What happens to a business or brand that can’t react to a changing model or environment? History is littered with former market leaders that stopped innovating, fell short of customer expectations and became obsolete.

With mounting pressure to reduce costs and increase efficiencies, standing still feels easier than clearing hurdles to move ahead. But customers never stop moving, and the pace of innovation only accelerates. It's not good enough for brands to walk hand in hand with customers. They need to be comfortably out ahead.

CMSWire spoke with Sprinklr CEO and Founder Ragy Thomas to learn how shifting from outdated legacy systems to a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) model can help brands serve customers more effectively and maintain relevance. As background, Sprinklr is a provider of enterprise software for unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM).

CMSWire: How have contact centers evolved, and what steps do they still have to take?

Ragy Thomas: Previously, contact centers were very much centered around voice, and any software was entirely an on-premise solution. Although many companies made massive investments to serve thousands of customer service agents, the systems were complex and expensive and many enterprise companies are still stuck with these core systems.

In the early to mid 2000’s, the first virtual contact centers emerged. Cloud-based alternatives to traditional, on-premise solutions marked a new era for contact centers. However, these systems were still using voice as the central call-center technology. Even today, many still consider a voice-first approach.

Many companies have made the shift from on-premise to cloud solution support, which offers cost savings, better interfaces and more access to data for agents. But what does that mean for customers? Antiquated voiced-based systems with automated menus haven’t changed our experience much. With customers becoming more selective about who they do business with, poor service can stand in the way of growth and break a brand’s reputation and bottom line.

CMSWire: Why is it so important for businesses to be able to identify and act on trends in customer behavior?

Thomas: Customers are the heart of any successful business. Yet, nowhere is the stagnation of enterprise technology more evident than how we service and support them. Enterprise businesses must grapple with a world where customers share everything they think, feel and know about brands. Executive reputation. leadership styles, products, services, ratings and reviews are all fair game for public online discussion.

For too many organizations, this type of feedback isn’t being shared with the agents who are serving customers daily. Agents are in the dark, only relying on inbound customer calls or emails.

The evolution from “legacy” to “leading” requires more than just offering a website bot for support. You need dynamic, customized AI, guided workflows and an ability to preserve the context of conversations from every digital channel so you can serve customers better.

CMSWire: What does the next generation of customer service look like?

Thomas: It’s a fundamentally and radically different experience, one that provides benefits to both the business and the customer.

Learning Opportunities

Next-generation CCaaS solutions don’t wait for a customer inbound call. The new model for customer service shifts from being reactive to being proactive. Why wait for complaints or a crisis? With customers sharing petabytes of publicly available data every day, brands can tap into insights about what their customers think, want and need.

Contact centers fueled by insights activate a very different model for service and dramatically improve that experience for customers. Every one-star review can become a prioritized ticket to resolve. Every mean tweet becomes an opportunity to create an advocate. Every outreach becomes an opportunity to sell.

Dynamic AI sits at the heart of a leading contact center. It powers forward-thinking brands to proactively listen for relevant conversations, and distill and quickly analyze massive volumes of data and insights to engage with customers on the digital channels of their choice.

CMSWire: How can technology create greater efficiencies for contact centers in the digital age?

Thomas: For today’s consumer, the best service is no service. Proactive listening and insights inform product development, marketing and sales to address common pain points and eliminate the need for service at all.

The second best service is findable, self-service help or virtual agents. AI can provide answers to common issues and smart responses via a bot or self-service FAQ. Customers are often happy to help themselves or engage with technology, if you can make that interaction painless.

When a customer really does need agent support, brands should be ready. A phone call may indicate a particularly difficult issue or very frustrated customer. Having a system that captures and preserves the context from any previous interactions and makes that context readily available helps an agent move forward with the best resolution.

Discover why Sprinklr is the perfect partner to enhance your customer experience at sprinklr.com.