The call center industry is constantly changing. And whether you run an in-house call center or outsource your contact center to a third party or BPO, you need to stay ahead of the curve.
After all, the cost of poor customer service is exponential. The average contact center receives approximately 2.5 million customer contacts each year. And if just 5% of those customer issues are unresolved, that's 125,000 unhappy customers. Call centers just can't afford to fall behind when it comes to these ever-changing trends.
These 5 call center industry trends provide contact center managers with a clear understanding of how they can rise to the occasion and improve customer service levels during the remainder of 2016 and beyond.
Customers expect higher levels of multi-channel support.
Like it or not, omni-channel customer support isn't going anywhere. Customers expect to be able to contact businesses through whichever channel is most convenient to them, from social media to email to text messaging.
But, that doesn't mean that phone support is dead. According to a study conducted by American Express, 46% of customers prefer to talk to a customer service representative over the phone about complex issues, and 38% of customers would rather talk to a rep online or via email about simple fixes.
In order to be successful in 2016, contact centers need to embrace all modes of communication, and ensure that the customer experience across all channels is both consistent and positive.
Cloud-based contact center software is more popular than ever.
Move over, traditional call center setups. Cloud-based contact center software is predicted to become the platform of choice for call centers and businesses in 2016, and for good reason.
In addition to being a cost-effective alternative to traditional, on-premise call center systems, cloud-based software allows for faster deployment, quick and easy scalability, and remote agent capabilities.
Big data and analytics are essential to contact center success.
To provide truly great customer service, you have to stay one step ahead of your customers' needs. And what better way to anticipate customer needs than to review your existing data?
Call centers can use the reporting and analytics provided by their virtual call center software platforms to piece together the whole customer story, using everything from phone calls to billing reports to build the foundation for a better customer experience.
Customers are seeking more self-service options.
While many customers are frustrated if they are not immediately routed to a live agent, countless others really want to be able to help themselves. These customers often visit a company's website to find a way to resolve an issue, and only decide to call the contact center when they find that self-service options aren't available.
And, here's the thing: self-service options are better for contact centers, too. According to a study conducted by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, 45% of companies with mobile or web self-service options saw a significant reduction in phone inquiries. And of those same companies, 39% reported less email traffic. And in case that wasn't enough to convince you, 47% of companies actually saw an increase in sales through self-service channels, plus increased web traffic.
No matter how you look at it, self-service options are a good investment.
Social media continues to be an important customer support outlet.
Your customers are on social media. Is your business there, too?
According to a study conducted by New Voice Media, only 3% of companies surveyed actually used social media as part of their customer service strategy as of 2014. But, the fact remains that customers voice many of their concerns both privately and publicly on social media. And if you aren't there to respond, your company may have a customer service disaster on its hands. (Not to mention to damage to both brand and reputation.)
In order to be successful in 2016, call centers need to ensure that customer service agents are active and ready to respond on social media channels.
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