The year is 2035. Hovercars are finally a thing. All households are completely automated. And customers no longer hate the contact centre.
Okay, maybe not the hovercar part. But when it comes to the future of the contact centre, things are beginning to look good.
Already organisations are moving to the cloud, omnichannel engagement is becoming more important, and AI is being used in new and exciting ways to improve the customer experience.
But this is an industry that is constantly changing, and we’re constantly blown away by new innovations coming out of the tech space.
So put on your VR glasses, folks, because the future of the contact centre just got even more exciting.
Bots Are Now More Human Than Human
In the future, chatbot technology is going to be a whole new animal.
Google recently gave us a glimpse into just how far chatbot technology can go. The company has unveiled an upcoming feature called Google Duplex, which enables Google Assistant to make a call on your behalf to schedule an appointment.
By bringing together natural language understanding, deep learning and text-to-speech, the assistant is able to understand context and nuance to have a successful conversation, and the human on the other end of the call has no idea.
So if chatbots are able to engage like humans now, imagine what they will be able to do in the future? We’re talking entire conversations. And when combined with voice sentiment analysis, maybe even empathy.
Are you shuddering? Because we’re shuddering.
Decentralised Teams of Empowered Agents
The good news is that there is no need to fear a massive robot takeover as the role of human agents will become even more crucial.
According to the NICE study “Contact Centre 2025, Trends, Opportunities and Strategies“, the future of the contact centre lies in what it terms the experience hub – ‘an entity that is essentially responsible for underpinning and driving the customer experience as well as for the interactions a company has with its customers and prospects’.
According to the report, the experience hub is made up of decentralised and largely distributed teams of proactive agents driving a positive customer experience. These agents are mostly home-based, digital-savvy, social-media experts able to deliver exceptional customer service across all channels.
We’re already seeing a huge trend towards contact centres employing home-based agents. A recent report on the US contact centre industry by ContactBabel cited 52% of respondents already choosing to go the home-agent route. This new working method has great cost-saving potential for companies and offers a better quality of life for agents.
The NICE report predicts that by 2025, these home agents will be their own brands and be armed with unique skill sets and Cx know-how, allowing them to offer their services as super-agents for hire to their portfolio of clients.
The Internet of Things Is a Key Feature
For those who don’t know the term, the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the interconnection of physical devices and electronics that allows the transfer of data from one device to another.
Basically, it’s how your fridge and smartphone talk to each other.
Companies are starting to see the potential in IoT to transform the customer experience.
Rewind a few paragraphs back to where we told you about Google Assistant being able to make calls for you. Remember? Good. Now imagine receiving a call from a tech agent offering their assistance on your faulty smart ice maker, when you didn’t even know your smart ice maker was broken in the first place.
Yep, basically your ice maker experienced technical difficulties and didn’t want to bother you, so it logged a call with tech support all on its own.
It’s pre-emptive customer service gone next level.
In this video, IBM show us exactly how the IoT can be used to troubleshoot on your behalf, for a safe, lightning-quick resolution to problems.
It’s extremely exciting to think about what the future holds, yet these are three of the key areas that promise brighter times ahead.