Customer service

What Changes Are Taking Place in Call Centers During this Decade?

Enreach 09/11/2021
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In a short time, call centers have undergone many changes. From agents simply answering customer phone calls, to a multitude of different user contact channels, such as web calls, live chat, and video chat, omnichannel customer support has become the new norm.

As technology becomes an increasingly dominant feature in customer service, contact centers are poised for even more change in the years to come.

What Changes Are Taking Place in Call Centers During this Decade?
1) Hybrid Model

Call centers have become a hybrid of customer contact channels, and their future will see a growing hybrid environment: a combination of human agents and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

As AI becomes more and more sophisticated, its implementation will be cheaper, more efficient and more precise, which will bring many benefits to call centers in terms of productivity and costs. AI can help provide a seamless customer experience (CX), and more and more companies are beginning to embrace AI-powered customer support.

However, a PWC study found that 78% of users want more human interaction with businesses in the future, showing that automated services cannot replace the human side of customer service.

This means that the future of contact centers requires a combination of AI and human intervention. The hybrid model will see increased automation and self-service to improve efficiency, with technology like chatbots, dealing with user-friendly questions and queries. Meanwhile, human agents free themselves to solve more complicated inquiries, while still offering personalized customer service.

2) More Live Chat

In the last ten years, live chat has become the most popular channel for customer contact. Over 40% of users choose to use live chat, email, and social media to get in touch with a business, and 41% of customers expect a website to offer live chat as a contact option.

With a 73% satisfaction rate, live chat is a great tool to significantly increase leads. However, due to certain limitations in chatbots, they will not replace live chat with agents. As mentioned above, future call centers will use a hybrid live chat model.

3) Video chat

Video chat support takes live chat one-step further. While it includes all the benefits of live chat, such as high customer satisfaction and increased leads and sales, it adds an even more personalized experience.

Not only can agents chat with customers face-to-face, but they can also show them products and services. This helps bring the experience to the online store, an aspect we’ve seen become increasingly popular since COVID-19 forced many brick-and-mortar stores to close.

4) Go Mobile

Mobile phones are one of the main ways that customers interact with businesses. For example, in 2018, 58% of web traffic in the US came from mobile devices and tablets, compared to 42% from computers.

For the future of contact centers, this means making sure that mobile phone contact is as easy as it is from computers. In other words, web calls; email contact, live chat, and video systems must be mobile-friendly.

A key aspect of the mobile call center functionality will be allowing customers to multitask on their mobile device while using a contact channel. For example, being able to access different web pages while using live chat.

In addition to compatibility, the use of mobile applications for customer service is also increasing. Due to the high levels of user participation, these apps are expected to become a very important customer contact channel in the future of call centers.

5) Use of the Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to different devices that are connected to the Internet and can “talk” to each other. This interconnectivity of devices offers the possibility of a preventive customer service, offering a solution when a problem is detected, for example, in the operation of a TV.

As the IoT grows and more and more devices connect, customer service will be taken to the next level. As more data is collected from connected devices, future call centers will become more proactive and address issues before the customer knows they have arisen.

6) Cloud-Based Contact Centers and Remote Agents

Cloud contact centers are nothing new, but in the coming years we can expect almost all of them to migrate to the cloud.

Cloud-based software has many installation and maintenance benefits, including instant updates, and it also offers advantages from a management point of view, as managers can also monitor the work of remote agents.

7) Highly Trained Agents

All these changes in the future of contact centers, naturally, will also mean a change in the role of agents. 

As AI takes over customer service for the most everyday inquiries, agents will focus on dealing with complex issues. As a result, they will need to have more advanced troubleshooting skills and a greater knowledge of the product / service, which means that they will need more advanced and detailed training.

With data becoming an increasingly important part of customer service, agents will also need to have good analytical skills to make the most of all the data they can access in the CRM.

These highly trained agents will be able to use a wide range of contact channels, including phone, live chat, video chat, and social media, and will need to keep up-to-date with any changes to these channels.

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