By Content Guru
In the contact centre industry, looking backwards can often give us a clear indicator of what lies ahead. 2020 brought with it both personal and professional challenges no one could have predicted. However, the coronavirus crisis marked a clear turning point for the contact centre – one that has laid the foundations for further changes on the horizon.
Indeed, many of the tools, technologies and techniques that enabled the sector to navigate the pandemic – through lockdowns, infection scares and financial concerns – have put the contact centre on a course of continuing innovation and disruption for the decade ahead.
Let’s take a look at some of the emergent factors set to fuel the contact centre of the future.
Flexible Working Becomes the New Norm
At the start of 2020, contact centres that had already adopted modern cloud technologies were able to pivot in a matter of days to successfully implement new distributed working models. Enabling agents to work securely and compliantly from home, even when handling payments, was just the start. Organisations have also used their contact centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) solutions to manage everything from workforce performance and wellbeing, to delivering support and training tailored exactly to the real-time needs of individual agents.
For many, the remote and hybrid models implemented in 2020 will determine how they resource contact centre operations in the future. This will usher in an era, in which agents will have more flexible working options, and organisations will be able to access greater operational agility, essential for coping with evolving market demands.
Working Smarter – with Greater Granular Control
Intelligent automation and smart scheduling tools have certainly proved their worth as contact centres strived to optimise resource utilisation in the context of agent availability. Indeed, today’s AI powered Workforce Optimisation (WFO) has proved highly effective at ensuring schedules are kept at peak efficiency, while giving agents maximum control over the hours they want to work.
Alongside automated services, intelligent routing, and real-time reporting, today’s CCaaS solutions make it possible to ensure that agents are always presented with a familiar desktop – complete with the call recording facilities and integrated information databases they needed to perform – regardless of their location.
Some organisations have even taken advantage of their integrated CCaaS and unified communications environment to garner feedback from agents at the drop of a hat via virtual quality improvement ‘huddles’. Using these insights, contact centre leaders are able to tweak workflows to improve how agents interact with calls, or the information systems they depend on to serve customers.
The Rise of the Bot – Delivering CX with a Human Touch
Having found themselves at times wholly dependent on digital and remote services to undertake everyday life tasks, consumers will increasingly expect to encounter streamlined experiences, no matter which channel they choose to interact with brands over.
While AI, chatbots, smart speakers and virtual assistants aren’t new, the rapid expansion of digital channels during the pandemic saw more contact centres adopting such technologies to cut response times and sustain the mass delivery of high-quality personalised customer experiences.
Capable of sustaining humanised two-way conversations and even detecting a caller’s current mood, AI assistants are fast becoming mainstream in digital channels. In time, expect the role of contact centre agents to evolve, as they increasingly work in collaboration with these technologies to deliver efficient customer experiences with a human touch.
The last 12 months have presented contact centres with an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate digital transformation. In the coming years, they will continue to evolve into value-driven customer engagement hubs capable of orchestrating end-to-end, intuitive customer experiences across every channel.
Keep up with customer expectations. Enhance your CX today: https://bit.ly/37DMdJ3