Contact Center Future Trends Shaping Customer Service

With customer service becoming the key to standing out from competitors in today’s economy, contact center technology has become essential for today’s successful business. The contact center is experiencing the same digital transformation that is rippling throughout the rest of the economy, driven by today’s top technological innovations. Leading trends shaping contact center advances include the rise of cloud virtualization, the omnichannel effect of the mobile revolution, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics. Here’s a look at how tomorrow’s contact center future trends are being shaped by today’s cutting-edge technology innovations.

Virtual Contact Center Software Is Shifting Support to the Cloud

The cloud has become the dominant method of delivering infrastructure and software services, displacing the traditional IT center, setting the stage for the traditional contact center to migrate to the cloud as well. As of late 2016, 25 percent of contact centers had already migrated to the cloud, while 28 percent had begun a partial transition, and 21 percent had plans to migrate within the year, a survey by 8x8 in partnership with the CCNG Contact Center & Customer Care Industry Professional Network showed. Disaster recovery planning, scalability, and lower ownership costs were some of the top reasons for migrating to the cloud, the survey found. Using cloud-based virtual contact center software also enhances efficiency, allowing companies to use a single communications interface and vendor, in contrast to the traditional call center, which relies upon an average of 18 different vendors, according to CCNG’s research. The cloud further empowers contact centers to take advantage of technologies such as data syncing, CRM integration, contact center analytics, and skills-based routing. By 2020, the popularity of cloud-based solutions will help the contact center market grow to a value of $9.8 billion, IDC projects.

The Mobile Revolution Is Driving Omnichannel Integration

The mobile revolution has been one of the most dominant technological trends of the last decade, and one of its impacts has been the promotion of an omnichannel customer service model. Whereas landline phones and email were once the primary means for customers to contact support teams, thanks to mobile phones, customers are just as likely to use self-service web portal options, live chat, or social media. At the same time, customers still want the ability to reach a live person over the phone when they need it, with Google research finding that customers prefer phone support when they need a quick answer or want to talk to a real person. Additionally, marketing strategies are now designed with omnichannel in mind, so that customer support tickets are more likely to originate from multiple channels. This makes omnichannel integration imperative for today’s call center. A Frost and Sullivan report reveals that omnichannel customer experience has become a top priority business and equipping call agents and managers to serve customers over all channels is considered critical.

Artificial Intelligence Is Automating Customer Interactions

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing society and business on all fronts, including the call center. Traditional phone menu customer service options have already been replaced by interactive voice response solutions that allow customers to access options by speaking. Today’s cutting-edge IVR solutions(5) now incorporate AI in order to provide smarter voice assistance, allowing customers to speak naturally when selecting menu options, identify callers and route them to the best available agents, and provide self-service options even outside of business hours. Chatbots have similarly brought AI to live chat, allowing companies to deliver automated support over the web and social media. By 2020, 25 percent of customer service interactions will be handled by chatbots, Gartner predicts.

Analytics Is Optimizing Call Center Performance

A byproduct of the rise of artificial intelligence has been the ascendance of big data analytics, which harnesses AI for business intelligence applications. By leveraging contact center analytics, call center managers can track and optimize key performance indicators that impact customer satisfaction levels, such as average time to answer calls, average hold time, and frequency of tickets resolved in a single call. Analytics also enables managers to track the performance of individual agents and teams for improved oversight and efficiency. Analytics can further be integrated with CRM data to identify a company’s hottest prospects and best customers, promoting increased sales efficiency and higher revenue. The majority of call center managers now regard advanced analytics as one of their top priorities, Capterra research has found.

Conclusion

The future of tomorrow’s call center is being shaped by today’s key technology trends, including the rise of the cloud, mobile omnichannel integration, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics. Call centers rely on their technology to empower them to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Virtual Contact Center you get world-class technology and everything your call center needs in one place. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form(9) to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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