“The ACE  solution proactively deflects calls from the call center to the digital assistant by focusing on customer intents.”

In the first blog in this series, John McNally talked about the evolution of the customer contact center and how Accenture’s new breakthrough innovation in digital customer engagement, Applied Customer Engagement (ACE) offering harnesses technologies such as artificial intelligence and natural language processing to take customer engagement to the next level.

Here I will discuss my recent experience as an Accenture client and how customer contact looks from the other side.

Before joining Accenture in September 2019, I spent 28 years working with Verizon Wireless, where where I was involved in the launches of social, chat and digital technologies within the contact center. For the last two years of that time, I worked with Accenture on Verizon’s implementation of ACE.

In all my time at Verizon Wireless, we were always focused on improving the customer experience and the business outcome.  We went from call centers staffed exclusively by humans to an integrated voice and digital experience.

In the early days of digital, customers sometimes found themselves trapped in a digital loop, bouncing from one response to another. The experience was framed as “ask and answer”, with customers getting answers to specific questions, but not getting real interactive help.  As a result, many customers abandoned the process before finishing what they wanted to do – and picked up the phone and called. Digital support channels were not integrated with any other engagements the customer may have previously had prior. 

Unlike AI tools designed to execute transactions, the ACE solution proactively deflects calls from the call center to the digital assistant by focusing on customer intents. The technology allowed us to accomplish key objectives, including resolving customer inquiries quickly and efficiently by providing an engaging, personalized experience.

From my perspective, the main attributes of the Accenture team and their solution was:

  1. Being able to implement a proven operating model focused on delivering omni-channel experiences at scale
  2. Offering a “platform vendor agnostic” approach not wedded to any specific technology, provided it was a) effective; b) cost-efficient; and c) readily scalable
  3. A willingness to embed themselves with our in-house team and to work day and night to realize our agreed objectives
  4. Taking budgets and deadlines seriously and delivering results as promised
  5. Starting on smaller, readily definable projects, absorbing those learnings and moving quickly to bigger challenges
  6. Imparting the expertise needed to keep things running smoothly after the implementation phase was over

Working with Accenture as a client was a great experience for me. Now, as a Managing Director at Accenture, I’m enjoying working with other companies to use ACE to align customer engagement with overall strategic and operational objectives. My ability to view situations through the lens of the client and understand the obstacles large organizations face in improving client interactions helps us tailor our resources to solve these issues.

In the next blog in this series, we will be talking in more detail about ACE and its innovative use of AI to strengthen customer engagement.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss ACE or anything related to customer engagement.

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