Over the past few years, contact center leaders have had their customer experience, technological innovation, and overall resilience tested like never before. Call center industry trends help us pave a path forward and keep up with the ever-present competition.
The first step to success is knowing what to expect. Having the right research to back your strategic decision making will keep your operations alert, competitive, and of course, customer-oriented. Our newest report, State of the Contact Center 2022, reflects on the biggest happenings from the past year, so you can plan for the months ahead with confidence.
Looking for the highlights? Here are three contact center industry trends you shouldn’t ignore in 2022.
1. The Hybrid Work Model is Here to Stay
Hybrid contact centers will become the norm in 2022, with many companies realizing the value of flexible work arrangements. Not only do they better engage call center agents and improve customer satisfaction, they also allow companies to save on costs through smaller office spaces and therefore, lower rents and utilities.
The introduction of the hybrid model led many to conclude that remote work would become the new industry standard. However, Peter Ryan of Ryan Strategic Advisory says there is evidence indicating a “growing interest in the agent community around returning to the office.”
Evidence points to a growing interest among agents and contact center operators around returning to the office. Watch this business model continue to find equilibrium in 2022.
– Peter Ryan, CEO of Ryan Strategic Advisory
2. Customers Expect Convenience and Immediacy.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted customer behavior in many ways. One of the most notable impacts is renewed demand for convenience, and their expectations around ease of service.
Need groceries? You can order them right to your doorstep with the tap of a button. Hungry for take-out? There are now more options for delivery than ever before. And with businesses going through revolving doors of restrictions, customers have become dependent on online retailers like Amazon, who are able to turnaround and deliver orders in just a few days.
“[Customers] will still pay more for good service, but they now expect it to include convenience.”
– Shep Hyken, CS & CX Expert
Increased demand for convenience has resulted in more demanding and impatient customers. Shep Hyken, CS and CX expert of hyken.com says, “[Customers] will still pay more for good service, but they now expect it to include convenience.” During challenging times, customers now expect businesses to step up and provide products and services that are both quick and accessible. Anything less, and they won’t hesitate to switch to another provider.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this trend. Customer service is now recognized as a main revenue driver, alongside sales and marketing. In other words, customer loyalty has a direct impact on your business revenue. To maintain their loyalty, your contact center must provide customers with quick resolutions and exceptional experiences.
A 5% percent increase in customer retention can translate to a 10% increase in profits, according to Bain&Co.
A contact center is a busy place, though. If inbound calls are abundant and staffing is low, it becomes difficult for agents to deliver consistent quality experiences. Two poor experiences are enough for 62% of customers in the United States to switch companies.
Omnichannel support remains one of the best ways to aid your customers, no matter their preferred channel. You can take this approach to the next level with Conversation Scheduling, which lets you escalate customers on any digital channel – social media, email, chat support, or otherwise – to the voice channel with ease.
3. Demand for Digital-First Experiences
Unsurprisingly, customers are more dependent than ever on the internet and online channels. That also means they expect your business to meet them there.
Contact centers who previously resisted the transition to digital experiences were forced to make the move within the first few years of the pandemic. In 2017, 62% of businesses had some aspect of cloud-based software. Contact center expert Nerys Corfield says she expects “2022 will see a continued [contact center] migration to the cloud.”
“2022 will see a continued migration to the cloud. Hopefully, this shift will be accompanied by an operational move to omnichannel agent environments.”
– Nerys Corfield, Director at Injection Consulting Ltd.
That’s because cloud-based technology is more secure than ever before, and scales easily with growing businesses. Plus, it’s perfect for remote or hybrid contact centers and their work-from-home agents. It’s can also support omnichannel processes, allowing you to connect with your digital users on their preferred channels.
Of course, digital-first contact center technology isn’t the only option out there. Here are some tools you may want to invest in this year:
Voice Call-Backs – Offer callers a call-back as an alternative to waiting on hold. This helps flatten call-spikes and improves the experience for your customers immensely!
Visual IVR – This is a simple, yet powerful add-on to your website that allows customers to schedule a call-back from an agent at their preferred time.
AI chat bots – While it can’t replace genuine human interactions, these tools can automate tedious tasks for your agents, allowing them to focus on providing excellent service.