4 Ways Contact Centers Can Boost Customer Engagement in 2021

In our last post, we discussed how cloud-based contact center solutions can help companies address the challenges of remote operations while enhancing the customer experience. With contact centers likely to encounter more pandemic-related challenges in the months ahead, here are some of the ways that organizations are planning to use technology to enhance the customer experience in 2021.

Customer Experience Enhancements for 2021

Improve remote operations

Pandemic-triggered social distancing requirements seriously disrupted contact centers, forcing organizations to quickly shift to remote operations. The transition hasn’t always been smooth. Some 70 percent of contact centers reported significant increases in call wait times, and bandwidth issues with agents’ home networks have led to rising numbers of dropped calls and increased customer frustration.

To address these challenges, providers are expected to invest in more automation capabilities, including chatbots to handle basic queries and robotic process automation (RPA) to automate scheduling, reporting and other repetitive tasks. Organizations also report that they plan to use more automated coaching applications, gamification and real-time performance dashboards for training, monitoring and motivating remote agents.

Expand self-service

Consumers have upped their use of online channels for contacting customer service during the pandemic, partly due to the increased call wait times. According to research from McKinsey, nearly two-thirds of consumers will try a self-service option to resolve their issue before attempting to connect by phone.

More organizations are planning to integrate tools such as digital assistants, video tutorials, knowledgebases and FAQ pages into their customer support processes to improve the self-service experience. Enabling customers to book appointments, track deliveries, check balances and perform other basic tasks not only produces faster resolution times but saves money by eliminating the need for many live agent interactions.

Enhance security and privacy

Security and privacy risks have become more pronounced during the pandemic. The transition to remote operations has limited organizations’ ability to provide direct oversight of their agents’ activities, increasing the risk that agents could expose customer data, either accidentally or intentionally.

A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment helps manage risk by allowing organizations to host desktop environments on a centralized server and securely deploy the virtual desktops to remote agents. Data loss prevention (DLP) solutions reduce the risk of insider threats by examining outbound communications such as email and file transfers, as well as activities such as copying files to removable media. DLP scans will generate alerts if any of these activities violate company policies.

Eliminate data silos

There are multiple sources of customer data in a typical multichannel contact center, including automatic call distribution (ACD), customer relationship management (CRM) and workforce engagement (WEM) systems. These sources usually aren’t well integrated, however, making it difficult to share data between systems. With no “single source of truth,” organizations cannot effectively evaluate operational metrics, understand what isn’t working and decide how to improve results for a better customer experience.

Eliminating data silos to improve reporting capabilities is high on the list of priorities for contact center managers. One way to improve data integration is through the use of data connectors, standalone software or functions that query multiple databases and join their data into a single report.

Looking Forward to 2021

Contact center interactions present an opportunity for companies to build trust and loyalty with their customers, but the sudden transition to remote operations has created some challenges. Organizations that invest in technologies that enable faster resolution of customer issues through a variety of channels will be in the best position to maintain strong customer connections in 2021 and beyond.