December 20th, 2016
Exciting Contact Center Trends to Watch in 2017
Last year was an exciting one for our industry, with heightened focus on all things “customer experience.” In 2017, businesses will continue to integrate new practices and technologies in order to build a customer journey that is more effective, efficient and budget-friendly. We’ve identified contact center technologies and best practices that we are excited about in the new year.
- Omni-channel over Multi-channel. Discussions around omni-channel will continue to dominate the industry in 2017, as more businesses realize the untapped potential of their customer data to drive sales and improve the customer journey. Businesses will implement more multi-vendor technologies into the contact center, further complicating the task of seamlessly sharing data across all channels in real time. More businesses will buy into omni-channel and integrate the foundational data sources, while early adopters will begin experimenting with unique data sources, like Internet of Things “things,” wearables and beacon technology.
- Cloud-based Contact Centers. The movement of functionality to the Cloud has been a persistent trend over the last ten years, so it only makes sense that contact centers have moved in that direction as well. Cloud-based contact centers are more easily scalable and resilient than their premise based brethren. Advances in customization, better customer support, improved ease of integrations and migrations from existing platforms are some of the reasons why this trend will maintain its momentum in the coming year.
- Remote Agents. Thanks to continued advancements in technology that allow contact centers to operate remotely, brick-and-mortar contact centers are frequently being scaled down or eliminated altogether. The Cloud makes the deployment and real-time monitoring of home-agents more practical. Training, certification and feedback can be accessed via eLearning platforms. Remote agents reduce operating costs and grant more flexibility in operating hours, making this an attractive option for many companies.
- Optimizing the Agent Experience. A successful customer service experience does not begin and end with the customer; it starts with the work environment and tools with which agents are given to work. Whenever you create a better experience for your agents, you effectively increase the quality of service your agents provide. Screen pops, customizable graphical interfaces, gamification and agent scripting will grow in popularity as more businesses realize that well-equipped contact center agents can be some of the best brand advocates.
- Artificial Intelligence. AI is continually getting smarter, able to perform increasingly difficult contact center tasks. While customers still want the human touch during more complex service engagements, bots can help reduce the repetitive tasks that agents are currently forced to do. By eliminating these menial tasks, agents have more time to handle complex customer inquiries. Specialized job training and more available time can make agent duties more consultative in nature.
- Internet of Things. Billions of IoT “things” will inundate companies with vast amounts of data. This information about the usability of their products and customer habits will intensify the discussion surrounding the importance of big data analytics.
We’ll continue to see “things’” diagnosing their own issues and reaching out to support on behalf of the customer, reducing the number of calls and average handling time. Contact centers will see a rise in the number of technical calls so we’ll hear more about using “agents as consultants” to address technical issues and teach customers how to better use their IoT products.
- Wearables. They’re the new tablet. Slimmer, streamlined devices make it possible for contact center administrators to wear their performance dashboards on their wrists. We’re looking forward to seeing these devices grant administrators more freedom to work with their teams. It will be easier than ever for administrators to manage shifts and staffing, and to monitor agents in real time while away from the desk. Wearables have potential in the contact center sphere but there is real concern about their security. In 2017, we’ll hear more discussion surrounding smartwatch-enabled management and accompanying fortified cybersecurity.
- Real-time Translation Technologies. We will hear more buzz surrounding real-time translation technologies that will make service environments even more hospitable towards their customers. In lieu of hiring agents across all languages and countries, businesses can provide multi-lingual voice and text support at a fraction of the cost, raising overall satisfaction rates that were previously affected by language barriers. Even more exciting are the machine learning-enabled services, like Skype Translator, that will improve the more people use it.
The Aceyus blog is co-authored by: Ben Vesta, Vice President of Product Development and Kortney Parkman, Marketing Specialist.