At Spearline, many of our customers have contact centers situated worldwide, used for customer service, sales, and product information. Therefore, one of the purposes of the Spearline blog is to educate our readers and update them with the latest and most relevant pieces of information, including trends in the contact center industry.
While looking at multiple sources and news articles, one particular guide provided some interesting insights surrounding the contact center and communications sector. Ultimate.ai’s ‘Navigating Customer Service 2021: The Year of Transformation’ free guide explores how COVID impacted the customer service industry. It also answered several vital questions thought leaders around the world are constantly asking, such as:
- What role will technology play in the post-covid customer experience and customer service landscape?
- Which new channels will be vital for customer communication and relationship management?
- What’s on the horizon for 2021?
We thought we’d look at these current trends in the contact center industry and predict where things may are heading.
1. Customers still rely on voice as their primary channel for customer service
In a survey conducted by CGS, it was interesting and reassuring to know that customers still rely on voice as their number one method of communicating with a customer service agent. Despite the rise in omnichannel over the past decade, respondents of the survey cite having an “opportunity to speak to a human agent” as one of the top three requirements for ensuring they leave a customer service interaction happy. The study also found just over 17% of U.S. and U.K. consumers were disappointed in the inability of chatbots to resolve their issues. Because voice is so popular, your audio channels must provide the best experience possible for both your customers and your agents.
Fig 1: Screenshot taken from GCS’ infographic survey ‘Is Covid-19 Illuminating Cracks in Customer Service?‘
2. Virtual “Live” Events
Since the global pandemic forced live events online, virtual event technology took off in 2020. Virtual event software startup Hopin raised $125 million in Series B funding, raising its status to a double unicorn. To date, Hopin now has more than 3.5 million users, and over 50,000 groups hosting events use its software. Hopin CEO, Johnny Boufarhat, hopes that the platform will continue to advance where other technologies can intersect as the world adapts with emerging technologies. One technology Hopin wants to work with, in particular, is the adoption of third-party VR technology. The company has also begun adding capabilities around its original events platform, like a new “Hopin Explore” website that will allow regular folks to sort events by speaker, topic, and other parameters. Perhaps Hopin Events will help drive interest in events that the startup hosts on the site, making its service more attractive over competing companies’ own.
Hopin is somewhat expensively priced for its current ARR. But if it can keep up its rapid growth, the startup may quickly grow into its valuation. Especially if it can keep close to profitability as it scales. It will be interesting to see how far Hopin can go in the next quarter or two and whether we can receive another ARR number from the firm before the end of 2021.
3. The adoption of contact center Speech Analytics
Spearline’s whitepaper titled the ‘2020 Global Telecom Quality of Service Report’ found that over 84% of contact center professionals believe that the use of speech analytics will increase over the next five to 10 years, with just under half certain of the rise. This will lead to a more informed contact center to work on the customer experience and troubleshoot technical problems. In addition, data from such analytics provides managers with more critical and accessible information, allowing them to coach their teams better and implement superior strategies to improve the customer experience.
Fig. 2: Survey taken from Spearline’s 2020 Global Telecoms Report.
4. Migration to the cloud
Cloud-based contact centers are network-based services in which a provider owns and operates the call center technology. They then provide the services remotely to businesses, usually through a subscription model. This model can dramatically reduce costs and increase revenues as expensive investments in hardware are no longer a requirement. Migration to the cloud also facilitates remote working and can store data at a lower cost without physical servers.
5. Data security and privacy
Furthering the previous point, data security and privacy are becoming increasingly more critical, with the security field expected to grow by 12 to 15% year-over-year in 2021, according to Flavio Martins, VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc.
Because customers are becoming more liberal with their data and are willing to give up their privacy in exchange for a valuable service, customer service agents need to stay a step ahead in protecting the customer. Brushing up on the automated security tools available to them, such as online vulnerability management solutions, can achieve this successfully. Many of these solutions are modular, scalable, and adapted to cloud technology, helping to prove the concept in a few weeks or even days.
Some other notable statistics worth mentioning were recently compiled in the Tech Jury article ‘How Fast Is Technology Advancing in 2021?’ They reported that:
- Globally, there are about 1.35 million tech startups around the world.
- The number of smart devices collecting, analyzing, and sharing data should hit 50 billion by 2030.
- The highest number of transistors that fit into a microprocessor as of 2019 is 39.54 billion.
- The computing and processing capacity of computers hits double figures every 18 months.
- The world has produced 90% of its Big Data in the past two years.
- In Q1 of 2021, 4.66 billion people are using the internet.
- By 2025, there will be 75 billion connected devices in the world.
“During covid, customer service agents were the first line of support for customers with pandemic questions. They handled the increased burden admirably and were the heroes for many companies. Without them battling on the front lines, firms would not have been able to weather 2020.
Going forward, customer service agents will demand more from their employers: more respect, more support, more freedom. I believe the whole industry will need to rethink how they handle customer service because the burden put on agents during covid was unacceptable and unsustainable. In 2021, the whole industry needs to step up in the same way the agents were able to.”
Find out more about Spearline
If you are new to Spearline and would like to find out more about how you can benefit from the platform, we would love to speak with you. Please send us a brief message, and we will be in contact with you shortly. Spearline’s platform proactively tests inbound telecommunications services, as well as dial-out. Connectivity and audio quality are monitored on fixed-line, SIP, or mobile networks, globally. Spearline enables organizations to provide uninterrupted services to customers around the world. For further information, or if you have any further questions please get in touch with us.