Contact centers represent in the minds of customers a company’s commitment to them.
The question is not whether companies should build strong, effective contact centers, but how best to do that.
Six contact center trends, including migration to the cloud and artificial intelligence, will be difference-makers among call centers that succeed in creating great customer experiences.
Contact centers are more than places where customers call to vent problems and, hopefully, get them resolved. They are the faces of their companies and the ambassadors of their brand. They represent, in the minds of customers, a company’s commitment to them. And not only to sell products or services but to ensure customers matter.
A Contact Center is a Company's Soul
Modern companies are recognizing what customers have sensed all along—customer service represents the heart and soul of a company. When customers find companies with weak hearts or absent souls, the data shows: They walk.
Now, with so many agents caught in the midst of the maddening peak season, the question is not whether companies should build strong, effective contact centers. Instead, the question is how best to do that. Companies that think differently will not survive long in the new marketplace. Effective contact centers are not just about satisfying customers after the sale. They are also about providing the information that helps ensure calls to contact centers don’t need to be made in the first place.
More and more, contact centers are not just places where agents field calls but are the centers of companies themselves. Contact centers are where problems are solved not only on the back end of a sale but before they even develop.
Contact Center Trends
Modern contact centers are transforming the global marketplace. So, companies planning to be at the top of their respective industries know it is essential to be at the forefront of contact center trends entering a new year. Six of those contact center trends will be difference-makers:
Flying to the Cloud. That contact centers are steadily migrating to the Cloud is not simply an assertion. It is a fact. The cloud-based contact center market was valued at $9 billion last year. By 2024, the market will nearly quadruple to $33.296 billion. The drivers of this growth are myriad. Cloud contact centers are more efficient, scalable, and flexible. They not only save companies money, but they also make contact centers technologically stronger and more efficient. The numbers show companies are seeing the benefits and are responding.
AI Gets Sentimental. The capabilities of artificial intelligence, or AI, are racing ahead at breakneck speed. The latest advances are fueled by natural language processing, or NLP. Using NLP, AI now is capable of sentiment analysis, tracking keywords and monitoring callers’ tone of voice and volume. This develops a fuller picture of customers’ needs and sense of urgency. When distress levels are high, calls can be routed to the agent best able to manage that customer’s problem.
Chatbots Find Their Niche. In the early stages of the technological revolution, chatbots have suffered from being misunderstood by companies and by customers. Some people inside the world of customer service viewed chatbots as a potential cheap cure for every customer ill. Customers viewed chatbots as an annoying form of avoidance by companies blocking consumers from in-the-flesh human beings. Voice-led interactions are giving life to an evolution of chatbots and establishing their value on the front lines of customer service. Chatbots are not a cheap cure, but they have a place in the process.
Analytics Take Center Stage. Companies can know how they are performing, where they can improve, and when they are veering off in the wrong direction before that solidifies into a trend, all thanks to analytics. Reviewing key performance indicators through analytics is not only about identifying weaker performers but about finding what works and accentuating it. Analytics takes the guesswork out of decision-making, providing hard data to point the way.
Monitoring in Real Time. Technology can help spread the benefit of finding and correcting problems in the moment across the entirety of the contact center spectrum. Real-time call monitoring help supervisors track whether agents are following policies and procedures. It also can help flag a situation in which an agent needs help before matters escalate. Real-time call monitoring gives supervisors the information and tools needed to help agents improve.
Omnichannel is Everywhere. The prefix omni refers to being of all things, and that reference has many applications regarding contact center trends. Omnichannel communication opens avenues for customers and unifies touchpoints so that agents do not require the same stories to be repeated. Businesses that use omnichannel communication retain customers at a rate of nearly nine in 10. Omni also applies to omnicloud, referring to companies increasing their cloud reliance from multiple to all platforms.