In 2012, ICMI compiled a five-year outlook of modern day contact centers. This report included a list of 5 call center trends and priorities that were of major focus in 2012 and how they expected them to change by 2017. Here we are five years later. Are call centers focusing on what ICMI expected them to?
Five years ago, the main priorities for contact centers included:
- Customer satisfaction
- Meeting service level agreements
- Increasing sales and profitability
- Increasing agent productivity
- Lowering operating costs
While the above goals are always a priority for call center managers, ICMI's prediction was that with the growing capabilities of technology, there would be a focus shift toward customer self-service, knowledge management, process improvement and quality monitoring.
Now, in 2017, ICMI has released a new article exploring call center trends that will gain traction this year.
The emergence of new technology has created a demand for faster and more convenient service. Chatbots are one piece of technology that many call centers have started using. They can interact with customers by responding to keywords and triggers. This technology allows customers to do things like request account information or pay a bill through an automated system.
2. Social Media Customer Service
Like the trend above, social media plays into the demand for quick customer service. Nearly everyone utilizes some form of social media so it has become more and more essential that contact centers use this channel as well. Not only does it help establish a contact center’s web presence, it also gives customers another avenue to interact with a company.
3. Employee Engagement
Any type of business can benefit by focusing on employee morale. It impacts every aspect of your business, from turnover rates to customer service levels. Contact centers, especially, have begun to recognize how essential it is to act on employee engagement. Their efforts often include things such as employee surveys/feedback and emotionally engaging activities like team building exercises.
4. The Customer Experience
Like the morale of employees, a customer’s satisfaction level is extremely important. Their experience plays into the success of an entire organization. The expectation is that everyone, even top executives, will get involved in a customer’s journey within the company. This will lead to a customer-centric company that always puts their wants and needs first.
5. Technology Ecosystems
Technology improves and becomes more efficient every year. For contact centers, that means a lot of them run their business using a software that’s accessible anywhere in the cloud and is essentially a one-stop-shop. These types of systems are often made to integrate with other necessary products, such as a CRM, and they house all the features a contact center needs to run effectively, like call recording or analytical reporting.
In sum, ICMI’s predictions five years ago were fairly accurate. New emerging technology, with its advanced capabilities available with the cloud, and the movement toward self-service has truly shaped the contact center industry. The trend toward more mobile, customizable and user-friendly service is here to stay and we can expect that this will come into play with call center trends over the next five years as well.