Forward-looking trends.

People in masks during pandemic
A new way or re-imagine customer’s habits

In previous articles we have talked about what awaits companies after 2020-2021 and how this crisis forced various sectors to reimagine their companies to meet the needs of the people. The solution in many cases required the services of a contact center; a very specific sector was governments and health systems, which were able to meet the high demand caused by the pandemic thanks to robust contact centers.

Customer expectations have changed and, consequently, the way of serving them will also change. If you have had the opportunity to visit, work or require the services of a contact center, get ready, because in this decade they will change with the following trends:

Multichannel and Omnichannel Service

The multichannel service is to offer unified attention in various media such as: telephone line, email, chat, social networks and physical presence. The omnichannel consists of using a single interface that connects data between these channels in order to make the information flow in an agile way. In other words, it is like having the same voice but in different places online and offline to give the customer more options and, at the same time, agents can have a complete context of the customer with each interaction.

It is about offering more options but not about deleting the current ones. While it is true that recent generations are increasingly avoiding phone calls, an Accenture study indicates that Covid-19 pandemic caused them to rebound particularly when it comes to solving complex or urgent matters. According to this report, 58% of customers prefer to resolve issues via phone calls than any other channel, while 57% defined them as their initial channel of preference to ask, explain or negotiate with the customer service area.

Omnichannel allows you to increase the number of potential customers by being present in media where you were not previously. It also leaves a trail of which channel customers prefer for a more effective marketing strategy.

Contact Centers + Remote access

Working in facilities allows better control of staff behavior: see what they are doing, prevent them from using cameras when dealing with sensitive information, have full knowledge of the conditions of their work tools, etc. Although home office was revealed as the ideal solution for many companies during this pandemic, it is also true that there are certain jobs that require certain procedures to monitor good practices as well as the use of protocols, and working at the office allows it by following the appropriate sanitary measures.

For this reason, new contact centers should consider the establishment of an infrastructure that includes secondary systems that adjust to the new remote work scenarios and allow end-to-end security under a Zero Trust Security model. That is, a model that assumes that untrusted actors are inside and outside the network and therefore requires powerful identity services to ensure access and information in order to prevent attacks by cybercriminals. In this decade of the 20s, we change the “trust but verify” statement for “never trust, always verify”.

Another factor to consider in remote work will be the new management by supervisors through daily reviews to calibrate the results and goals that will now be remotely supervised. Collaborative tools like Monday or Slack (just to mention the most popular) can help organize and measure contact center performance.

On the cloud

From the previous point, remote work demonstrated that the cloud provides greater flexibility and scalability to work. In this regard, the IT research and consulting company Gartner affirms that by 2024 more than 45% of IT spending on systems, software, apps and business processes will go from the traditional to the cloud.

If there were fears of having a whole system in something that could not be seen or touched, the pandemic demonstrated that this intangible place called “cloud” offers ease of use, independence and trust for many contact centers and their business partners.

Perfecting virtual assistants

You may think that the last thing a contact center would need is to offer a virtual assistant service. However, customers increasingly demand an immediate 24/7 response, so a chatbot can help to receive the desired attention in a timely manner, leaving more specific cases for people that require solving valuable and more complex issues. In other words, the virtual assistant will not be a successor to phone calls or chats but an ally.

A service of this type that is optimally structured based on priorities, as well as well measured and calibrated according to tests and feedback, will be a tool that will help you manage high demand as well as improve the user experience. Gartner estimates that by 2022 70% of administrative employees will interact daily with conversational platforms such as chatbots in order to save time and effort as long as they are properly implemented and monitored.

Information at customer service

Do not get confused! The fact that virtual assistants have a greater preponderance does not mean that human contact will continue to be the center. Pandemic has proven that both can do a great team.

In fact, it is the ideal time to take advantage of the data that your company has available to allow you to predict changes in the needs of your customers. The contact centers of the future will seek above all to generate value in real time based on information about the behavior of their consumers; this is what will make them feel closer to a brand even though they are spatially far away.

All these trends make us completely renew the idea we had of contact centers as workplaces, however, there is something that remains: it is estimated that in 2025 calls will continue to be the epicenter of interactions with customers. However, this will only be if agents evolve as brand ambassadors who use technology to create loyalty-building connections in a way machines never will.

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