Digital transformation is slowly becoming one of the corporate-speak buzzwords thrown around so much that they lose their original meaning. Essentially, digital transformation is all about businesses adapting to new technology in ways that best meet their organizational goals. Although skilled agents make up a successful call center, call centers are still extremely dependent on technology.
Agents and technology have to work in harmony to ensure a call center provides the best customer experience possible. Given the necessity for adaptation, here are some top call center trends for 2021.
AI-Driven Customer Interactions
As businesses continue to integrate predictive analytics, AI will have a central role in streamlining call center experiences for agents and customers. AI is currently a strategic priority for approximately 83% of businesses, with 54% of executives attesting to AI’s ability to increase productivity.
How Will AI Improve Call Centers?
Understanding Customer Needs
Contrary to popular opinion, AI is not meant to substitute call center agents. AI and machine learning help streamline the once restrictive, clunky and often frustrating automated processes such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
Although IVR systems work well in certain circumstances, they can be too deterministic. The typically restrictive outputs for each input often force customers to settle for options that do not match their issues. However, using AI and machine learning, call technology software will start making decisions based on similar past encounters.
Building Customer Profiles
Thanks to machine learning and data collection, finding the next “best steps” for specific customers has never been easier. Call technology software will begin to build strong customer profiles using data derived from previous customer interactions. These profiles will dramatically improve call centers’ abilities to provide personalized recommendations to their customers.
Omnichannel Contact Centers
Unifying contact channels will continue to separate the proactive call centers from their reactive counterparts in 2021. An omnichannel approach encourages call centers to view the customer experience holistically.
More contact centers realize that while customer journeys may start on one channel, receiving valuable customer feedback and insight often happens on completely different channels. Unifying customer interactions across multiple channels will help businesses resolve customer issues much faster while identifying more lucrative opportunities for future sales.
Long gone are the days of overdependence on a supervisor’s manual observation skills to maximize the agents’ potential. Nowadays, even small businesses use call center analytics to transform data such as call and screen recordings, text messages and chats into valuable feedback.
More omnichannel contact centers will adopt analytics programs to develop their dashboards with statistics relevant to their operations. Statistical dashboards will enable managers and call agents to receive real-time updates on important metrics and customer experiences.
Cloud-based solutions are quickly becoming the norm for most businesses. A staggering 96% of companies have used at least one cloud software in the past two years. For call centers, shifting to a cloud-based model could offer more flexibility when scaling business operations.
Businesses that manage their own hardware and software often end up limiting their growth potential. Cloud-based services allow businesses to scale according to the magnitude of their operations by outsourcing their non-core functions.
Despite being relatively new, recall technology will set its mark in 2021. This message filtering technology essentially removes mistakes or errors in messages without changing the flow of a conversation. Using recall technology, call centers can ensure that their customers only receive high-quality messages.