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As a 20-year veteran of the contact center industry, I’ve been asked by Dizzion to present my take on the direction we can expect for the market in the coming year. Glad to help.
While there have been rapid advancements in – and adoption of – new technologies, much remains the same. The three core components of working in and running a contact center have remained constant: people, process, and technology. And, through the years I’ve continued to hear the same buzzwords and concepts in conversation: “customer-centricity,” “simplification,” “CLV- Customer Lifetime Value,” etc.
As I look to 2016, I see many of the same trends reoccurring from 2015: Cloud Services (SaaS, DaaS), Journey Mapping, Social Media, Personalization, Omnichannel, Big Data, Gamification, and Predictive Analytics. The focus continues to be on reducing customer level of effort, increasing customer and employee engagement and loyalty, and leveraging technology to be faster, better, and cheaper than the next guy.
Although the concepts are similar to years past, there are many call centers today that are not only struggling to stay current, but are also desperately trying to get ahead of the curve and be on the cutting edge. The reality is that with the pace of advancements in technology and consumer engagement, we are all challenged with differentiating our company brands (products and services) in saturated markets.
All of these “trends” are interconnected and, when executed properly have a dramatic impact on employees, customers, and the bottom line. That’s the reason why these trends remain at the forefront of executive minds.
Depending on the source and interaction, some will say there are shifts in the community moving away from cost reductions and towards a heightened drive for customer satisfaction. While all organizations and brands do need to focus on maximizing their customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, the reality is that today’s companies can achieve the best of both worlds: leaps forward with customer satisfaction and significant cost savings.
At a high level, here are some thoughts relating to a few of the 2016 industry trends.
How the consumer chooses to interact with a brand has become irrelevant. The ability for a company to service a customer seamlessly through multiple channels has become much more important – social channels, ecare, chat, sms, voice, IVR, mobile media, self-service, etc.
Keeping these channels connected and consistent while driving a low level of customer effort not only will improve the customer experience, it will also help reduce costs and drive higher levels of employee empowerment and engagement.
The technological advancements in gathering, ingesting, interpreting, and leveraging consumer data are awe-inspiring. Understanding your customers, knowing their interests and history, being able to predict their wants and needs, and personalizing and tailor fitting interactions and offers is at an all-time high.
Taking that to the next level, identifying ways to channel consumers and their profiles to a similar minded/right profiled agent creates the perfect environment for a world-class experience.
In one form or another, we are all in the people business. It’s the frontlines that are the true brand warriors and have the highest touch point to your customers. The ability to source, screen, hire, train, and retain great talent is an age-old problem. It’s a daunting task to keep up with the pace of change, a continued drive to understand how the workforce (rise of the Millennials), customer behavior, and technologies (like virtual desktops) are changing and improving.
For example, one of the technology drivers to watch in 2016 is Gamification. Millennials are looking for a social environment where they can be part of the greater good, and they long for group engagement. Gamification tools are helping to create and support an environment that appeals to the next generation.
Regardless of the trends – last year, this year, or even next year – the key is to have a strategy that keeps your business moving forward and keeps your customers satisfied.
BPO Industry Executive
Mar 09, 2017
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