Staying Ahead of the Contact Centre Evolution

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Chris Angus, VP, EMEA Contact Centre Engagement at 8×8, explains how contact centres can adapt to turbulence and stay ahead of the curve.

With the Bank of England predicting the UK economy to see zero growth until 2025, companies across the UK continue to brace for further economic turbulence.

It is more important now than ever before for businesses to look closely at the changes happening in their sector – and the channel and contact centre markets are no exception.

As budgets tighten, businesses are being asked to do more with less and AI and machine learning will be crucial for this.

Our recent 8×8 research showed that 78% of UK IT decision makers are deploying AI and automation to future-proof their businesses amidst ongoing uncertainty.

Increased AI use is just one of the changes that are set to occur this year, alongside regulatory updates and an increased uptake of all-in-one services.

To succeed in the changing landscape, it’s more than just understanding these factors but also finding practical solutions to make sure innovation goals are met and customers receive the positive experience they need.

The Future of AI in the Contact Centre

AI is no longer just a technological trend but a standard component of the contact centre toolkit. In fact, we recently found that 80% of contact centre and IT leaders believe conversational AI capabilities will be a must-have in the near future, and 41% agree that companies who don’t adopt these capabilities will fall behind.

Digital transformation acceleration has the potential to rapidly evolve the contact centre landscape this year by bringing more collaboration and efficiency into customer service and experience.

Rather than replacing human agents, AI technologies should work alongside them, enhancing their abilities and streamlining operations so response times are improved and interactions are more personalised.

One of the key capabilities of AI in the contact centre is automating routine tasks and routing inquiries to the most appropriate agent using chatbots.

This means that the human agent has time freed up to focus on more complex and high-value interactions.

Recent data highlighted that 64% of contact centre leaders identify chatbots as a critical focus area in 2024, which suggests an appetite for AI tool implementation.

AI also has the ability to analyse large sets of data and provide real-time insights. This enhanced data processing will make contact centres more agile and proactive in meeting the evolving customer needs. When used effectively, customer inquiries will be addressed more accurately and efficiently.

Getting Ahead of Regulatory Challenges

Updates to regulatory stature will challenge the contact centre this year, in particular, the impending ISDN switch-off and its implications for both businesses and their customers.

As the telecommunications landscape shifts towards more advanced and digital technologies, call centres reliant on traditional ISDN lines will need to transition to alternative solutions such as VoIP or SIP trunking.

With the switch quickly approaching, businesses will need to ensure they understand if and how it will impact them and their customer base.

The transition may require investments in new infrastructure and technology, as well as additional training for call centre staff.

It is crucial for businesses to understand when these changes will come about, so that they can prepare well in advance and ensure their alternative solutions are up and running ahead of time.

Streamlining Vendor Profiles

Lastly, we will continue to see a consolidation of the vendor profile and a shift away from using multiple vendors for a single solution.

There is clear demand in the market for more integration across communications, with businesses increasingly aiming to offer customers all-in-one packages-from UC, CC and chat solutions to analytics, integrations and professional services.

This move will not only improve the efficiency of call centre operations, but also enhance the overall customer experience.

By working with a single vendor for all their call centre needs, businesses can ensure smoother communication, fewer technical glitches, and a more cohesive strategy for handling customer inquiries.

Presenting a unified experience in 2024 will set a new standard for comprehensive and seamless customer service solutions.

In times of instability and ongoing regulatory changes, effective customer service in call centres will be imperative for success.

Ensuring that there is as much time as possible for crafting a personalised and efficient strategy for customers will only happen if companies embrace the technological time-savers available to them and balance these with human touch.

It is not about replacing humans with AI and chatbots, but more about fitting contact centre agents with the right tools to deal with changing customer needs and an evolving contact centre market.

Author: Guest Author

Published On: 12th Mar 2024 - Last modified: 5th Apr 2024
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