As in-person contact and bricks-and-mortar retail have taken a back seat during the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of digital and telephone communications has risen significantly. Being available on demand through multiple channels has seldom been more important for companies than during the last two years.
Despite the pressures facing many companies in the form of supply chain delays and higher absentee rates, customer expectations are as high, or even higher, than they have ever been. That is why it is so important that – even though many are still facing the challenge of remote working – they get each interaction with a customer right.
Recent research underlines the level of expectation from customers. One report found that nearly six in 10 (59%) of customers will hang up within 10 minutes of being placed on hold while waiting to speak to a company representative. Another indicated that 74% of customers are likely to buy based purely on their experiences of that brand.
To support brands during these times, a broad range of new technology trends are likely to emerge in contact centres during 2022 – or at least develop from where they left off last year. Here, we outline six of the most important:
1. More Sophisticated Chatbots
While chatbots themselves might not be new to customer service, they are still relatively limited in their capabilities. Broadly speaking, chatbots have predominantly been used to handle routine customer enquiries, but powered by artificial intelligence, the next generation of this technology can be used for much more complex customer conversations and even learn from each interaction.
Although we already use chatbots in a number of campaigns, in 2022 we expect to see them used in a broader range of situations, from customer onboarding to lead generation and customer nurturing.
2. Implementing Live Chat and Facebook Messenger
Of course, contact centres cannot forget that a human touch is still sometimes the best approach – even if it is not in person. The channels through which customer service is delivered will continue to broaden and migrate to the digital world, so we would naturally expect to see live chat grow in prominence as a communication tool.
Facebook Messenger is just one example of this growing in popularity, which should be no surprise given the platform has around 1.3 billion monthly users. This is expected to grow even further with new services added, such as the integration of chatbots.
3. Using More Customer Feedback Tools
Customer feedback tools help contact centres to measure important metrics like net promoter score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) rates. We include these as measures of success in many of our client reports.
They can, however, also be used to improve almost every interaction with a customer. For instance, feedback forms on FAQs or other self-service channels can inform how these are updated and improved over time.
Feedback tools can also be used to collect data about customers to be used for predictive purposes, such as sending a person moving house an email or text reminding them to update their details or product requirements.
4. Inspections With Remote Visual Tools
One of the biggest trends since the pandemic began has been the need to work remotely – and we see this trend remaining post-pandemic. At Comdata we were quick to respond and set up our teams to work from home as soon as the first lockdown was announced.
But, with limited in-person contact, we took this a step further by developing technologies that would allow our customer care advisers to use – with a customer’s permission – mobile phone cameras to inspect issues with products.
This has helped resolve issues much more quickly and increased customer satisfaction.
5. Delivering Speech Analytics
Speech analytics is a growing area in contact centres, with nearly half (49%) of companies reporting they improved customer satisfaction with the technology, according to recent research.
Speech analytics is about taking previous or live calls with customers and analysing the conversation to understand speech patterns. This can provide you with insights about how they feel, and specifically whether they are stressed at particular points, enabling advisers to respond in the right way.
Contact centres have reported a range of benefits to implementing speech analytics, including reduced customer churn, improved productivity, and better performance from their advisers.
6. Gamification to Improve Performance
Playing computer games in the workplace isn’t typically encouraged, but gamifying important parts of the way a contact centre interacts with its employees has been proven to deliver business results.
For example, when advisers have completed tasks or training on e-learning platforms, they can be awarded points that translate into rewards. This has been proven to improve staff engagement and reduce training costs, among a range of other benefits.
We have successfully introduced gamification at our contact centres and seen these results first hand on our client campaigns, particularly during the pandemic.