Contact Center Trends: The Current State of Affairs

Contact Center Trends: The Current State and 6 Key Forces at Play – Medallia Talks

It is the dawn of a new era. Here are the top contact center trends that are driving change in organizations.

When we reflect on the key contact center trends at play, it’s clear that we are witnessing the emergence of a decade of great challenges, but also great opportunities.

It’s been a while since we’ve talked so much about growth in the contact center. Before the pandemic, many analysts predicted a steady year-over-year decline in the importance of channels and talent costs, as artificial intelligence supports more of the simplest engagements.

It’s not that anyone got it wrong; it was a perfectly accurate description of the needs of the client and, therefore, of the business at the time. But no one could have predicted that we would lose the entire face-to-face customer channel for such a long time. Very few were truly prepared for the need for everyone within the contact center to work remotely, with no warning or preparation.

From this challenge, however, was born innovation.

It’s the dawn of a new era for the contact center, one fueled by rapid decision-making and agile execution.

To see how we got here, let’s dive into the six key contact center trends that led to where we are today and how contact center leaders leading strategic brands are seizing the moment and seizing these opportunities to move from the front.

6 key contact center trends you need to know
#1: The rise of digital

The rise of digital within the contact center is a story that has persisted within organizations for 20 years. But over the past few years, of course, we’ve seen huge advances in digital accelerating the de-siloing of the contact center from other departments that impact the overall customer experience, especially digital. If we think back to the traditional contact center and its silos, it was a channel full of contact center professionals who didn’t always have the ability to be connected to the world outside the contact center. And the other channels in the organization didn’t know much about the contact center.

What we’ve seen over the past few years has been a real movement to create more efficiency within the contact center.

And as the role of digital in the customer experience has become a much larger channel, we have seen the emergence and subsequent customer acceptance of live chat – with live chat eventually being absorbed by the contact center , leading to the evolution of new, versatile contact center agents. These people can go from managing phones one day to simultaneously running live chat sessions the next. Ultimately, this led to a real convergence of skills and a breakdown of the silos between the contact center and digital.

#2: Self-service appointments

Around the same time we’ve seen the rise of live chat, over the past five years we’ve seen customers take the initiative to get the answers and support they need via free -service.

Gone is the impulse to call the contact center first. These days, when customers ask agents for help, they’ve typically exhausted many, if not all, other channels. Instead of being the first point of contact, today’s contact center is now the third or fourth point of contact — it’s the escalation channel.

And it has accelerated the need for contact centers to change. Agents no longer answer simple questions. Customers resolve these minor issues through self-service. Today people who need help contact after trying to get needed help or information through any combination of resources, be it website, app , help desk and knowledge base content of a given brand, or social channels. It is only after these channels have not all provided responses that customers end up contacting the contact center. And when they do, it’s, unsurprisingly, to get help with increasingly complex challenges.

#3: Data accessibility

Just as the rise of digital has helped break down the silos between contact center management and digital channels, it has also helped break down barriers to data sharing within the organization.

One of the toughest challenges of the traditional contact center has been the lack of data sharing. Over the past five years, we have seen the emergence and acceptance of data lakes and data sharing across channels. It doesn’t happen everywhere, but it certainly does in medium to more mature organizations.

Even if the management of these channels is still compartmentalized, companies have at least been able to de-isolate their data, which has enabled them to acquire knowledge, learn and adapt their strategies all the more effectively.

#4: Emergence of omnichannel organizations

Mature organizations strive to become omnichannel operations. In other words, move forward by offering the same products at the same price with the same level of service on all their channels. It is this shift to omnichannel adoption that inherently promotes consistency of offerings across all channels and also helps break down silos.

#5: Availability of AI-based analytics

Customers want to find the quickest route to their goals, whether it’s buying an item or getting help with a problem they’re having. And shortening that path to conversion or service is what all businesses should aim for.

In an ideal world, we know that a high proportion of our customers prefer self-service – which is why, as mentioned above, live chat was so easily adopted.

But also, from a purely financial point of view, we know that all the calls handled by the contact center are also extremely costly for companies.

That’s why it’s not just helpful for organizations to understand what drives the most calls and what additional self-service resources can be offered to avoid calls. After all, brands should keep in mind that a certain level of appeal is to be expected. That’s why the goal isn’t to completely eliminate calls, it’s about learning how to best manage calls.

And the data available within the contact center is a goldmine of learning opportunities.

So many other efficiencies can be achieved from the contact center. There are so many topics that agents can be trained in that could lead to much higher levels of productivity. Organizations may even find that they may need fewer agents to handle the same number of calls.

By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, such as text analysis and AI-based voice informationbrands have the power to reduce their spend on frontline agents and improve their NPS®.

This is why it is really essential to seize this opportunity to learn from the data stored in the contact center. Even the most successful organizations have an interest in finding ways to achieve marginal gains. In today’s highly competitive environment, being able to answer calls a little faster and answer customer questions a little better can yield significant results.

#6: Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

The global pandemic has left organizations understaffed and struggling to adapt to remote and hybrid work environments. In these circumstances, it is more important than ever to ensure data transparency within the team to support the transition to a more agile and flexible working environment, especially in a contact center environment where there is no There’s no reason agents can’t work in a fully distributed capacity.

We’ve also seen organizations get ahead of the game by upskilling their agents to embrace these changes and adapt to the new needs of the day. It is in this climate that a major telecommunications brand we work with has succeeded in enabling its retail employees to translate their skills into contact center agents to meet the growing demand within the contact center. .

Medallia is the pioneer and market leader in experience management.

Medallia’s award-winning SaaS platform, Medallia Experience Cloud, leads the market in understanding and managing the experience for customers, employees and citizens.

Using Medallia Experience Cloud, customers can reduce churn, turn detractors into promoters and buyers, create in-the-moment cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and make revenue-impacting business decisions, delivering clear and powerful returns on investment.

Whether you’re looking to empower agents or operations teams, Medallia can help you create better experiences for your teams and customers.