We’ve seen a lot of changes to the call center and customer experience landscape over the years, from cloud communications and virtual agents to more strategic thinking around analytics, more flexible social media interactions, and innovative ways to involve artificial intelligence. And when the pandemic pushed businesses to modernize their business communications overnight, we’ve seen even more shifts in how businesses meet the evolving needs of both customers and their employees.
Here are nine technology trends that are helping companies deliver the best quality customer experience. See how far your business has come in building customer relationships that last — or which of these trends may need to be on this year’s to-do list.
1. Artificial Intelligence
As early adopters continue honing AI applications for call routing, we expect to see more connections forged between various media channels and streamlined call center response.
2. Digital Transformation
A forward-looking digital transformation strategy is going to be essential for business competitiveness. And it’s not just about using the right channels to interact with customers where they are; the smartest businesses are integrating technologies to provide full customer context with each interaction and leveraging system data to provide proactive service.
3. Better Contact Center Analytics
Gone are the days of relying on supervisor skills and know-how to get the most out of contact center agents. Now, even smaller businesses are taking advantage of sophisticated analytics to turn data – like call and screen recordings, chats, SMS messages, and more – into useful feedback for their agents. We expect more advancements in analytics as companies continue to implement more unified communications platforms and strategies.
4. Omnichannel Communications
More businesses are recognizing that while a customer journey may begin on one channel, valuable insight and feedback from the customer can be gained on a completely different channel. Responsive businesses are using this trend to create a superb customer experience by unifying communications across channels into one stream. This helps their customers by connecting them with an agent who knows their purchase and service history and provides valuable context. Most importantly, the two-way conversation is public on a social media platform, so other customers can see how the business solved the problem.
5. Cloud Communications
Many businesses have already adopted cloud communications as part of their communications strategies, but cloud communications have become particularly important for contact centers. The steady increase in remote call agents has made cloud communications a necessity for businesses who want to take advantage of seamless team communications and collaboration. With cloud communications, traditional office-based contact centers can take on new locations, and grow and contract workforces as market needs demand.
6. Employee Engagement
Just as customer expectations have evolved in the last few years, so have the expectations of the employees that make quality customer experience possible. And dissatisfaction in the work environment and culture has led to high agent attrition in the contact center space and beyond. Businesses that want to remain competitive will provide their employees with the culture and technology that empowers an efficient, productive, and flexible workforce.
7. Flexible Working Options
Lower overhead, time zone flexibility, and variable working hours have made remote contact center workers a stable trend in 2022. With constantly improving unified communications, remote workers have become a permanent and beneficial part of the contact center environment. By using collaboration tools, contact center agents can be mobile, with access to real-time analytics and customer context.
8. AI-Powered Self-Service Tools
The high priority on process improvement and self-service since the pandemic has addressed the issue of increasing workload for contact center agents, as well as the difficulties around achieving the desired service levels or Average Speed of Answer (ASA). Giving customers information quickly helps reduce call volumes, and easy-to-navigate FAQs help narrow down calls to those with sufficiently complex issues. Quick access to self-serve solutions also provides an emotional benefit to customers (that DIY-fix high!) and reduces overall call times.
9. SMB’s Leveraging All Employees to Support Customers
SMBs are extending traditional contact center agent desktop features to employees that work outside of the contact center to supplement customer-facing employees. Blended UC/CC solutions that bring customer and employee experiences together into a single user experience tear down the silos between traditional contact center agents and the rest of the organization.
If you need more help determining how to apply these trends to your call center, TCI’s local experts are here to help. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.