In the last decade, the reach of contact centres has extended beyond traditional boundaries. This is a direct result of the digital revolution, which has significantly altered the communication process, both in society and now increasingly in business. Today’s clients demand new, highly differentiated services that providers must deliver to stay competitive. In this increasingly competitive market, the most pioneering companies are staying ahead of the curve by offering a richer, more integrated customer experience—which requires a constant analysis of key trends in the customer landscape.
The following are seven emerging trends that promise to dramatically alter the contact centre industry. Analysing and monitoring these trends is vital to creating a consistent, high-quality customer experience.
Omni-channel: Creating a universal customer experience
In order to provide a universal customer experience, contact centres are looking to respond to customers with a single, unified customer view, regardless of the channel of interaction. Essentially, contact from each channel (email, chat, voice and more) must carry over to subsequent channels to provide a rounded view of the customer. As the pursuit of this omni-channel experience grows, a natural decrease in use of email and voice platforms occurs, as well as a significant spike in social media.
Service to sales
Clients are expressing an increasing
desire to turn contact centres around for revenue-generation. Already most staffers manning customer service or technology help desks are expected to upsell products in addition to assisting customers in resolving issues. This will pick up significantly as the potential for increase in revenue is recognised. Intuitive technology plays right into this trend with “next-best-action” offers and sales-based “customised solutions” that are fast replacing traditional “fixes”.
Transaction to interaction
Contact centres are rapidly evolving into a valuable source of business intelligence. A special breed of “super-agent” is emerging: the role of a highly-informed agent empowered to solve all issues during an interaction, rather than transferring the customer to various departments to resolve various queries. These super-agents are increasingly equipped with technology-enabled feedback and next-generation knowledge management tools that drive intuitive customer relationship management (CRM). This level of interaction requires highly trained agents who can handle complex calls and focus on more than simple problem-solving. They are evaluated less on transactional measures like compliance, handle time and service levels, and more on “quality of interaction” and customer satisfaction surveys.
As the digital world develops, contact centres are dramatically expanding social media services. They are focusing on customer and technical support, monitoring, real-time engagement, proactive contact, and even sales. In addition to one-to-one on social, community-based interactions are taking place on discussion threads, wikis, blogs, podcasts, and more as technology evolves.
Digital evolution is globalising even the smallest of organisations. More and more clients are demanding service providers with global services: encompassing multiple geographies, cities, languages, and channels. They need partners that can deliver with velocity, anywhere in the world, at any given time.
Intelligent voice recognition (IVR) technology is enabling automated business transactions, and the use of intelligent and intuitive robots is expanding into automated customer query responses. This advancement reduces the need for phone agents and allows qualified talent to focus instead on more complex work, where human intervention is required.
Advanced analytics capabilities (like predictive modeling) are transforming contact centres around end-to-end service interaction management. Agents can use these capabilities to provide a 360-degree view of a customer for every interaction, which gives them the most relevant and appropriate solution for that specific customer.
The writer is vice-president and country leader, Concentrix India
Ravinder Singh Rana