Change is a constant trend. Businesses are already changing at a relatively faster pace than it was expected. In the last few years, new trends have been emerging in customer service. Thanks to the ever-increasing customer expectations and digital transformation, customer expectations are evolving every day. Contact Centers are set to become the interaction hub of the digital enterprise as they become a powerful resource for finding out what customers think of companies, and for capturing sentiments, feedback needs and wants. This has enabled this industry to go through a paradigm shift than it had decades ago.
It’s an exciting time to operate a call center these days. Irrespective of the market a company operates in, there’s an unbelievably high chance that it is currently saturated with competition. Companies need customers for existence, sustenance, and growth of their business. Hence they rely on the call centers to understand how responsive the customers are, what their concerns are, and use competitive rates to lure them away from the business rivals. Call centers can help to improve and enhance the CX of brands, as customers are becoming key differentiators in the market world.
So, call centers must pay attention to the trends that emerge every year and look for indicators that can help to close their sales pitch or provide better solutions. Even companies looking for an edge to outrank their competitors must pay attention to these trends as the market landscape and customer expectation shift overnight, thus presenting new challenges and extraordinary opportunities. In this article, we have culled some trends expected to make a significant impact on the call center industry this year and beyond.
- Chatbots: Earlier, most of the call center executives perform tasks like the categorization of the queries or complaints and tagging them. Now, they shall be able to delegate these to AI-enabled chatbots. These chatbots would serve as the first point of contact for customers, with 24/7 engagement. Further, chatbots can assign the right queries to the concerned department and provide active real-time customer support.
- Omni-Channel Communication: It is a useful customer-centric tool through which brands can provide better contextual support to customers with a seamless and uniform experience across all channels such as desktop, mobile, phone, or in person. Being consumer-centric, it delivers extensive workforce optimization and enables agents to provide a more personalized experience to customers. It also allows agents to navigate through various strategic customer touchpoints across many channels so that customers don’t have to repeat the same information to different call center agents.
- KPIs: Gone are the days when Average Handle Time and Cost per Call were used as metrics to rank services. Now, when qualitative customer experience is the topmost priority, call centers are switching to First Call Resolution, Customer Satisfaction, and the newly started Agent Satisfaction metrics. All these can help assess how excellent the services which are being delivered are.
- Cloud Solutions: Cloud deployment has been a much-awaited technology trend in this industry. It gives the call center flexibility and scalability with effective communication tools and enhanced mobility. Therefore, moving the team to the cloud will take center stage and help companies solve the issues of time-to-market, customer engagement, turnaround, and much more. Plus, it does not require much on-site infrastructure, allows easy integration with other cloud solutions, and saves operational cost. It also encourages businesses to build a remote workforce to support clients anytime, anywhere. Nearly two-thirds of the service providers are expected to implement cloud solutions by the end of 2020.
- Social Media Engagement: Social media presence has become a crucial touchpoint for both brands and customers. One in every three users prefers using social media when reaching out to a brand or business for customer service, according to Smart Insights. Call centers can help in updating brand pages and educating the customers about the services/products, thereby taking the brand exposure to the next level.
- Recall Technology: Also known as On Second Thoughts (OST) technology; this feature allows aborting messages, resolving errors, or any form of miss information. Brands are using this technology in call centers to screen inaccurate or unwanted communications and maintain accuracy in every conversation. Besides, it will provide direct help to the agents without interrupting their core works nor disrupts customer service experience.
- Co-Browsing: This allows agents to address customer’s queries in the first contact attempt. Co-browsing improves the First call resolution rate, reduces instances of multiple call back times, call transfers, or hand over to a call center supervisor to fix customer issues. It also diagnoses the root cause of why customers end up contacting call centers frequently and use that information to fix specific problems at the source.
- Live Engagement: The success and effectiveness of call center services can be defined in terms of fast response, knowledgeable service agents, and a quick resolution. Sometimes, customer issues are not resolved due to a lack of real-time communication. Through live engagement tools like live chat, video chat, and co-browsing, call centers can provide proactive responses and faster resolutions to customers. Further, speedier support enables agents to handle more conversations effectively that augments their productivity. It also increases conversation rates and reduces response time.
- Analytics: Both brands and call centers are increasingly using analytics to identify the problem points and enhance their services. Through call center analytics, average handling time, first call resolution, agent idle time, and others can be studied. Using speech analytics, agents can monitor the calls, improve the process, streamline your contact center operations, and create a customized sales script based on the customer responses. Through sentiment analysis, they can get feedback on the services offered.