more about Avaya’s contact centre offering and the future of the contact centre, Fifth Quadrant interviewed Peter. 

Fifth Quadrant: Walk me through how a customer journey using Avaya technology might differ from a competitor. 

Peter Chidiac: Our platform allows for multiple channels to be utilised and (more) importantly to be combined so that the customer journey is tracked, customised and personalised. 

If an interaction does move through automation to an agent, then that customer journey needs to be provided to the agent, so the agent knows and can anticipate what the journey was and what the customer may or may not want.  

For example, if they are coming from a chatbot and they get stuck or need more information, then all of that conversation will be in front of the agent. So that the agent has context and they can continue the conversation in the right environment.  

Fifth Quadrant: So automation takes care of a lot, and higher level tasks get handed to human agents. 

Peter Chidiac: The good news about the automation these days is that it is quite clever and using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning it can handle quite a lot of reasonably complex enquiries.  

But I also believe that people often need a human touch either for reassurance or security or whatever it may be. Whatever their journey has been, whether they have been on the web or through an IVR (interactive voice response) using natural language speech recognition or through a chatbot, that whole journey needs to be contextualised and presented to the agent. So at least the agent knows, “OK, you have been talking to our chatbot, or on our website, how can we help you?” 

Fifth Quadrant: So we have a situation where machines are augmenting rather than replacing human capital? 

Peter Chidiac: I would agree with that. 

Fifth Quadrant: Tell me more about the omni-channel. 

Peter Chidiac: Companies don’t always use all of the aspects of the omni-channel environment because it is sometimes difficult to integrate web services with the omni-channel contact centre platform. We’re finding more and more it’s used in applications, chatbots and natural language IVR. So a lot of people come in, use chatbots, IVRs and the context is then transferred and integrated with other channels.  

Fifth Quadrant: And how do combined data sets improve personalisation? 

Peter Chidiac: Customer data is one of the most important assets that an organisation can have these days.  

We’re finding that customer data is being generated from multiple sources, whether it is your CRM (customer relationship management) system or the customer journey. The aggregation of that data can then be mined so that it can make customer experiences more personalised. 

To give you a vehicle analogy, the data is the fuel, the automation is the engine and the car is the whole experience. The data is really important because it gives you insights which allow you to predict behaviours in the future. 

If we notice that you call quite frequently about a certain subject or a certain transaction, we may now anticipate you in the future and push that information to you before you even contact us. 

Fifth Quadrant: And how much data do you have about a given person, besides the time and content of a call? 

Peter Chidiac: Depending on how your CRM is integrated into those automation environments, you have personal information and you have other information about that caller. So you can match all of that with behaviours - you can provide people with information before they have to call. The data we have is transactional and interaction data, and then we can combine that with personal data to make it more relevant. 

Fifth Quadrant: Just on personal data, would that be something you get from publicly available records or from somewhere else? 

Peter Chidiac: It is in the organisation. So if I am calling a bank, they know my bank account details and date of birth, for example. The personal data we are talking about is something you give the company access to when you are interacting.  

Fifth Quadrant: To wrap up, do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share? 

Peter Chidiac: We are in the era of the customer. It is important that organisations focus on employee experience (EX) as well as customer experience (CX). So the conversation that you have internally with your people needs to be the same conversations you have with your customers. That way, when they interact they speak the same language and understand the same products and solutions. 

In part two, we chatted with Peter a bit more about analytics and automation and specifically drilled further into AI and machine learning and what all of it means for improved Customer Experience and just as importantly, Employee Experience. 

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
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Stefan Kostarelis

Written by Stefan Kostarelis

Stefan is the Content Manager at a Sydney-based investor relations firm, and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Techly, Paste Magazine, Lost at E Minor and Tech Invest.

Topics: CX Articles & Insights

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