Top 5 contact centre trends in 2018 and beyond
Thanks to new digital capabilities, better analytics and the cloud, 2018 continues on its trajectory to place the customer experience (CX) at the heart of the organisation. We know a great customer experience is shown to grow loyalty, revenue and employee engagement.
This means taking note of some of the main trends influencing the customer contact centres, both now and in the future:
New digital business models and processes that have altered customer behaviour forever. For those businesses that want to compete and survive, a future-focused digital transformation strategy is a must – which means connecting with customers on multiple channels and ensuring each interaction is connected with the other. The smartest businesses will be those that integrate analytics and collective business intelligence to provide a full customer view and proactive service.
Today’s small businesses can use sophisticated analytics to turn ordinary data into CX gold. By looking across all points – chats, emails, sms, social media, and even speech or call and screen recordings – omni-channel centres are using analytics to build dashboards that give agents and managers a real-time view of the customer experience. To deliver truly personalised experiences to customers, there has to be a strong focus on data management, integration, analysis and internal communication.
By 2020, 40% of contact centre seats will be cloud-based, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Available in public, private and hybrid forms,more than eight in 10 existing users say cloud is providing access to new functionality, with three quarters of users saying cloud enables omnichannel capability via integrated platforms.*
Cloud communications and collaboration means lower overheads and flexible hours. No longer bound by the office, centres can grow into new locations, scale their workforces to meet market demand and increase the number of remote agents.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
AI applications are helping streamline contact centre experiences, with organisations investing more in self-service and speech recognition technologies (thanks in part to the popularity of Amazon Alexa and Google Home). Chatbot use on Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, WeChat is growing to automate self-service and free up agent time to deal with higher value and more complex queries.
While AI and bots may disrupt jobs, they won’t replace humans. Successful businesses will be those that find the right blend of humans and machines. By 2022 though, we may see more video-based agents sharing the interface with chatbots.
Omni-channel solutions that integrate enterprise systems and connect customer journeys was a top technology trend for 2017*, but nearly seven in 10 organisations had none, or very few, channels connected. Consolidating communication across channels gives businesses better customer context, speeds up resolution and helps sales agent identify better leads.
Disparate management and a siloed approach to customer channels remain the biggest threats to omni-channel. Successful businesses will be those that merge valuable feedback across all channels and the good news is that as bot platforms evolve, it’ll be easier to ensure consistency.
A LOOK FORWARD
By using the opportunities created by the digital revolution, we can reshape CX in the future. Looking forward, we’re expecting a few trends in the future:
- More integration of analytics with AI.
- Messaging apps to become the customer service norm.
- Increased focus on omni-channel and cloud.
- Greater use of chatbots.
- Growing adoption of WebRTC and Skype for Business.
*2017’s Dimension Data Customer Experience Benchmarking Report