The emergence of the customer experience as a nearly universal top priority during the past few years caused many organizations to reassess their contact centers in 2019. Traditionally, the goal was to spend as little money as possible on the contact center. Long wait times, disparate communication channels, and even poor resolution rates were glossed over as long as costs were minimized.
Today, poor performance isn’t tolerated, mainly because customers won’t tolerate it. In 2019 and probably forever after, the customer calls the shots, so organizations are taking a more strategic approach to the contact center with a focus on optimizing the customer experience. Here are some of the top trends we see taking shape in the contact center in 2020.
Multichannel communication – offering channels such as voice, email, chat, text, social media and video – is no longer enough. In fact, Salesforce research found that 73 percent of customers will abandon your brand if they don’t receive a consistent experience across all touchpoints. Today’s customer demands an omnichannel environment in which all channels are integrated.
Customers can move from channel to channel without repeating the same information, and contact center agents use the same interface with a full interaction history, regardless of channel. Omnichannel communication also provides agents with more context so they can make better decisions and provide customers with the right information.
Advanced Contact Center Analytics
Instead of relying on managers to review calls and evaluate performance, organizations are relying on advanced contact center analytics to improve the quality of interactions, better understand customer expectations and satisfaction, and improve key business metrics such as first contact resolution, handle time, time in queue and abandonment. Advanced analytics can provide agents and managers with real-time insights into the customer experience to drive better, faster decision-making.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to improve all areas of the contact center experience. AI-powered intelligent voice response can understand accents and tone of voice more accurately than traditional speech recognition tools. Without the need for time-consuming coding, calls can be automatically routed to the agent who is best equipped to resolve each customer’s issue. AI can automatically generate several responses for an agent to choose from based on a customer’s complaint, tone and sentiment. And today’s AI-powered chatbots have moved beyond answering only the most basic questions to resolving more complex issues. No longer a novelty, AI is a contact center necessity.
Thanks to historically poor experiences with contact centers, many customers would rather resolve issues on their own than deal with an agent. FAQs, tutorials, how-to videos, troubleshooting guides and knowledge libraries are becoming more robust, and chatbots and virtual agents are becoming more prevalent. As a result, more issues can be resolved before a live agent is involved. This meets customer demand for self-service while allowing agents to focus on more resource-intensive tasks.
The Right Partner
IPC offers customer experience consulting services to improve customer engagement and the quality of interactions. Our consultants will work with you to identify and evaluate your needs and goals, and develop a strategy that uses advanced communication tools, AI, analytics and automation to optimize the customer experience. Let us help you assess your contact center operations and deliver the kind of experience today’s customers demand.