Richard Kenny of Poly introduces us to three growing trends from within the contact centre industry.
The contact centre industry continues to grow in importance with a workforce that is playing more and more of a central role in helping organizations to meet the evolving needs and expectations of their customers.
If contact centres and organizations can get ahead of the following trends, they will truly differentiate in the decade to come.
1. Voice Is More Valuable Than Ever
There’s no question that contact centres are evolving to encompass the omnichannel world in which consumers now live. Customers expect their personal world, where they buy online and interact on social media, video message and more, to be mirrored by the brands they interact with.
An interaction that begins with an SMS or online form, for example, should be able to be continued seamlessly on the phone, a live chat session or a social media channel — with all the relevant context kept intact.
But while there are seemingly endless ways to communicate in the modern multichannel environment, there is none as powerful as voice calls when it comes to making a meaningful connection.
Despite the wide variety of customer service choices available, voice interactions remain at the heart of the contact centre. Studies have shown that the majority of customers can’t resolve a problem through self-service alone, and calling is the ‘go to’ channel for time-sensitive, complex or serious issues.
With more straightforward queries being handled by self-service, calls — and the job of the contact centre agent — have become significantly more complicated than the routine interactions that were common a decade ago.
So, while the contact centre is evolving to cater for an omnichannel environment and the changing agent landscape, voice isn’t going away any time soon — in fact, voice has become more valuable than ever in driving the customer experience.
2. Transitioning to the Cloud
Despite all the talk about cloud computing, only 20-25% of organizations have migrated to a cloud contact centre model.
On the face of it, this lethargy to move to a new infrastructure model is understandable. Many on-premises contact centres are more advanced than their cloud counterparts, having evolved over decades to become finely tuned operations.
But advancements in technology are raising customer demands like never before, with omnichannel platforms that unite every aspect of the business now expected as standard. To compete, contact centres must keep up with the pace of change.
Transitioning to the cloud delivers the visibility, agility and scalability to create a truly customer-centric strategy. New communication features that would previously take months to deploy on-site can go live in a matter of days. The contact centre can effortlessly adopt cutting-edge technologies and take advantage of AI and analytics to drive efficiency and decision-making.
With seamless cloud integration, the walls of the siloed contact centre can be broken down too, connecting customer services to all the other key functions across the business — including finance, sales and marketing.
3. Shaping the New Contact Centre Workforce
Self-service and AI-driven chats have made it easy for more straightforward customer queries to be resolved. But customers continue to turn to voice as the priority channel for more complex queries.
This means the issues that contact centre teams face on the phone are more complicated than ever, and they are interacting with customers who are often at their most frustrated or confused.
Voice interactions now require a different type of customer experience workforce — one that brings empathy and expertise in equal measure. Contact centres need to create new teams of agents who not only understand the brand and products they represent, but also bring the emotional intelligence and life skills and experience that are needed to engage with customers.
Cloud-based contact centres break down many of the geographical restrictions on who can be hired for this new-look workforce. Agents no longer need to be sitting in a row of desks, as it’s easy to get a new agent up and running in a home office with an enterprise-grade headset and instant access to the applications and systems they need.
Crucially, this flexibility is exactly what appeals to employees who are increasingly looking for greater work–life balance and the ability to choose when and where they work — and this significantly widens the pool of talent available to today’s businesses.
For more information about Poly, visit www.poly.com