What are contact centers’ top priorities for 2018?

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We all know that what triggered the digital revolution is the smartphone. Starting out as a game-changing, all-in-one tech, this device quickly became an omnipresent gadget that has taken root in people’s pockets.

This digital movement is so impactful that it’s reshaping consumers’ behaviors. Everyone’s glued to their phones, expecting brands to be accessible across Facebook, email, or the phone. Online shoppers want fast answers to their questions and reliable Internet payment options. They want their problems solved instantly at any time of the day, any day of the week.

These trends aren’t likely to die in the next five years or so. Smartphones, social media, and other digital solutions are now so widely used that brands are left with no choice but to adapt—it’s all about going digital or dying.

Brands’ customer service, therefore, must be constantly responsive and flexible enough to meet these demands.

Considering this, we can expect omnichannel and digital features to still be driving contact centers’ business priorities come 2018. Here are the top five areas where call centers are likely to focus on next year.

1.     Delivering an effortless experience

smiling call center agent talking to customer

When we talk about effortless customer experiences, we’re talking about making everything easy for consumers. So it’s not enough to just offer digital channels. What you do afterward matters just as much.

Here, we’re looking at concerns like:

•     Can customers readily access your brand’s touchpoints and easily switch back and forth between them?
•     When designing an customer experience strategy, do you integrate offline and online user journeys?
•     How well do you consolidate buyers’ data, and how do you use them to build a hassle-free journey?

Brands that can successfully address these questions will be able to develop a strong competitive edge and build lasting customer relationships.

 

2.     Better automation solutions

woman in living room using laptop

Today’s consumers are tech-savvy and self-reliant, and many of them try to solve their own problems before reaching out to call center agents. At this age, therefore, self-service will become more important than ever.

In fact, by 2020, it’s predicted that 85% of customer interactions will be handled by digital tools powered by artificial intelligence, including chatbots and smart voice recognition solutions. In 2018, therefore, we’re expecting to see more businesses rolling out automated, smart self-service features to empower their customers.

 

3.     Using a consistent brand voice across channels

bearded businessmen in deep thought reading laptop

The voice you use for customer support should reflect your brand’s identity, which should be consistent across your channels. It will be difficult to do this, as it requires one solid customer experience strategy, rigorous agent training, and meticulous evaluations.

Needless to say, it will also require a huge budget, but it’s a worthy investment. Delivering consistently good services builds customer trust, which then translates to more revenues.

 

4.     Improving customer journey mapping

executives discussing business plans on post it on window

McKinsey reports that brands that focus on improving the customer journey can increase revenues by 10%–15% and lower their spending by 15%–20%. It’s not readily apparent how, but ironing out the buyer’s journey lets you get rid of inefficiencies, manage data effectively, and connect otherwise disjunct touchpoints. All these would let you fix customers’ pain points, allowing you to deliver smooth experiences.

 

5.     Empowering customer support reps

call center team leader helping customer support agent at work

You’ve probably heard this too many times, but that doesn’t make it any less true: only happy agents can make customers happy.

Indeed, contact centers must invest in employee engagement and empowerment. That way, agents would be equipped with everything they need to make customers happy. Remember, it’s not just knowledge and skills that would help them perform better. Qualities like motivation, enthusiasm, and willingness to take initiatives are the ones that truly set apart the high-performing agents.

 

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