Laurent Philonenko is the CEO of Servion Global Solutions, a leader in customer experience and contact centers.
Low-code and no-code development platforms have been around for some time but are now starting to pick up, particularly driven by a surge in remote development during the Covid-19 pandemic. Gartner, Inc. predicts (via CRN) that 65% of application development will be low-code by 2024, with “75% of large enterprises … using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.”
From education to financial services to sales, we have seen low-code and no-code development platforms used across several segments to replace traditional enterprise software and productivity tools. As we look to the future of customer and employee experience, how can low-code and no-code development platforms be used within the contact center to improve service and productivity while reducing costs?
A Brief Explanation Of Low-Code/No-Code
Low-code and no-code development platforms imply exactly what they offer: the promise of low code (meaning coding is still required but with the promise of being extremely simple) or no code for software development. With low-code or no-code, software development can be just as easy as using applications like Microsoft Excel or Power Apps so that the average business user (aka a “citizen developer”) can move projects forward without the extra cost (in both money and time) of an engineering team.
By using low-code and no-code development platforms, organizations can accelerate digital innovation and transformation, reduce IT backlog and increase responsiveness, reduce dependency on hard-to-hire technical skills, protect against technology churn and enable citizen developers to step up and improve internal processes.
Using Low-Code/No-Code In The Contact Center
Beyond standard use cases, CRM, customer experience and contact center applications can use low-code and no-code to achieve more velocity with newer tools. Organizations can use low-code and no-code development tools to support sophisticated applications, integrate with other systems via advanced APIs, generate web and mobile experiences simultaneously, provide analytics and make changes on the fly — all with the benefits of SaaS platforms. In the process, they can cut development time drastically from days instead of weeks or weeks instead of months and bring easy customization to the contact center that meets evolving customer, employee and market needs.
Here’s how companies can get on board with low-code and no-code within the contact center:
• Voice response menu trees. Graphical user interfaces allow for the creation of trees and prompts. (“Press or say ‘1’ for this. Press or say ‘2’ for that.”)
• Call routing. Drag-and-drop actions and conditions editors allow for the fast creation of call routing strategies, including queue selection, transfers and so forth.
• Bots. Many chat and voice bot platforms allow for the rapid creation of dialogs.
• Mobile app. Low-code/no-code platforms extend to mobile and help cut development time.
• Process and task automation. Leading process automation platforms offer a visual editor that is simple enough for end users to develop certain workflows. For example, based on a call disposition, a customer workflow including CRM updates can be launched.
To help agents and supervisors, organizations can implement intuitive forms and workflows that make navigation more accessible, automate repetitive tasks, generate reports that do not require specialist intervention and retain the flexibility to accommodate new customer service initiatives. Of course, the ability to quickly test new ideas can also add value.
Succeeding With Low-Code/No-Code In The Contact Center
Low-code and no-code development platforms are touted for their simplicity, but just like anything else, they require some considerations for success. Here are two things to keep in mind:
1. The promise of the simplicity of low-code/no-code is not always so simple for every user. Low-code development platforms may require users to navigate more than plain spreadsheets and not-so-basic websites, which can leave them struggling or disappointed. Some of these tools may not be exactly user-friendly and may even require advanced knowledge or coding on closer inspection. When this is the case, end users are unlikely to find it possible or practical to avoid IT involvement.
2. Applications are only as good as the data they get, and getting the right data at the right time can be a big challenge. A contact center uses two kinds of data: the data it generates — which includes structured data like the number of calls, wait times, transactions and abandoned calls — and unstructured data like customer sentiment or call topics detected by speech analytics. There are also enterprise data such as customer interaction history, account balances, orders and more. In an ideal world, all this data would be cleanly organized, always synchronized and appropriately available to contact center agents so they can efficiently respond to and even anticipate customer needs. When the stars are aligned, the power of low-code and no-code platforms can drive desired levels of efficiency and speed.
In the very near future, we should see more customer experience and contact center organizations turning to low-code and no-code platforms to drive agility and competitive differentiation. For all we know, it may well be the next IT revolution impacting the customer experience.