As we head into autumn, it’s a good time to look back at the trends that have shaped contact centre management in 2018, and which will certainly dominate budget negotiations and strategy meetings as we head into 2019.
Broadly speaking, the trends we’ve identified are either technological in nature, or related to the use, adoption and management of technology. It’s hardly surprising that as new tech is constantly emerging and enhancing what we can achieve in contact centres, the industry is constantly racing to keep up, and to understand how new technology can successfully find a home in our centres.
Another key element of contact centre trends is customer experience (CX). Everywhere in the world, customers expect more. They want easy interactions and effortless purchases. And when something goes wrong, they want to know that help is available with one call or click. This is great news for customers, but for brands this rising expectation creates several challenges.
Too many contact centres still rely on antiquated systems, manual processes and disconnected applications. Not surprisingly, these organisations demand a digital transformation to take advantage of modern technology that offers comprehensive features and numerous labour-saving benefits. By moving to modern contact centre solutions, organisations can improve employee engagement and retention, while also providing a more seamless experience for customers.
Your organisation is speaking to customers every day, but these conversations are originating in different departments, delivered by multiple channels and monitored using different solutions – which may all overlap at different points.
For example, your marketing team are using Twitter to promote your new service, and your customer service team is receiving complaints on the same platform. Meanwhile, your customer communications team may be using different tools to create and send text messages and emails to your customers – and those customers might respond with a complaint or an order request, which would then need to be directed to sales or customer service.
It’s hardly surprising that organisations are looking for ways to manage this complexity and achieve a single, omni-channel communication solution.
Customer experience monitoring
CX is a focus for marketers, sales teams, customer service, operations – and even the CEO. In the contact centre, we have both a key venue for driving customer experience, and an opportunity for gauging the effectiveness of our CX efforts.
As customer experience matures as a discipline, monitoring and reporting on CX will become more fundamental, and the role of the contact centre in gathering data and reporting on CX-related scores will become more important. How can your contact centre work with colleagues in marketing and sales to report on meaningful measures of the customer experience?
Social media conversations
As we mentioned above, social media has a dual role. We can use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to spur discussions and share content, but we must also be ready to listen to comments and respond to complaints. While marketing may be driving the broadcast content, it’s usually contact centre teams that must be prepared to respond to customers, using the same quality of service that we deliver in the contact centre.
Does your contact centre solution facilitate social media management? Can your marketing team easily hand messages over to support agents?
First call resolution
Hardly a new goal, but many contact centres are pushing harder to achieve more first-call resolutions. This means that customers get the answer or support they need with one call. In most contact centres this means that agents need to be equipped with the information and tools they need to respond to a wide range of queries.
Are your agents permitted to resolve common customer requests themselves? And when agents reach a dead-end, can they quickly escalate the issue – or hand over to a supervisor?
Again, not a new idea, but many organisations are looking for smarter ways to integrate self-service features. Instead of having a clunky, cluttered support site, organisations are developing smart, sleek applications that give customers answers with just a couple of clicks. And instead of having a separate support site that nobody can find, organisations are weaving self-service content into the customer journey. So while customers are filling in a support request, the app suggests related articles, so the customer can browse support guides while they wait for a response.
Does your organisation provide alternative self-service options? Are these features flagged up at different touchpoints?
That’s it for our round-up of contact centre trends. We’ll check in again in early 2019 and see how the landscape has changed.