What a couple of years we’ve had! Our heads are still spinning from the rapidity of the shift toward digital channel and cloud adoption, as the continuing health crisis forced our work environments and infrastructures to bed down in the virtual sphere. We are only now getting the breathing space to appreciate the implications of our enforced digital revolution.
Many of us are realizing that some of our decisions were a little hasty, while others have come to the realization that their tech stacks are just not sufficient for the still shifting contact center technology sands.
So now is a good time to think about the technologies that are going to be table stakes for 2023 and focus on the contact center trends that matter.
1. The omnichannel experience
Customers expect their journey with your service to be one, seamless informational river cruise. They want to use their preferred medium to interact with you, and they don’t want to have to tell you the same things over and over across a multitude of platforms and applications. They want omnichannel experiences and they are not for turning.
For contact centers to achieve optimal omnichannel support, agents must have immediate, frictionless access to customer data across all branded channels on one simple interface.
It’s an investment but it’s worth the outlay. For the customer, the experience with your service is smoother, simpler, and more intuitive. They don’t have to find the right person or department to deal with their issue, while the overall experience takes much less time.
For your business, there are savings to be made on time and resources, while the birdseye view that omnichannel frameworks provide facilitates greater insights into your customers’ journey. The end result; happy customers, stronger brand.
2. Conversational AI
Modern conversational AI applications are a far cry from the simple, if somewhat clunky, chatbots and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems of the past. Less Skynet, more SIRI; conversational AI has become more human and therefore more accessible for the customer. Conversations are richer, more authentic, more empathetic, while outcomes are more agreeable for all parties.
Contact centers are increasingly embracing conversational AI to complement their human agent workforce, and we foresee this trend gaining momentum in 2023. As end users’ comfort levels with AI grow, and demand for this more human type of automated interaction accelerates, businesses will have to step up to the AI plate. Freeing up human agents to focus on other, high-value tasks, while guiding customers along speedy, accurate conversation pathways, contact center AI is a value-laden technology worth exploring.
3. Data-driven personalized CX
Customers don’t like to feel like one of the faceless masses.
Why not use the data you are already collecting about your users to personalize your customer experiences (CX) and demonstrate how much you value and understand them as individuals? They will love you for it!
Personalized CX can range from the simple; using caller data to greet callers by name, sharing real-time data between agents and departments, intelligently routing callers along appropriate pathways, and prioritizing high value callers; to the complex; providing tailored gamification, personalized ads, and even prediction of intent to proactively deal with problems before callers even raise them with you. Whatever level of sophistication you choose to implement, rescuing customer data from silos to create a personalized experience will reap huge rewards.
4. Self-service tools
Self-service tools are a boon for the beleaguered caller who wants a resolution to an issue, not a scenic trip through your contact center departments. With self-service, callers go to your website, interact with a chatbot, who may well provide the information needed to resolve the issue, and, if needed, speak with the agent who is best equipped to assist them and who is now fully appraised of their issue, meaning the caller doesn’t need to repeat themselves.
But there are other self-service avenues: Community forums may provide a more suitable, faster resolution to a query, well-designed FAQ’s might do the trick, and having the facility to request a callback, reducing wait times and minimizing call queues. These are just some of the options that make self-service the convenient, inclusive, and empowering choice for your customers.
And that’s just the callers; your agents will thank you for self-service pathways too. Self-service means your agents don’t become enmeshed in dull, repetitive tasks that drain their enthusiasm and drive. Rather, they can focus on matters that truly require human intervention and that keep them challenged and fulfilled. The knock-on benefits for the business are much reduced resolution times, lower operational costs, more data gathering opportunities at self-service portals, and automated upselling/cross-selling opportunities.
The Wrap up
It’s looking like 2023 will be a year of reckoning for customer experience (CX) initiatives as companies try to balance their commitment to their customers while navigating a turbulent economy.
The common thread uniting the contact center trends we predict will move to the fore in 2023 is customer experience (CX). No matter what 2023 holds for contact center enterprises, this much will remain constant; exceptional CX guarantees success through any crisis. Keep CX at the core of every technology you employ and strive to strike a balance between the speed and accuracy of digital tools and the insight and empathy that only the human agent can provide.
New to Spearline?
Spearline provides quality assurance tools for business communication services, allowing you to proactively manage your inbound and outbound voice, SMS and fax services. Our latest WebRTC products offer testing, monitoring and support for web-based communications.
We work globally across business sectors, supporting contact centers, conferencing services, and more to successfully connect with their customers and employees. For further information, or if you have any further questions please get in touch.