Customer experience is one of the biggest trends and focal points of any business strategy today.
Every year, consumers continue to place more stock in organizations that deliver the meaningful and relevant experiences they need most.
The contact center is at the heart of most discussions between clients and brands. That means that if brands want to invest more in customer satisfaction, they need to be willing to work on enhancing the contact center.
The good news for modern brands is that the contact center is becoming increasingly advanced, offering everything from artificial intelligence and sentiment analysis to virtual agents, chatbots, and omnichannel connectivity.
Businesses with their eye on the prize in customer experience and digital transformation have plenty of room to adapt and evolve within the contact center.
Let’s examine some trends paving the way toward a new contact center experience today.
Artificial Intelligence In the Contact Center
Artificial intelligence is one of the most significant trends in this new CX-focused landscape.
According to Forbes, 83 percent of businesses believe that AI is a strategic essential to building the best customer service. On the other hand, 54% of executives believe that AI solutions are already boosting productivity.
The great thing about AI in the contact center is that it benefits both customers and agents alike. For customer experience, artificial intelligence can streamline the path to a solution to critical client problems.
Moreover, companies are increasingly using AI to replace IVR processes, boosting the chances that clients will get to the agent they need for a specific issue the first time rather than being passed from pillar to post.
AI-driven voice agents and chatbots can capture customer interactions, gather helpful information about a company’s audience, and use natural language processing and sentiment analysis to help guide a conversation. An AI tool in a contact center could even flag an unhappy customer to a supervisor so they can quickly offer agents some much-needed support.
Companies from Microsoft to Google are now investing in these new intelligent communication tools.
Indeed, Google recently introduced its new Contact Center AI Platform with Dialogflow technology, natural language understanding, and phone gateways with virtual agents.
At the same time, AI makes life easier and more convenient for the contact center agent – which is critical in an industry where staff turnover is notoriously tricky. A 2021 Five9 survey even suggested that agent churn reached 58 percent across all sectors.
With AI, businesses can eliminate some of the exhausting and repetitive tasks that employees face daily, allowing them to do their best work and use their skills. AI could make agent roles more engaging for modern employees.
The Rise of Omnichannel and Beyond
The transforming contact center isn’t just restructuring the agent and customer experience; it’s also delivering new avenues for communication. Since customer service is essential for 96% of people when deciding whether to be loyal to a brand, it’s increasingly vital for businesses to ensure that they’re meeting their clients on all avenues.
Omnichannel contact centers, supported by the rise of CPaaS and APIs that allow businesses to tap into everything from SMS to social media, are paving the way to a new tomorrow.
Video in the contact center is a particularly significant trend on the horizon. For the time being, most companies are using video in their communication stacks to help employees communicate on the back end. These video environments allow face-to-face communication between specialist staff members, allowing quicker resolutions to customer problems.
However, in the years to come, just as messaging has transformed the way countless consumers ask for help in the contact center, video will have a similar impact. In tomorrow’s contact center, customers may choose whether to send a quick message to a representative through chat or share visual information with a video.
At the same time, CCaaS vendors are constantly adding new tools to their solutions portfolio to address how business leaders and supervisors manage these multi-channel conversations. For instance, supervisor tools exist that connect all channels in the same space while offering workforce optimization.
Since today’s contact centers are more complex than ever, optimizing the workforce and the customer journey requires excellent planning, forecasting, and training. The right platforms integrate tightly with workforce optimization efforts to keep the entire team on the right track. These tools can do everything from examining how many calls a person makes in a day to providing insight into the satisfaction levels of customers.
A New Future for the Contact Center
The evolution of everything from omnichannel communications in the contact center to the rising demand for exceptional customer service means that many companies won’t be able to rely on human beings alone in the years to come.
The best contact centers will require a combination of human intuition and creativity alongside AI speed and efficiency. Agents will also begin to require more training to help them deal with the complex conversations they have with customers daily. Still, they’ll benefit from less repetitive and monotonous roles.
At the same time, contact center vendors will continue to build new tools that will help improve the agent and customer experience. Solutions like virtual agents and chatbots that assist agents in accessing information and maintaining their focus will promote a contact center of tomorrow that’s more streamlined and contextual than ever before.
The critical thing to remember in this new future is that business leaders shouldn’t compromise on the foundations of good customer contact to embrace more modern and futuristic technology. While concepts like artificial intelligence and omnichannel communication are exciting and intriguing, businesses must build on solid foundations, like excellent resiliency, fantastic call quality, and solid training. On top of that, security and privacy must always be a concern.