The year 2020 was game-changing regarding how COVID transformed the world and influenced all business spheres. Contact center experience had to adapt to a whopping amount of calls changing their way of work. Now, after the situation has stabilized and contact centers adapted to the new challenges arising, market fluctuations and recession make business owners reshape their operations to address modern challenges. This article will investigate what call center trends will be pivotal in 2023.
Top contact center trends for 2023
Keeping up with remote work and advancing it
The remote work model has become dominant for the last couple of years. However, after the pandemic, remote employees have gradually decreased. Such a diminishment opened the way to hybrid work models that the contact centers favor. The significant benefits include reducing operational costs and broader options for global employment. However, some obstacles such as supervising productivity and training need to be surmounted.
Focus on automation and active implementation of AI
Deloitte's research shows that around 75% contact centers are likely to shift to cloud-based systems and implement AI technology in the next two years. Managers are firmly convinced that integrating cutting-edge contact center technologies can deliver a superior customer experience. Staying current with the latest industry trends is essential for meeting customer expectations.
Call centers of the future can use automation in different ways, from simple activities like transferring tickets and exporting data reports to more advanced functions like optimizing outreach through predictive dialers and outbound IVR systems.
According to Gartner's predictions, implementing conversational AI technologies like chatbots and IVR systems will bring about an $80 billion reduction in agent labor costs by 2026. Coupled with the customer service trends in 2023, it's apparent that AI will be one of the most noteworthy trends in the next few years.
Customer service is a king
The contact center industry has recently become increasingly focused on delivering exceptional customer experiences. According to McKinsey's 2022 State of Customer Care report, enhancing customer experience has emerged as the fastest-growing priority area for customer care leaders, registering a growth of 19% in the last three years alone. This trend is primarily motivated by the importance of customer retention, which not only helps to maintain revenue but also has a positive impact on a company's overall profitability.
Real voice communication
For handling complex issues, customer service professionals heavily rely on voice as their preferred communication channel, with around 80% selecting it. It is an irreplaceable medium for several reasons. For customers, it instills confidence that their inquiries are handled efficiently and empathetically. For businesses, it serves as a vital tool for addressing time-sensitive matters like issue resolution, appointment scheduling, and sales closures.
Another trend that's quite clear in the industry is the growing use of voice-over-Internet Protocol technology (VoIP), which has superseded the traditional landline phone system. According to research conducted in 2022, 90% of businesses using VoIP have reported saving costs on international calls, and 75% have saved on overall operating expenses.
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How do rising customers' expectations affect the provided service?
The recent CX Trends report claims customer experience has gained more significance for users and companies in the past year. Personalized interactions are often seen as critical in delivering an enhanced experience for many clients.
As a business, it's essential to acknowledge the importance of personalization and understand what it entails, how it benefits the customer experience, and how to implement it effectively. This approach improves customer service, making it convenient and much faster. After the pandemic, personalization is the thing people are looking for while shopping or applying for services. Customers have not become more lenient and are still likely to switch to a competitor after one negative experience.
How should telcos deliver seamless and efficient customer service to meet clients' expectations?
Companies with effective omnichannel engagement have a significantly higher customer retention rate of 89%. Businesses with weak omnichannel strategies have a meager retention rate of only 33%. Telcos that embrace the latest trends in intelligent automation, self-service, and AI-powered tools can stay ahead of the competition and deliver excellent customer experiences at every touchpoint. Clients require consistent and personalized service across all channels, whether through live chat, chatbots, virtual help, or other means.
Live human-to-human talks
With all the advances of the digital era, people still have good old-fashioned talks. The emotional liaison between two persons can be an excellent core to fixing issues and providing proper customer service. Machines or bots may simply irritate a customer when there's a need to find a fast solution to the problem. Usually, people look for a fast way to turn to live operators rather than answering generic chatbot questions. A recent study found that a significant proportion of consumers, specifically 46%, felt that chatbots were deliberately obstructing their ability to connect with a live agent.
Although chatbots can be efficient, 40% of internet users still prefer interacting with human agents rather than automated chatbots. This highlights the ongoing importance of investing in human customer service representatives. To ensure excellent service, in the future contact center, companies should view their agents as valuable assets and equip them with top-notch software tools.
Advanced AI analytics and data
Contact center analytics possess a wealth of data that can be harnessed to track and analyze key customer satisfaction indicators. By doing so, they can gain critical insights that enable proactive measures to improve the overall customer experience. AI-powered digital tools and Big Data analysis can help identify and solve problems, allowing optimized customer interactions. By prioritizing customer data analysis and leveraging advanced technology, telcos can not only meet but exceed customer expectations and foster long-term loyalty.
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The emergence of new technologies
Contact center technologies like AI and automation have had a transformative impact on the digital customer experience and have taken their leading position in contact center automation trends. These emerging technologies allow businesses to increase efficiency, streamline operations, and engage with a broader audience than ever before. For this reason, 91% of call center leaders have made automation a critical priority for the upcoming year. As AI continues to revolutionize the marketplace and shape the future of the contact center experience, organizations need to be ready to adopt and implement these innovative solutions.
Chatbots are software programs designed to emulate human-like conversations with users, primarily through text or voice interfaces. They can understand and answer immediately to customer queries, eliminating the need for human operators.
Technology is widely used in various industries. In call centers, chatbots are employed to perform routine customer service tasks, such as responding to inquiries, providing recommendations, and delivering support. As per IBM stats, chatbots can reduce around 30% of customer service costs by answering 80% of routine questions and speeding up response times.
With their advanced machine learning algorithms and natural language processing capabilities, chatbots can efficiently handle a high volume of interactions while simultaneously improving the overall customer experience.
Incorporating AI and chatbots into the organization
AI-powered chatbots became a tool that significantly helped to improve operations, save costs, and enhance the customer experience within the company. One vivid example is the implementation of such technology by Vodafone. The company presented its custom chatbot called TOBi. This digital chat assistant can help customers with various tasks, including bill payments, plan upgrades, and troubleshooting. Vodafone has also implemented automation to handle routine tasks like network monitoring and traffic management.
Capital One created a virtual assistant called Eno. It provides customers with account information and transaction history and helps them dispute charges. Eno can also create custom notifications and alerts to help them manage their finances.
The above two examples are just a few out of hundreds. Despite the size of your company or its performance, the fast evolution of the digital era makes everybody implement changes. First, adding to your business and operational routines such a revolutionary thing as AI automation or a high-skilled chatbot may seem hectic. However, it is easier than it seems. If you don't have the right set of skills, you need a trusted vendor.
The importance of contact center analytics
Call center analytics is the practice of collecting and analyzing data from call centers to improve the overall customer experience, agent performance, and operational efficiency. It goes beyond just examining call duration and includes assessing other human factors affecting the quality of the calls and customer experience.
The key analytics to consider for a best-in-class contact center
Speech analytics involves analyzing audio streams, voicemail, and IVR responses using advanced technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Identifying trigger words, speech patterns, and tone changes can provide insights into the customer experience and help improve call center operations.
Interaction analytics focuses on improving agent training, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction by analyzing interactions between customers and agents across multiple channels. It reveals real business communications and customer relationships.
Predictive analytics uses historical data to predict customer behavior and help contact centers identify potential issues before they arise. Driven by AI, ML, and automation, it can provide insights into customer preferences and help contact centers take proactive steps to prevent issues.
Text analytics uses Natural Language Processing to derive insights from text data without speech transcription. It can help identify crucial customer information, recurring issues, and sentiments, providing valuable insights for contact centers. Ensuring contact center analytics are used ethically and with customers' privacy in mind is essential.
The Future of contact center software
Incorporating AI and machine learning will touch every company. The chatbots, natural language processing, and sentiment analysis will help better understand and reply to customer needs.
Contact software will be closely integrated with CRM and other business systems to make it easier for employees to manage customer data. Cloud-based solutions will be absolutely a must. All because of their flexibility and cost-effectiveness. It will be a part of hybrid model work, allowing agents to work worldwide and keep the data safe and structured.
The communication channels will be broadened, including phone, email, chat, social media, and messaging apps. The contact center software will need to adapt and create a sophisticated and integrated approach to managing customer interactions across multiple channels.
Data analytics and reporting will be essential in understanding how customers interact with businesses and how contact centers can improve the customer experience. Contact center software will help companies make data-driven decisions and continuously improve by tracking customer satisfaction and agent performance metrics.
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The contact center industry is rapidly developing to cater to customers' changing needs and meet rising expectations. The pandemic has brought forth several challenges that services have adapted to, but the focus is now on reshaping operations to address modern challenges. The critical call center trends driving the industry in 2023 include:
A focus on automation and AI.
Delivering exceptional customer service.
Using real voice communication.
Telcos that adopt these contact center technology trends will have a significant competitive advantage and be able to deliver seamless and efficient customer service to meet clients' expectations.