The future is murky and challenging but there are some clear trends emerging when it comes to customer experience and the evolution of the contact centre, writes Rod Jones, industry analyst and Callbi brand ambassador.
The contact centre conversation. It’s not one the business wants – traditionally, the call centre or contact centre is perceived as an unwanted cost burden; a reluctantly funded overhead or cost centre.
It’s not a conversation the customer wants either – sitting on hold or explaining the same problem over and again, frustrated with wait times, with under-trained agents or the lack of problem resolution.
Yet, in 2022, it is the contact centre that will define brand and customer loyalty.
Thanks to the pandemic, the contact centre is rapidly evolving to become more than just another problem resolution touchpoint, it’s the future of the relationship between the customer and the organisation.
In 2022, the contact centre will change, again, and these are the key trends shaping its future:
Trend 01: Technology
Technology may seem like less of a trend and more of a toolkit, but the evolution of the contact centre relies on the use of inventive technologies and how these are deployed and utilised.
Driven by the ongoing pandemic and the customer demand for greater connections and better service, organisations need to find technology solutions that empower their people and optimise their systems to ensure they stay ahead of the curve and stay relevant to their customers.
Technology is the connective tissue between the customer and the organisation, and should be providing the tools they need to significantly improve the performance of the contact centre.
Trend 02: Analytics
In the past, contact centre analytics were frequently primarily focused on collecting small quantities of often disparate data that was then converted into vague reports that didn’t help decision makers move beyond much more than a reactive approach. There were few really actionable insights into how to measurably effect positive change and data concentrated on often mundane metrics with little or no bearing on operational performance improvements.
However, this has changed significantly over the past few years as the technology and solutions have become more sophisticated, more usable more and cost-effective.
Over the next year, the analytical tools and how they are used are set to evolve even further, providing organisations with digital foundations that they can use to gain real-time insights into all manner of customer interactions.
Astute organisations will use these technologies to fully understand the customer experience, their wants, needs and demands and to predict what they want and to understand and refine their reactions to specific situations.
Trend 03: The Commoditised Experience
In many cases customer experiences have become commoditised, and the range and functionality of the solutions that drive or manage these experiences are growing exponentially.
Traditional contact centres will need to focus on solutions that will embrace the realities of the digital journey and help them to differentiate their customer service delivery processes and mechanisms.
It has become essential for operations to migrate from conventional multi-channel operations to fully integrated omnichannel platforms to be to deliver a cohesive customer ecosystem.
The technology to achieve this is already here and, combined with real-time analytics and predictive models, there’s a wealth of information and practical and actionable insights available to the contact centre.
Over the next year, there will be a continued swing away from organisational cost control modelling as the primary contact centre metric of success, towards striving to achieve rewarding customer experiences and engagement.
Trend 04: Intelligent Engagement
Combining analytics with insights and near real-time customer understanding means that organisations are now able to use the time that customers are on the line with agents to engage more meaningfully.
It’s time to upsell, cross-sell and translate contact centre engagements into incremental revenue and long-term customer loyalty.
Going forward, organisations will use analytics to generate best or most appropriate offers or actions and to connect with customers at the right time, and in the right way.
This approach will allow them to offer products and services that they potentially didn’t know existed to customers, and that tap into their very real needs.
Backed by technology and predictability modelling, this trend will fundamentally change how the contact centre will move away from being a cost centre towards becoming a value centre and ultimately, a fully-fledged profit centre.
Goodbye unwanted cost burden, hello analytical tools that actually deliver fast return on investment.
Over the next year, these trends will shape the investments that successful contact centres make into their systems and approaches, allowing them to build intelligent ecosystems that redefine customer service, engagement and experiences.
Appropriate technologies, implemented properly, will deliver measurable returns on investment and provide actionable insights that will change how the contact centre is perceived – from cost centre to customer-centric business enabler.