Scott Budding of Business Systems gazes into a crystal ball to predict how the contact centre industry will continue to develop in 2020.
Focused Digital Transformation
Blending of front- and back-office customer-facing processes was a topic of discussion for 2019, and something that will continue on into 2020.
At the beginning of this year, analyst firm Gartner said that organizations must start blending their front- and back-office activities if they are to provide a successful customer experience.
A lot of organizations in 2019 have spent a great deal of time addressing inefficiency in the front office. More and more are now realizing that it’s time to start looking at the back office and addressing inefficiencies there.
Corporations can improve business performance and offer up an enhanced experience by gaining a better understanding of the consumer across the journey life cycle, maintains Gartner.
Customer loyalty programmes or feedback channels, for instance, should be more tightly integrated with your back office, as doing so can cut costs, while a digitally enhanced back office could also reduce the consumer engagement budget.
And even for those organizations who are purely back office, having the capability to track productivity there means they can achieve a better resource allocation, contributing to overall digital transformation.
Automation Part 2
Automation is already making its mark, but in 2020 it will become a critical tool for firms. In the past, there’s been too much of a focus on wanting to automate processes 100%.
Companies are now talking about the benefits in being able to automate activity and steps within processes, rather than focusing on automating an entire process.
In addition, the capabilities in the technology and products have become far stronger and more attractive, encouraging further take-up in 2020.
In fact, robotic process automation (RPA) software revenue grew 63.1% in 2018 to $846 million, making it the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market, according to Gartner. It is forecast to hit $1.3 billion this year.
The sharp rise in interest is sparked by a growing body of evidence around the benefits in terms of making things more automated. For instance, a recent Softomotive survey found that reduced operating costs were seen as a main benefit of RPA by 44%.
As well as being more time and cost-efficient than people, automation also has the ability to significantly improve workflows, and robotic workers can operate 365 days a year without holidays, breaks or sick leave.
There is also a dramatic reduction in errors being reported using RPA, which supports compliance and quality control.
Ultimately, the technology frees up staff from time-consuming and monotonous tasks and allows them to give more attention to the customer.
Employee Health and Satisfaction
Another important trend is an emerging focus in the contact centre around well-being, and empowering employees to have more of a say in how they’re being scheduled.
There’s been a shift from a focus on the customer to the employee, with a belief that if we look after our employees, they’ll look after our customers.
In fact, more and more companies now have dedicated roles to well-being, something we haven’t seen before in the sector.
Thanks to social media and phenomena like the Glassdoor website (an employer rating website), candidates are filtering out companies they don’t want to work for – recruitment is changing. People decide where to work, and continue to work, based on workplace culture.
For Gen Z, there’s an unquestionable expectation that everything needs to be flexible — and that whatever they need to do, they can do it on an app.
This should be of particular concern to the contact centre industry, where finding and retaining team members is an ongoing challenge.
All the more reason for our industry to be on the lookout for better ways to address the war for talent by supporting a call centre culture where agents are happy, healthy and productive. I think that’s going to be a big focus for next year.
Summing up, it’s clear that in 2020 more brands are going to be looking for technology to support digitization, blending and to better support the well-being of their teams. Modern workforce management solutions can and will play a central role in them doing just that.