For all the grief, losses, and setbacks the pandemic unleashed, there is a general consensus that it also sparked a revolution on the technical front. The adoption rate of new and evolving technologies accelerated at unseen speeds—resulting in 10 years’ worth of change within a mere 10 months. Contact center technologies are certainly in the mix of acceleration. In fact, many recent developments promise to reshape the landscape of customer service completely.
The most recent publication from Ryan Strategic Advisory surveyed contact center leaders about the state of the industry. We dug into their sentiments and expectations about the future of five key contact center technologies. Read on!
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Data protection and information security continue to be the number one investment priority across in-house contact centers. 84% of contact centers around the globe already have some capability in data analytics as it relates to the customer experience, particularly in the realm of data collection. As such, it’s clear why protecting the security and privacy of an ever-increasing amount of customer data is of such great importance—particularly as emerging and evolving regulation continues to be a challenge.
The pandemic also had a unique impact in this area. As both frontline agents and customers went remote, the amount of available data exponentially increased. If privacy and security weren’t already the focus for companies, they certainly shot into the spotlight during the last year.
Other areas of customer experience data analytics are likely to continue growing in use and popularity in many contact centers. These include customer demographic segmentation (currently used by 75% of in-house contact centers), data analysis (61%), real-time analytics (60%), and personalization capabilities (52%).
Cloud-based contact center technologies are nothing new, yet 93% of leaders feel that these tools and capabilities will increase in demand over the next 12 months. Not surprisingly, then, cloud is also the third highest investment priority for in-house contact center leaders.
So, with few exceptions, cloud technology will continue to shape the industry over the next year. For in-house centers working with on-prem platforms, it may be the year of migration. Plus, at the end of the day, with so many leaders pushing to migrate any and all capabilities in their contact center to the cloud, it’s also a matter of simple competition. Flexibility with robust security will likely win the day.
83% of contact center leaders report that artificial intelligence is likely to increase in demand over the next year—and it’s also the 9th highest investment priority for in-house centers. This lines up with market predictions; contact center AI is expected to soar from $800 million in 2019 to $2.8 billion by 2024.
The opportunities for AI in the contact center are boundless and can drive not only efficiency, but in many cases, a better experience for both the customer and the agent. AI serves to handle transactional interactions, which helps reduce call volume routed to live agents and shorten the customer journey for customers with straightforward issues. In other cases, AI can complement the work of live agents, providing sentiment analysis, personalization options, and other key data that all helps result in a more positive, personalized experience. Other AI opportunities might look like smarter predictive, behavioral-based call routing.
Implementing knowledge management solutions into the customer experience is the fourth highest investment priority for in-house contact centers over the next year—and 73% of leaders believe they’ll see increased demand for this technology over that same timespan.
Historically, frontline agents go through upfront and ongoing training that gives them the knowledge they need to respond to customer queries. This practice has been reinforced by a myriad of spreadsheets, shared file drives, or even paper files and announcements that address processes, sales, changes, and new information regarding a product or service. This worked—to some extent—when the rest of the world functioned in the same way. But with the increase in omnichannel capabilities, virtual environments, and AI-based solutions, the benefits for efficiency and improved experience are clear. As companies get back on their feet after the pandemic, knowledge management is a priority. With the likelihood that most companies will have more work-at-home agents then pre-pandemic, providing easy access to up-to-the-minute knowledge is more important than ever – after all, in a WAH model, it’s not as simple as turning to the agent beside you to get an answer to something you might not know.
Enter knowledge management technologies: a streamlined, centralized way to store and disseminate the content that agents need to serve customers well. Many of these technologies leverage artificial intelligence to identify and deliver personalized knowledge, all at the agent’s fingertips. In other cases, it improves the self-service customer experience, which shortens the customer journey and builds brand loyalty. Ultimately, the right knowledge management technology helps to eliminate information silos, speed up resolution, deliver more relevant information, and, of course, delight the customer.
Compared to some of these other technologies, blockchain is still the relatively new kid on the, ahem, block—especially in the contact center. Blockchain has built its reputation for digital transformation in the finance industry as well as its staggering implications for the healthcare sector. But in the contact center industry, where astronomical amounts of data are being collected, it’s steadily gaining interest, with 67% of leaders expecting an increase in demand over the next 12 months.
The decentralized ledger that blockchain is built upon promises a highly accurate record of transactions and interactions. In the contact center industry, this technology can help remove any distrust between the consumer and a brand’s customer service. There are also implications for process improvements, data security, brand loyalty, and overall digital transformation within the customer care sector.