Evolution of technology has improved nearly every sector of our lives. From money transfer to buying clothes, everything is possible with a tap of a finger or click of a button. The digital revolution has made customers accustomed to instant gratification and instant response, which has heightened their expectations from businesses. This has put a lot of pressure on brands to deliver the best possible experience to their customers, which goes beyond the initial exchanges between customer and business, but involves after-sale service and grievances redressal via contact centers. It is, therefore, crucial for businesses to interpret the role evolving technology in after-sale service, particularly via contact centers. In this blog post, we highlight some of the latest technology trends that can redefine the call center business.
Omnichannel or Unified Communications
Omnichannel communication refers to the ability of a customer to interact with the contact center or helpdesk agents through different channels. For instance, customers can register helpdesk tickets for their grievances through the product’s web portal/mobile app and review the status anytime they want. If they are not satisfied with the resolution, customers can dial the helpline number to connect with contact center agent; navigate through the IVR menu as per available options to connect and report their displeasure with the agent.
Figure 1: modes of communication
Image source: business-opportunities.biz
Omnichannel or unified communication ensures that at the last stage when the customer gets in touch with the contact center agent, the agent is aware of the customers’ journey (from the web portal to IVR). The customers then do not have to reiterate their problems, improving their satisfaction level. Additionally, the uniform flow of communication across multiple channels leads to faster resolution of issues, improves productivity, and increases the brands’ value in the market.
Cloud technology has the potential to be the cornerstone of contact center business. Cloud-based solutions provide contact centers the perfect opportunity to shift from the traditional office-based system & functioning and widen their landscape by steadily increasing remote call agents, growing their workforce to cater to market’s need. Migrating to the cloud brings with it several advantages for contact centers, some of which are:
- Improved continuity due to disaster recovery mechanisms
- Team contribution and collaboration
- Flexibility for agents to access call center applications from any location
- Lower infrastructure costs and increase in employee and customer satisfaction
Figure 2: benefits of cloud-based contact centers
For contact centers with all on-premises operations, migration to the cloud, however, need not have to happen all at once. Several hybrid cloud providers can help phase the migration and even develop a personalized architecture that best suits the business needs.
Self Service Tools
Do It Yourself or DIY mode of problem-solving is quickly becoming a trend with customers, especially GEN X, Y, and Z. The younger population prefers working around their problems rather than picking up a phone and talking to an agent. This means organizations not only need to invest in revamping their contact centers but also provide self-service options to their customers. Detailed FAQ pages, troubleshooting videos, and manuals of the most common problems, and forums are some of the common self-service tools to help customers resolve their problems.
Figure 3: modes of self-services
Advanced Data Analytics and Business Intelligence
Contact centers receive a huge volume of structured and unstructured data through the different communication channels. The need is to use this data and gain valuable information about the customer’s likes and dislikes. Advanced data analytics can help businesses uncover critical insights and manipulate them to gain a competitive edge. Leveraging a sophisticated data analysis tool provides contact center agents and self-learning bots more background and context of the customer they are servicing, empowering them to personalize the resolution and score higher CSAT and NPS.
Image source: buildfire.com
Chatbots or Virtual Assistants (VAs)
Chatbots or VAs have come in as a breath of fresh air to millions of customers who have long become bored with the never-ending queues of IVRs and contact centers to get a resolution of their problems. These VAs and chatbots are available 24/7 for customer service and feature sets of pre-defined instructions for customer service, technical assistance and other basic or common customer questions for a quick resolution, thus increasing customer satisfaction and brand value. If in any situation the bot or VA is unable to resolve customers’ issue, it automatically escalates the incident to a real live agent with the chat history. The live agent, thus, has all the required inputs to understand the customer’s problem and deliver timely resolution. Such incident management argues well for the brand too, as the customer feels a sense of gratitude towards the organization for taking efforts to understand them by making them go circle, repeating their problem.
Image source: linkedin.com
Social media has become a powerful medium through which customers can share their feedback (both positive and negative) about a product or brand. As increasing number of customers are becoming comfortable with social media, many have started to share their thoughts on company’s social pages rather than wait in the queue to connect with contact center agent to report their grievance. Thus, brands will have to focus on their social handles too to address customer grievances. A team of specialists can manage the various social accounts to acknowledge customers feedback, answer their questions, and resolve their concerns, highlighting that the brand values its customer. As social media has a global presence, such communications also help brands build and maintain their reputation, which is highly important in this competitive world.
The Bottom Line
As technologies are evolving rapidly it is tough to guess what next in store. However, one thing is certain that businesses will have to adapt and adopt the latest technologies if they wish to stay relevant in the competitive world. Contact center ecosystem too has evolved over the years and will continue to do so. These six technology trends are just our speculations about the future of contact centers. What is your take on our speculations? Do you have something to add to it? Let us know in the comments below.
That’s all from us, until next time!
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