It’s a bird! It’s a plane!
No, it’s the top contact center trends to watch for in 2019. And we’ve got you covered.
So many storylines, so little time. And as in any classic comic book, the storylines are familiar and sometimes predictable, but we foresee them taking captivating turns in the new year.
As the sun sets on 2018, contact center superheroes should watch for the plots, characters, and villains within them. As always, we keep watch of trends and issues pertinent to contact centers, continuously shifting due to technological advancements; mergers and acquisitions in the SaaS space; the realigning of customer service and experience priorities on the part of brands; and more.
Going forward, what will these trends be? Look no further … we have you covered! In this white paper, you’ll read about several significant subplots in 2019:
- Gamification in the Contact Center
- Investing in Agents
- Voice-Powered Technology (VPT)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): Hero or Villain?
- Cracking Down on Hold-Times
- Social Media as a Contact Center Touchpoint
Understanding these trends will help strengthen your contact center game, and give you “hero status” with both customers and employees. Read on about these industry issues and trends so that you can power-up and defy the odds in 2019.
While much has changed in the last decade, one storyline will remain constant:
Contact center teams will continue to bravely face surges in call volume. Especially during these moments of crisis, agents are likely to become taxed and frustrated when they feel that the infrastructure doesn’t support them, or when they feel there is no overall incentive to fight the good fight. Keeping them engaged is one thing, but turning them into “heroic employees” is another, especially in 2019 (and beyond).
Like any good adventure, managing a contact center has a unique set of challenges, employee attrition being high on the list (contact center turnover was as high as 33% a few years ago). While the cause of the high turnover rate is debatable, managers can help keep agents motivated via is the introduction of interactive, game-like principles into different contexts. By adding playful elements such as competition, rewards, and recognition in your contact center, you can facilitate and reward learning, creativity, and social and personal growth.
You should consider gamification if:
- Your agents are having trouble adapting to a new technological solution in your contact center and they need to study up (and fast);
- Your agents are burning out and employee turnover is at an historic high;
- Customer complaints about poorly-trained or unresponsive agents have become the norm rather than the exception; and/or
- You want a clearer understanding or microscopic snapshot of how engaged your call agents actually are.
Gamification can potentially:
- Lower contact center employee attrition and boost productivity;
- Improve upon a flawed or outdated training model;
- Make for better customer experience via interactions with educated agents;
- Motivate your team to set high goals (or even vie for promotion) via healthy competitions; and/or
- Vastly improve the culture of your contact center and the overall perception of your business.
And remember: As a contact center manager, anything that benefits customers, agents, and your overall infrastructure benefits you. Only you can control the heroic arc of your brand’s
Storyline: Investing in Agents
‘Saving the day’ for contact center agents will be a predominant quest in 2019. While companies are ultimately fixated on the bottom line, they will increasingly acknowledge that agents form the backbone of their business. It’s time to treat them right.
Being a contact center agent is mentally-taxing work, and can certainly take its toll if support (either managerial or psychological) is unavailable. While customers are entitled to feeling frustrated when ignored or delayed, contact center agents grapple with abusive calls on a daily basis. Unfortunately, some contact centers still insist on a no-hang-up rule (agents are penalized for ending a call) in order to improve or sustain metrics, and do not offer morale or psychological support to front-line agents who live through some horrific experiences on the job. Just like in many industries, contact centers have their own workplace hazards, and a focus on best practices for dealing with them in a humane way will improve a contact center by leaps and bounds. The problem is so serious and widespread that petitions and movements to bring awareness to the subject have emerged. Valiant contact center managers should make improving this culture their mission.
Contact center culture will get a much overdue upgrade in 2019 – it is an investment that needs to be made. As Richard J. Snow of Ventana writes, “research shows that for over three-quarters of companies 90 percent or more of their contact center operating budget is allocated to keep existing processes and systems running”, rather than improving agent support and bolstering contact center resources. Overhauling a legacy budget is also a challenge for those resistant to the idea of change, be it technology, investing in an expansion of the contact center workforce, or allocating funds for education and training for agents. But lagging behind the times will eventually frustrate customers, and agent turnover could reach an all-time high.
For contact centers to survive and thrive, they must do one thing, and soon:
Weigh the short-term cost against the long-run cost. Give agents the right tools, and they will finish the job, happily.
Become a contact center super hero in record time! Download the full report below.