Tomorrow’s Technology Today.
By Phil Kitchen, Director, the Contact Centre Panel
The Contact Centre industry has seen a lot of changes in recent years as a result of huge technological leaps. Social media, virtual agents, online chat and multi-channel communications are still changing how customer interactions take place. Better analytics continue to educate how we manage and deliver our services. Now we’re in summer 2018, it’s time to take a look at some of the most important trends in technology today and how they’re shaping our industry.
2018’s Biggest IT Innovations in Contact Centres – Our Top Six
The transforming effects of technological leaps are not limited to Contact Centres by any means. Some of the innovations listed here, plus many others, are changing businesses across the globe. Here we’ve chosen our Top 6 which are affecting our industry. If you’d like to talk more about these trends or any issues affecting your Contact Centre partners, contact us and we can help.
The greatest brands are recognising that customer experiences can be improved by investing in new technologies as well as training teams of skilled agents. Unavoidable churn in agent teams in the hotbeds of Call Centre cities, the decline in telephony as a contact method and the increasing need for 24-7 service all mean that technology is helping the successful brands to win, and everybody else needs to catch up.
- Chat Bots Are Taking Over. This isn’t a SkyNet dystopia, it’s a practical application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve the customer experience. For a majority of customer contacts, good use of AI should signpost solutions without involving human-to-human contact. This makes it much easier to provide always-on support, reducing salary costs. Vital for the future is your Contact Centre’s ability to seamlessly follow the customer journey from automated to human-based. When your customer interaction needs to be escalated to an agent, that agent should be passed all the information they need to resolve the enquiry without repetition.
- Self-Service Is Just As Good As Hand-Holding. What’s most important to your customer? Resolving the issue first time, as rated by 70% of customers in this piece of research. Customers increasingly are happy to fix their own issue, making organisations who offer self-service documentation, FAQs and forums more successful in achieving this key metric. By tracking your FAQs through your Contact Centre (across all channels) this documentation can be easily produced to solve most repeated issues without any need for costly interactions.
- Offer Integrated Two-Way Social Media. As explored in our last Blog post, issue resolution via Social channels gets a higher rate of satisfaction than many other channels. In 2018, around half of direct tweets to brands are still not acted upon. This means that the brands who are connecting their Customer Service teams to their social media accounts are winning the satisfaction game. It also makes them infinitely more likely to have customers who quickly share their positive experience with their own followers. So it’s important to consider how your Contact Centre can deal with these channels.
- Remote Agents Are On The Up. Practical, reliable and affordable cloud-based communications and systems have made remote workers a steady trend in many industries. Contact Centres are no exception. Reduced overheads, flexible working hours and teams across global time zones offer benefits for both employer and employee. With real-time analytics and customer information available, agents can deliver a complete service without being tied to a central location. Whether used for a flexible top-up resource, or to offer ‘out of hours’ service, or as a complete virtual Call Centre, this trend has significant power to change our industry.
- Omni-Channel Communications. The proliferation of communication channels is a challenge, and a huge opportunity. By adopting a holistic view of customer interactions, the best Contact Centres will be able to pass data – and therefore context and continuity – from channel to channel. A customer journey will often begin on one channel and be completed on another. A typical example will be a chatbot interaction which is escalated to real agent, then to a phone call to resolve a complex issue. Unifying communications helps to resolve issues more quickly and greatly increases customer satisfaction.
- More Powerful Analytics to Drive Improvements. The days of manual observation are long gone. Telephony-based data has become very familiar in most Call Centres, and now complex analytical dashboards are available which can show customer interactions and satisfaction metrics in real time. These tools include instant feedback loops across all online channels, complemented by screen recordings, SMS text follow-ups and more to complete the picture and fuel developments in business processes and agent training.
To read more about these technological trends and more, see the following articles:
13 Top Trends Affecting Call Center Technology in 2018 from TCN
The 9 Most Important Call Center Technology Trends to Watch in 2018 by Mitel
Top 7 trends for enterprise call centers and customer service in 2018 from IBM
How Do These Trends Affect You?
The Contact Centre sector is a competitive one, with many excellent organisations delivering high levels of service. By considering the trends listed here, your Contact Centre can keep ahead of the competition. Whether you’re using an outsourced provider or an internal team, call Contact Centre Panel to discuss how we can help you to benchmark your performance.
At Contact Centre Panel, it’s our job to help businesses work with the Contact Centres that match their needs perfectly. We’re very proud that 88% of the relationships we set up are renewed after their first contacted period. This loyalty and stickiness is important us because it proves that we’re helping companies to find the right partners.
To find out more about working with the perfect partner for your business, give us a call here at Contact Centre Panel on 0114 3030 393 or contact us using the form on our website.