The way in which companies think about their contact centres is changing. Once only thought of as a cost of doing business, contact centers have become a significant competitive advantage for companies when it comes to providing a superior customer experience. In fact, 96% of people surveyed by Microsoft said customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand1, while 81% of companies in another survey said customer experience is a key competitive differentiator with loyalty and increased revenue the top two benefits2.
With so many customers preferring to engage with brands that offer great customer service experiences, keeping on top of the latest contact centre trends could have a direct impact on your sales and business growth. Taking advantage of contact centre trends will enable you to serve your customers better while building a more productive and efficient contact centre environment for your team. Here are some of the top contact centre technology trends and how they’re redefining the contact centre experience from both a customer and operational perspective.
Contact centre trends designed to boost the customer experience
Contact centres have come a long way since their inception. Today, they are more than just a platform for handling customer queries and complaints. In fact, contact centres are now considered to be an integral part of a company's customer experience strategy. To help you stay ahead of the curve, here are the top contact centre trends designed to boost the customer experience:
- Artificial intelligence (AI): With advancements in AI technology, contact centres can now automate a range of tasks, from routing calls to chatbots that can handle basic queries. AI-powered chatbots can provide quick and accurate responses to common questions, freeing up agents to focus on more complex issues. AI can also help improve the accuracy of call routing, ensuring that customers are directed to the right agent with the right skills to resolve their issues.
- Digital channels: Customers today expect to be able to contact companies through a range of digital channels, including social media, email and live chat. Contact centres need to be equipped to handle these channels effectively, providing a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints. This means investing in the right technology and training agents to handle customer interactions on these channels.
- Building an omnichannel environment: While offering multiple channels is important, it's equally important to ensure that these channels are integrated and work together seamlessly. An omnichannel environment allows customers to switch between channels without having to repeat themselves or start over. This requires a unified customer view, which can be achieved by integrating customer data across channels and touchpoints.
- Personalising the caller experience: Customers expect personalised experiences, and contact centres are no exception. By using customer data and insights, contact centres can provide a more personalised experience for each caller. This can include addressing the customer by name, understanding their history with the company and offering tailored conversation based on their preferences.
- Using social media: Social media has become a key channel for customer interactions. Companies need to be present on social media platforms and use them effectively to engage with customers, handle queries and complaints and build brand loyalty. Contact centres can play a key role in social media management, by monitoring social media channels and responding to customer queries in a timely manner.
- 24/7 support: Customers expect to be able to contact companies at any time, day or night. Offering 24/7 support can help build customer loyalty and differentiate a company from its competitors. Contact centres can provide round-the-clock support by offering self-service options, such as chatbots or IVR systems, and by ensuring that agents are available to handle calls at all times.
Contact centre trends driving productivity and operational efficiency
While customer experience is a top priority for contact centres, it's also important to ensure that operations are running smoothly and efficiently. Here are the top contact centre trends driving productivity and operational efficiency:
- Moving to the cloud: Cloud-based contact centres are becoming increasingly popular due to their flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness. By moving to the cloud, contact centres can reduce infrastructure costs, easily scale up or down to meet demand and access new features and capabilities more quickly.
- Transcription: Transcription technology can automatically transcribe calls into text, allowing agents to quickly review and respond to customer queries. This can save time and improve accuracy, as agents can refer to the transcription while on the call or follow up later.
- Refining call flows with analytics and reporting: Contact centres can improve their efficiency by analysing call flows and identifying areas for improvement. With the help of advanced analytics and reporting tools, contact centres can track key metrics such as average handling time, first call resolution and customer satisfaction, and use this data to refine call flows, reduce wait times and increase agent productivity.
- Automation and self-service: Automation and self-service tools can help contact centres handle routine tasks more efficiently. Chatbots and IVR systems can handle basic queries, freeing up agents to focus on more complex issues. Automating certain tasks can also improve accuracy and consistency, as well as reduce the risk of human error.
- Integration: Integrating contact centre systems with other business systems such as CRM tools, marketing automation and workforce management can help streamline operations and improve efficiency. This can enable agents to access customer data and history more easily, reducing the need for customers to repeat themselves and improving the overall customer experience.
The common trend: building for scalability and flexibility
One common trend across both customer experience and operational efficiency is the need for scalability and flexibility. Contact centres need to be able to adapt quickly to changing business needs, such as fluctuations in call volume or the need to add new channels. This requires flexible infrastructure that can be scaled up or down as needed and a workforce that can quickly adapt to new processes and technologies. By building for scalability and flexibility, contact centres can stay agile and responsive, ensuring that they are able to provide the best possible service to their customers while also maintaining operational efficiency.