2020 was clearly a year of unprecedented challenge for Contact Centers throughout the world. These challenges have constituted more than a series of simple operational adjustments. The global pandemic has forced Contact Centers to face head-on the reality of fundamental change. At the forefront of these changes has been technology – transformational technology that provides customers with the service they expect, in the ways they need and expect it — through phone, chat, email, social or other channels.
As we move through 2021, we will all experience a growing focus on providing improved customer experiences and journeys. In this article, we identify five significant Contact Center trends to look out for during the course of the year.
1. Remote agents and a hybrid model
The pandemic and the consequent enforced lockdown measures have forced Contact Centers to depend more on Cloud technology than ever before. Agents have had to adjust to working from home with the support of Cloud technology.
However, to view this forced change to remote working as a temporary inconvenience would be naive and short-sighted in the extreme. Working from home is clearly here to stay. Similarly, it’s unlikely that Contact Centers will move wholesale to 100% remote working – certainly not immediately.
A more probable long-term outcome is the hybrid model – a scenario whereby teams are encouraged to work remotely as well as being encouraged to use the office as a collaboration and meeting space.
Those companies that have adopted the remote, Cloud model have enjoyed numerous benefits:
- Business continuity
- Business agility
- Improved productivity
- Enhanced security
- A more productive and enjoyable agent experience
2. Cloud and multi-Cloud
Contact Centers aren’t looking for off-the-shelf Cloud software, where they have to adapt their process and systems to the demands and restrictions of the technology. They want Cloud software that’s bespoke – that adapts to their needs of their business. Regardless of the size or complexity of their business, they need technology that’s scalable and flexible.
In 2021, inflexible proprietary systems, hampered by single-vendor lock-in, will be ‘out’. Instead, Contact Center businesses will be looking for customizable software that will allow them to access plug-in features that suit their needs.
Are you looking to migrate to a Cloud-based Contact Center? Download our guide.
3. Self-service efforts
On the ball Contact Center managers understand the key role played by individual team members in delivering that all-important world-class experience for customers. This means personalization. Making customers understand that they are valued and perceived as much more than a sales statistic.
Using new technology to give agents the freedom to manage a customer’s journey across channels and touchpoints clearly enhances the customer experience. But it does more. Employee empowerment also improves their own sense of engagement and satisfaction. All this will combine to improve all-round performance.
Increasingly Contact Centers are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to handle smaller, more day-to-day tasks. This lifts the pressure from agents and allows them to offer more personalized customer experiences.
4. Digital and AI
One of the most noticeable changes in Contact Center provision in recent months has been the switch to omnichannel capabilities – messaging, SMS, email, chat, combined with the use of AI (Artificial intelligence). Contact Centers are learning to drive better business outcomes by optimizing that technology. 2021 will see more companies than ever turning to tools such as AI-powered chatbots and digital assistants. They will be employing these platforms to transform their approach and with it, the customer experience.
Whether your Contact Center uses human agents or chatbots to engage with customers, you should be using social media to demonstrate a responsive and caring approach to resolving issues. You should be finding ways to make conversations with customers public – showing how you address customers’ issues.
This approach will both enhance the customer experience and give you far greater, more high-profile credibility. The benefits of embracing Digital and AI are almost incalculable. Undoubtedly, they’re here to stay.
5. Quality Assurance (QA) will become increasingly automated
Contact Centres have traditionally excelled at measuring quality and service metrics for phone interactions. However, achieving equivalent service quality on digital channels has been a struggle.
As 2021 progresses, Contact Centers will have to invest in tools that provide an end-to-end view of the customer journey. They will want to identify friction points, overall quality of service and team performance issues.
The rise in remote working has rendered many conventional, manual QA approaches unreliable. Contact Centers are increasingly seeing the need to automate the identification of “coachable moments”.
Conclusion - Automated Testing with Occam
As your Contact Center faces up to the permanent changes it will need to make, and you adopt the necessary Cloud technology, be sure to retain and enhance your CX standards.
Our automated Experience Testing System (ETS) will give you the peace of mind you need to make sure your customers enjoy the best possible experience and journey.
Automated testing allows you to comprehensively ‘soak-test’ new processes and systems before conducting a full launch. Your all-important customer experience will remain unaffected.
You’ll find you can easily test any enhancements you make to your customer’s journey – right from the placing of the call to pick-up by the agent. In the event of results falling below your pre-determined standards, the monitoring software alerts you and your team. This enables you to address the issue before the customer’s experience is adversely affected.
Load testing ensures that your systems are built to specification and continue to operate as designed, regardless of the pressure imposed by high volume call traffic.
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Find out how our continual testing platform will help you to create a collaborative workspace, ensuring your Contact Center’s operations continually run smoothly.