Contact center trends in 2020
Contact centers are changing status from a trendy tool company acquires to impress customers and step out of the crowd to a necessary feature when responding to customers’ needs. But with higher interest comes greater responsibility. The center has to find new ways to surprise customers with excellent service. If not, someone else will do it. The market is always changing with new features and approaches. It does not always go so smoothly as expected. Some projects, like chatbots, are hard to crack, and some contact centers are still not able to provide satisfactory options. But other winds of innovation can be easily caught with a windmill and produce exciting outcomes. So where are all the cool companies heading at the beginning of the new decade, and why?
It is not a secret that contact centers are introduced to provide help for customers. Ironically, for long decades many customers tried to avoid needing that help as hard as they could because the process was requiring extraordinary effort and frustration. With growing market and online services enterprises started to realize that the customer with technical problems, is not the customer they should be focusing on. More solved problems did not result in more happy customers.
To provide truly helpful and beautiful service contact centers are now looking at the human-centric approach from all angles. This means they now again put the customer, but this time with all his/her emotions, in the center of support service and tries to figure out how to serve best. They already made problems solutions easier by providing opportunities for faster and more focused solutions. Now contact centers aim to make service more delightful.
AI enters the game
It may seem that the emotional aspect of problem-solving should be customer service specialists’ business. Many companies thought that too, by spending a fair amount of time training their agents for secrets of pleasant communication. But when contact centers realized they can participate in the game, the situation shifted from “human knows that another human feels” to “a machine can help you with that”. New technologies like chatbots and voice agents can grab little pieces of sentimental information and feed it into data analytics for optimal help for call centers. AI can quickly recognize sentiments in large data sets faster than a call center agent.
Sentiment analytics can provide maximum support when complemented by predictive analytics. It helps to determine customers’ tone by searching for certain keywords in text messages. This way customer emotions can be analyzed and addressed through different channels.
More AI everywhere
Remember the age of long pre recorded IVR systems? Well, it is about to end. The dull impersonal experience of “press 9 to repeat menu” is to be invaded by the great Natural language powered AI. It promises to change frustrating, impersonal recordings into something else. What?
With techniques like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine learning AI can understand statements. This way it will change the set of audio choices to voice commands. Voice chats and voice agents will communicate with customers in question and answer way 24/7. IVR changed live conversations to reduce queues and provide support after call center working hours with the cost of communication. But it can be brought back with voice agents.
Personalization is the key
Together with customer experience, comes personalization. No matter how helpful communication simulations can be, it will not change the human connection.
The research states that 86% of consumers would like to interact with a human agent rather than the bot. We should not forget that the statistics aren’t only about live connection, but the quality of technologies too. At the end of the day personal connection is that true feeling giving content. For your clients, it means they are really valued and cared for. And with live communication comes individuality too. Customers cannot be effectively treated by groups or clusters. No system can satisfy human needs perfectly, because there are no guidelines for catching uniqueness. And the system realized that.
That is why contact centers now focus on providing the most personal experience possible. In the new formula, there is a person to make the connection, and the information to create it as accurately as possible. So, forward-thinking contact centers are trying to collect all the useful knowledge about every customer. It connects the communication history from all channels that he used to connect the support, as well as products purchased, or service used. It put everything in one window on agents’ desktop so at the time of connection he is equipped with everything that could be useful. Knowing history and engagement makes it easier to understand what a person’s customer is. It allows us to serve better. This way customer satisfaction is increased, and the customer’s life cycle is all about satisfaction, right?
Deeper into analytics
The data will set you free! With contact centers supervisor skills and the trial-and-error approach are finally in the past and specialists can see what’s happening in real-time without any manuals. Data analytics is making use of all the data touch points from calls, online chats, and emails from every customer. It allows contact center teams to understand the root cause of a problem or analyze agents’ performance. Real-time data is valuable for catching strategies the work the best and problems that arise at the exact moment. Finding how to approach customer engagement can influence vital decisions for business growth.
The analytics differ in complexity and type. Most advanced can track stress levels from the customer’s voice. By sizing customer satisfaction, and learning his expectations new layers appear that helps to predict that customer needs and how to improve it. Dashboards with statistics impact companies’ business.
Making omnichannel more omni
Customer Contact Week reports that the average contact center offers nine-channel support, but not all contact centers offer full-service support on social media. Customers might respond to a Tweet or comment on an Instagram picture with an order issue…and companies need to be ready to treat those communications with the same care as they would a more traditional phone call.
Yes, almost all contact centers offer around nine contact channels support. Yes, companies can now integrate all the data. The time when customers had to repeat the same issue over and over again is almost Over. Finally, but is this the best we can get? Contact centers allow better contextual support but there are still boundaries to push. Social media can lose a lot of valuable data about your customer interactions, only because there are much more than one channel per media. We are thinking about these sneaky comment sections, where a lot of things are going on. It is one of the fastest for customers to interact with the brand and one of their favorites. Chatbots are beginning to be introduced in this area, to help answer a number of questions below your product picture in the Instagram account.
A more holistic view of customers can be reached with an adaptive omnichannel experience, which considers all the ways clients interact with the company.
Companies are heading to more customer-centered services, and contact centers are the only ones able to provide it. To do so, they are reaching for more predictiveness and deeper technology-agent interaction for the sharper insights. It already connected traditional channels companies use and provide faster access to information. Now it will make a new step towards the best possible customer experience. AI achievements entering CRM will cause a merge between already existing systems and innovative theologies. After all, enjoyable, meaningful conversation is the holy grail of customer management. It’s not just solving problems and giving offers on time. Loyalty and trust come only from meaningful relationships. Therefore, is time to start creating a real, personal relation with every customer. What seemed to be only the past of small local shops is the future of innovative business. But first of all, it should be the direction for contact centers. Difficult, but we believe that it is reachable.