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Human-Tech collaboration: Higher quality services at lower cost Insights about key customer satisfaction drivers when interacting with contact centres

Rena Baba Director - ExperienceLab Middle East
  • Relying on user-centred technology to create seamless journeys

  • Key quantitative metrics contact centres need to track to ensure a great customer experience

  • The importance of qualitative research in uncovering insights to help influence user’s behaviour in adopting new channels


Many public and private-sector companies still rely on contact centres as the primary method of communication between businesses and customers. It should come as no surprise that customer satisfaction is the primary goal of all contact centres, and numerous companies are constantly seeking to apply user-centered technologies to provide smooth customer experiences. Customer satisfaction centres is influenced by a number of factors, including communication, time management, trust, promptness, professionalism, and problem-solving skills. In this article we will explore how technology, such as conversational AI and chatbots, enables contact centres to deliver services at greater quality and lower costs.

ExperienceLab conducted research with some contact centres in the Middle East to understand the factors that have the biggest impact on customers’ experiences. The team identified that waiting time, consistency of the experience, and the agents’ professional attitude have the biggest impact on their experience. For contact centres, hitting targets whilst consistently satisfying customers is an increasingly common challenge. Some challenges result from the agents’ ability to simply retain necessary information and operate on multiple legacy systems rather than one modern one to provide a resolution in a timely manner. As a result, performance can sometimes be lower than expected when it comes to metrics such as waiting time and average handling time.

In these situations, there is a critical need to find a sustainable solution, as just increasing headcount in to address customers’ frustrations such as waiting time might not be financially viable. It is in opportunities like these where Serco’s ExperienceLab finds introducing technology such as Conversational AI very effective.
Conversational AI is a type of artificial intelligence that derives data from human speech, both written and verbal. In a nutshell, it's a solution that helps systems "understand" and organise data in a way that insight can be extracted from it without manual work from the agents.

This data can then be used to assist contact centre agents as they assist the customers. The goal is to improve the customer experience and relieve human agents of the time and energy spent on repetitive and mundane requests. The technology can assist customer support agents to be more productive and have engaging and personally satisfying conversations. While the technology isn’t a replacement for human agents, it does help increase efficiency and take low-hanging fruit—like answering frequently asked questions—off the plates of customer service teams. 

According to Forrester, 3 out of 4 customers agree that valuing their time is the most important thing to them, and this directly impacts their loyalty to a company or brand. However, we learnt from our clients in the Middle East that they are still facing challenges in getting their customers onboard with using modern technologies and adopting digital channels such as chatbots or voicebots.

We find that sticking with the tried-and-true methods is a natural human behavior because it is a more comfortable way for users to avoid uncertainties, even if the new alternative might save them some time. That is why it is critical to monitor how customer experience is impacted by conversational AI. Businesses should set up analytics and monitor a few technology health metrics as soon as the technology is operational in order to quickly implement corrective measures on the elements that can boost consumer adoption and happiness. There is a significant risk in adding technology features and channels without looking at existing data and insights on how customers behave when using various channels.


Some of the quantitative metrics contact centres need to monitor are listed below:

  1. Total number of people who have used your virtual agent (or new channels)

  1. The percentage of users who got correct answers to their queries

  1. Drop-off rate

  1. Drop-off place

  2. Completion rate

quantative Metrics

In addition to the quantitative assessment, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of customers’ needs and pain points to make value-driven decisions when enhancing different channels across the range of services. Especially when customers’ adoption of certain channels did not reach the desired levels. Serco’s ExperienceLab guides this process and offers a diagnostic service using a design sprint approach.

The goal of this process is to uncover insights around both the user experience and the existing technology ecosystem.

We explore the specific challenges experienced by customers when interacting with different services and the technology that supports each channel. We collaboratively work with our clients to define the specific challenges that were identified from our research. We then generate a range of ideas to address customers’ pain points and build low-fidelity versions of the ideas to be tested. We then engage real customers to test these ideas so that we can make final recommendations on the best course of action to exceed customers’ expectations and drive the desired behaviour using different services and channels.

Director - ExperienceLab Middle East Rena Baba

Rena is the Director of the Middle East branch of ExperienceLab, a Serco company focused on the research, development and continual improvement of customer experience across services.