Did you know the cost of poor customer service is over $41 billion per year? Clearly, that number is too big to ignore. More than ever, businesses are competing to deliver superior customer service experiences. In fact, Zendesk reported that 82% of customers stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service.
The best way of deciding how to improve performance at the contact center is to step back and look at it from a 360-degree view. It’s a lot to consider, which is why this whitepaper will help highlight the most popular areas being forecasted this year.
These 9 call center trends will give contact center managers a solid understanding of how they can help shift operations into high gear.
1) Customer Communication Will Move Across Channels
Let’s cut to the chase – omni-channel is here to stay and will only continue to grow in complexity. According to Forrester, 95% of customers use more than one channel to communicate with companies, while Accenture reports 65% of customers are frustrated by inconsistent experiences.
Today, customers can communicate through a number of channels: Web, chat, phone, email, and text, each of which need to support a positive experience. In order for your customer service agents to provide quality assistance in a multi-channel environment, companies need to start transitioning between channels in a much more sophisticated and intuitive way.
Contact centers must adapt to this holistic experience by deploying software that can easily escalate conversations from chat to voice, or from web to voice. Something to consider here is Fonolo’s Web Rescue and Mobile Rescue solutions. Both these provide an easy way for customers to transition to live assistance by requesting a call-back within a website or mobile app. It allows companies to track the customer journey while keeping the customer on their preferred channel!
2) The Cloud Will Reign Supreme
The Cloud Contact Center is predicted to become the number one platform of choice for many businesses in 2016. According to recent surveys, 18% of call centers moved to a cloud-based solution by the end of 2015. Gartner further suggests that in 2016, more than half of the Global 1000 companies will store sensitive customer information within the cloud. Therefore, companies will increasingly adopt virtual call centers due to improved security and efficiency.
While cost reduction is typically the main factor when investing in an enterprise solution – it’s no longer the sole motivator for moving to Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS). Other noteworthy reasons are:
- Speed of deployment
- Flexibility and scalability
- Ease of operations
3) Customers Want to Help Themselves
Harvard Business Review reported that 57% of customers visit a company’s website to resolve an issue but, due to poor user experiences, are forced to dial into their call center instead. Evidently this will shift in 2016, as self-service will become a key factor in any successful multi-channel strategy.
In the last 5 years alone, customer preference for automated self-service has doubled to 55%, and Gartner predicts that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of the relationship without any human interaction at all. In addition, the rise of mobile has led to the development of solutions that will revolutionize the way we communicate with customers in 2016. Forrester found that at least 45% of customers will abandon an online purchase if they can’t quickly find answers to their questions. Companies need to ensure that they provide quick resolutions to inquiries as customers are more frequently browsing the web with their mobile phones to locate information.
In this infographic, Salesforce reveals that 91% of customers would use an online support center if it were available and tailored to their needs. In 2016, this could be a worthy investment.
4) Video Chat Will Get More Face Time
Video chat is reportedly handling less than 0.2% of contact center traffic, but forward thinking companies such as Schuh and Amazon have already deployed video as part of their customer service strategy. In 2016, the demand for this type of service will only grow, and more companies will be emboldened to test its effectiveness.
When the customer requires a deeper, more technical experience, video chat is a quick and affordable way for agents to assist them. This system, although not new to social communication, is in its infancy as a tool in the contact center. An agent’s ability to share content and speak directly to customers, allows them to personalize the experience in ways that the majority of contact centers have yet to explore. In 2016 and beyond, video chat will emerge across a number of channels and in much more inventive ways.
5) Social Media is Synonymous With Customer Support
‘Go where your customers are’ has never been truer than it is today. Customers expect to find businesses on social networks – no exceptions. While only 3% of companies communicate on social media, it doesn’t stop customers from voicing their dissatisfaction through these networks. A study by NewVoice says 59% of 25-34 year olds share poor customer experiences online. That’s why it’s important for customer service agents to be present, active and alert on these channels. Social networks provide businesses with the opportunity to respond to customer comments and rectify their complaints instantly. The last thing businesses need is to have their name dragged through the mud without any way to defend their reputation.
Through contact center software solutions, like those provided by Aspect and Avaya, agents are now empowered to track and reply to any query sent to them via social platforms. However, this requires a social media strategy that is focused on both customer engagement and creating personalized experiences. Tweeting automated responses to customers is out of the question. Consumers are wise to those impersonal replies, which do nothing to help raise your customer satisfaction levels.