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What Does 2015 Hold for the Contact Centre Industry?


Our readers share their predictions about the future of the contact centre industry.

The number of calls will decrease but AHT will increase

Voice calls will reduce and be replaced by online activity, although average call times will increase due to more complex enquires.

With thanks to Fiona

Satisfaction scores and sales will be interlinked

Satisfaction scores will directly impact your sales in the future. For example, who goes on holiday or books a hotel without checking its rating these days?

Investment in staff will be even more essential, as well as a focus on demand via process and policy.

With thanks to Karl

The agents of the future will be a step away from the norm of today

The agents of the future will be very different. Not only will they be Generation Y and therefore bring with them a different set of values and demands, but they will also have new demands put upon them.

The agents of the future will need to be highly skilled, not just on policy and process, but also about how to use and support multiple and more complex contact channels.

I also think that the organisation’s ability to deliver, manage and react to change will become paramount, especially as traditional change teams will not have the skills to deploy new channel capabilities.

With thanks to Simon

It will be about which company is the fastest… Not the biggest

The fastest companies will beat the slower companies, instead of the big companies outweighing the small.

The transfer of knowledge through the workflow in a company is key for great customer service.

With thanks to Martyn

There will be a greater focus on listening to customer feedback

Customer feedback will become even more important through the year, as the competition aims to differentiate from rivals, and especially as we move to multichannel servicing.

The need to provide easy and superior service will be key to retention as customers become less loyal. We need to service customers as they want to be serviced and not how we want them to be.

With thanks to Craig

Voice calls will be phased out as the younger generations come of age

It’s down to generation and evolution. Customer demographics of age 40+ would rather speak to a human, whereas the younger generation want to use the internet and mobile apps.

This generation will grow and eventually become the older generation, therefore phasing out voice calls. This could happen over the next 20 years.

With thanks to Matt

Loyalty will be driven by an emotional connection

Customer loyalty will be driven by a positive emotional connection with your voice operative, rather than by content of service offered.

[Editor’s comment – For more information about building an emotional connection, see these articles: 7 Ways to Build an Emotional Connection With Callers and 7 Ways to Build an Emotional Connection by Email]

With thanks to Hayley

Voice will remain the channel of choice for complex queries

Voice will become a lower volume but higher value interaction – and will remain the best choice for complex queries and up-selling.

Simpler queries will migrate more to webchat and social media.

This will drive a need for higher calibre voice agents.

With thanks to Simon

Agents will expect higher pay as their role becomes more complex

Agents will expect higher pay as their role becomes more complex.

Being multi-skilled and more knowledgeable will become the norm.

With thanks to Sarah

There will be limits imposed on how long callers can be allowed to queue

There will be increasing pressure for regulators to place limits on how long callers can be allowed to queue for.

We are still seeing wait times of over an hour in some organisations.

With thanks to Nik

Webchat and social media will be key methods of initial contact

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Live chat and social media will grow into key initial contact methods – and won’t just be seen as a complement to voice.

This will be especially true for social media, where customers know action is taken quicker when a company’s brand is mentioned online.

With thanks to Tom

People will still want to talk to a real person… If they don’t have to wait!

Most people I know prefer to speak to a live agent – regardless of the other channels of offer.

The issue is that waiting times are too long and it is common to spend ages on hold.

With thanks to Alex

Complexity will stop social media from ever taking centre stage

The big issue with conversations outside of voice and webchat is that they cannot easily deal with complexity and special circumstances.

This will help to keep more traditional channels, such as voice, in play until those other channels can handle such complexity.

With thanks to Nik

Social media data will be used to predict customer issues

We will see an increase in digital and social selling – maximising the data we receive from social media to help predict customer behaviour.

We will also see a decrease in calls, and an increase in email, live chat and social media interactions.

With thanks to Marie

It will be increasingly important to know your individual customers

It will be increasingly important to understand your customers’ needs and know your individual customers in order to maintain positive relationships.

With thanks to Pavol

A single query will be resolved through a combination of channels

We won’t see contact volumes switching from one channel to another.

Instead, it will become the norm for a single query to be resolved through a combination of webchat, voice and co-browse.

With thanks to Niek

Contact centres will start using virtual assistants

I think we’ll see contact centres begin to adopt add-on/ middleware solutions like virtual assistants.

With thanks to Philip

More interaction via mobile apps

We will see more interaction via mobile apps.

With thanks to Tina

Users won’t be buying into voice biometrics just yet

I think that users will not buy into voice biometrics for several years yet.

With thanks to Nik

More calls will come in via mobile apps or social media

We’ll see more calls coming into the contact centre via mobile apps, social media or webchat.

The queries will then be resolved through a combination of voice and email.

With thanks to Catherine

Contact centres will make better use of unified communications

Contact centres will leverage unified communications in order to involve the back office and subject matter experts in better resolution times.

With thanks to Nik

Contact centres will view staff as their key investment

There will be greater understanding of the need to invest in your staff – and the direct result this will have on customer service and satisfaction scores.

In our contact centre, we already pay well and have great satisfaction scores.

With thanks to Karl

Conversations will begin on social media and move to the phone

On a daily basis, I am already seeing customers asking questions via social media which require a call-back.

With thanks to Tom

Generation Y will say goodbye to the telephone

There will be an increase of the volumes of webchat.

Generation Y will probably say goodbye to telephone.

With thanks to Pavol

Customers will demand tighter CRM integration

Customers will continue to demand tighter CRM integration – and be less tolerant about having to make an effort and repeat themselves.

With thanks to Nik

There will be a shift back to UK-based contact centres

We will see the start of a transition to more UK-based services, as near-shoring becomes less popular from a consumer’s perspective.

With thanks to Phil

Older generations will never use social media

I don’t think the older generations will ever use social media for customer service.

With thanks to Nik

Video and co-browsing options will increase in popularity

We will most certainly see video and co-browsing increase as smartphone, tablets and laptops become the communication channels of choice.

With thanks to Aidan

Email volumes will increase and response times will decrease

I think that the volume of email contacts will grow – and that we will see improved response times as customers come to expect more from this channel.

With thanks to Michael

There will be more investment in the personal development of agents

Organisations will invest more in their agents, in order to support the growing and complex nature of omni-channel customer journeys.

With thanks to Chris

The company budget will still hold the reins on the quality of service

Company budgets will sadly still dictate the quality of service – and we will continue to try to put a price on good customer service.

With thanks to Simon

Management on a multichannel solution will be harder to find

Management on a multichannel solution will be harder to find, especially if you are using more than one solution at the same time.

Specialisation will be more difficult to build on.

With thanks to Louis

Benchmarking will become increasingly important

I think that appropriate benchmarking is going to be especially important over the coming few years – to ensure pay is competitive amongst all contact centres, not just within a specialist industry.

With thanks to Sarah

Customers will be better informed and more likely to switch companies

More customers will be prepared to switch to competitors at the hands of poor service.

They continue to be better informed, have better access to things like ratings, and are able to shop on service, not just price.

With thanks to Nik

Contact centres will focus more on staff training and retention

Businesses will start investing in training and keeping their multi-skilled agents – reducing churn and up-skilling to properly manage omni-channel.

With thanks to Emma

There will be a growth in homeworkers to support 24/7 demand

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There will be a significant growth in homeworkers to support the 24/7 service culture and subsequent service demands.

With thanks to Michael

Omni-channel analytics will be vital to the contact centre

Omni-channel analytics will become increasingly vital.

With thanks to Nik

We will see an increase in the use of the NetEasy Score

We will see a rise in the use of the NetEasy Score as a measure of how easy a customer feels your company is to do business with.

With thanks to Stewart

Customer Effort will be the best measure of loyalty

Customer Effort will continue to gain traction as the best measure of customer sentiment and loyalty.

Interest in the NetPromoter Score will continue to grow but will eventually tail off.

With thanks to Nik

The role of the agent will bend more towards self-service support

Eventually, there will be more agents working in the industry whose prime role is to support customers using self-service (via web, social media and mobile apps), than agents who share actual product knowledge.

With thanks to Gavin

Front-line staff will need to be equipped with the latest tools

Front-line staff will have to keep pace with the complexity of transactions and will have to be equipped with the new tools and skills to keep up with customer expectations.

With thanks to Pavol

More agents will be needed to deal with problems faster

Regardless of the channel used, unless there is an agent there to deal with it there and then, you will not get satisfactory customer service.

Contact centres will need to increase the number of agents they have in order to deal with questions and problems faster.

With thanks to Alex

What do you think 2015 and beyond holds for the contact centre industry?

Published On: 28th Jan 2015 - Last modified: 22nd Mar 2017
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