15 Contact Centre Predictions for 2018 and Beyond
The constant rise of the digital age is forcing a vast amount of contact centres to adapt to this societal trend by integrating new technologies into their organisations in order to stay ahead of their competition. Here are a few predictions on how the contact centre will evolve in 2018 and beyond.
1. The Importance of Contact Centres Will be Recognised
A vast amount of contact centre teams are now gearing up to showcase the importance of the contact centre to organisations across the UK in 2018; this is due to the growing popularity of digital interactions.
The biggest obstacles to overcome for almost any contact centre will be managing multiple customer interactions across many different channels, whilst also providing a seamless experience for every single customer.
The technology that helps companies achieve a smooth multichannel journey which can still be modified in real time without the need for help from their IT department will be at the top of many organisation owners’ lists.
2. New Compliance Standards are Forcing Organisations to Rethink, Revisit and Restructure Their Customer Interactions
Organisations are having to modify their long-standing practices because of the introduction of new compliance standards including MiFIDII and GDPR.
As 2018 draws closer, UK based organisations have to take time to connect various services, overhaul data management, systemise certain processes and invest in necessary technologies.
Next year could see call recording be an integral part of customer dispute resolution and quality management. An increased focus on the customer journey is one of the main reasons why established call centre practices will most likely be utilised at customer touch points.
3. Contact Centres may See an Increase in the Use of Speech Analytics
More and more organisations are looking for new ways to increase their customers’ experience; because of this companies are now looking for more raw data from their phone calls with their customers, which will hopefully improve the customer journey.
Research conducted by NewVoiceMedia’s Serial Switchers revealed that 70% of consumers will be more loyal to an organisation if they manage to provide excellent customer service, and 40% even said they would be willing to spend more!
This research could result in more contact centres investing in speech analytics. The technology can provide organisations with certain pieces of invaluable information, such as the most common reasons why customers call as well as the most frequently made complaints.
This type of technology can also scan calls which will flag individual calls for analysis, spot recurring trends and apply other processes for improved quality assurance.
4. There will be a Greater Focus on the Utilisation of Dark Data
Businesses could be sitting on vasts amounts of vital customer information hidden with their dark data; therefore contact centres might start analysing and using this data in an attempt to strengthen their engagement with their customers.
Information that at first may have seemed worthless may actually be incredibly useful. Analysing information such as the customer’s mood during a phone call will help contact centres get a better understanding of their overall performance.
Making use of this data will really help organisations know and understand individual customers, however, when GDPR is implemented next year, organisations will have to make sure the data they collect complies with the new legislation.
“Precision Dialling” plays a key role here. This is where companies can use their clean data on the customer, at the perfect time, on the right medium, with a message that matches their individual client.
5. Interaction Analytics Will Combine with Robotics Within Some Contact Centres
Efficiency, scalability and dynamic customer service will be kept at a high-standard across every channel type once robotics and interaction analytics are used as a solution.
Contact centres that choose to use this combination as a solution will think also think about automating laborious tasks through robotics; creating more advisor time to focus on providing the best customer service possible.
On the other hand, interaction analytics will also help companies uncover detailed insight into their customers’ and advisors’ behaviour. This should improve customer service, as well as decrease customer effort, by providing a greater insight into the Voice of the Customer (VoC).
6. Using Messaging Apps to Provide Customer Service Will Become the Norm
WhatsApp has become a popular messaging app more contact centres are using to manage their customer service, and more contact centres are likely to adopt this app for their business in 2018.
Businesses can gain a serious advantage over their competitors by using messaging apps to aid their customer service. To put this into perspective, some of the largest companies all over the world are already offering their customers more comprehensive support by using Facebook Messenger.
7. The Cloud Will be Used in More Contact Centres
Contact centres are now facing two key challenges. Firstly, the volume of digital interaction is rising. Secondly, customer experience has never been as important as it is now for brands to successfully differentiate themselves from their competitors.
These two opposing challenges are considered to be the reasons contact centres will triumph or fail in 2018. Research conducted by West Unified Communications revealed that 88% of contact centre professionals believe that voice will be overshadowed by digital interaction by 2020.
If this prediction becomes reality, cloud adoption will probably increase, as it possesses multichannel functionality and future-proofing capabilities.
8. Some Contact Centres may Turn to Skype
Next year, more businesses will try to integrate Skype for Business within their contact centres. Users will start to consider using hosted cloud platforms, which can offer integration with Skype for Business due to rising need for full multichannel capability, as well as call recording and PCI compliance.
Experts predict that one in five new contact centres will be run on Skype for Business by the year 2020, so it should be of no surprise that this trend will most likely gain momentum from 2018 onwards.
9. Cloud Contact Centres and Omnichannel Will Take Centre Stage
According to research, over 50% of contact centres that are not using cloud technology have expressed they are likely to start using it by the end of 2020.
Some have also predicted that companies will start to value the importance of omnichannel because a higher quantity of organisations has chosen to adopt a more flexible infrastructure.
In today’s world, customers are now far more likely to use alternative communication channels - social media, messaging apps etc - however, the same standard is customer service is still expected.
This is exactly why the cloud is being utilised by a rising number of organisations, as it allows them to take the desired omnichannel approach to customer service, by integrating
skill-based routing with the cloud. This combination will, in essence, keep costs to a minimum whilst maintaining the highest customer service levels possible.
10. Integrating Solutions Will be a top Priority for Contact Centres
Many different “stovepipe solutions” were implemented in organisations throughout 2017, such as chatbots, as well as ordering through personal assistants - for example, social media, Echo and more.
Integrating current, yet non-connected and device-specific customer care channels have been contacted centres’ primary focus throughout the year. In 2018, it looks as though many organisations will face an uphill battle if they continue to run channels through individual silos because they generally impact negatively on the overall customer experience.
This will result in a larger number of organisations choosing to adopt a more integrated approach to customer service, which means companies will simply have one platform that has the capacity to handle everything they need.
11. WebRTC Will Become the Sought-After Tool for Contact Centres
WebRTC will be the revolutionary technology every contact centre wants.
Apple’s support for WebRTC made a lot of major browsers follow suit and they now aswell support this new technology. With this in mind, many experts feel that the utilisation of WebRTC in contact centres will increase.
WebRTC is now available in standard browsers and applications, because of this, when customers use a company’s website, they will expect to be able to effortlessly switch between multiple platforms, including chat, voice, video co-browsing and file-sharing.
WebRTC provides useful information, as it will allow advisors to see first-hand contextual information about their customers’ journeys on their websites.
12. Contact Centres Will Need to Adapt to Keep up With Customer Expectations
Next year, we are expecting to see customer demands rise once technologies like WebRTC are installed, therefore contact centres will begin to feel the pressure to manage their queues more efficiently.
To do this contact centres need to be able to easily switch advisors between different social media sessions. Under these circumstances, contact centres don’t have the time or space for siloed activities anymore.
This approach has proven popular with many contact centres, will most likely stay on trend into 2018, once the call-blending model of the ACD makes way for the media session blending model of the Automatic Session Distributor (ASD).
ASD systems allow various different media sessions - voice, email, chat, video and SMS - to interlink with one another with ease.
13. Automation and Self-Service are Going to Change the Way Contact Centre Enquiries are Conducted.
Microsoft’s Richard Peers has said that by 2020, he believes 85% of customer interactions will be managed without people. More and more customers will use self-service or automated solutions to resolve minor or simple issues if the digital age continues to show signs of progression within the next few years.
On the flip side, call centre advisors will still have to face customers that bring with them complex issues in a potentially agitated manner.
Having to deal with difficult enquiries might mean that more call centres resort to installing technologies that will enable them to analyse a higher volume of interactions and quickly identify emerging problems.
14. Self-Service and Speech Recognition may Become More Popular
New speech recognition technologies such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home has spurred on the interest surrounding digital self-service and AI.
Most of us interact with voices at home and have become more familiarised with chatbots. Because of this, many customers feel more at ease - and sometimes even prefer - interacting with chatbots when they call a contact centre
2018 is setting itself up to be the year companies choose to add these technologies to address pitch points and free up their advisors allowing them more time to sort out difficult queries and higher value transactions.
15. Drastic Change in the Marketplace Will Revolutionise the Customer Experience Digital natives are forcing traditional organisations to question their methods. Amazon and Uber are constantly raising the bar for the customer experience; nowadays, customers have incredibly high expectations based on how they want to interact with organisations.
Most people’s first port of call when it comes to interacting with any organisation is through their smartphone and/or apps.
Traditional businesses, now more than ever, need to provide their customers with a high-quality seamless experience over many different channels in order to keep themselves ahead of their thousands of digitally advanced competitors.
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