The call center 10 trends for 2012
The time for ‘dipping your toe’ in social media has now passed: instead companies should be monitoring relevant social media channels, leveraging them as powerful self-service knowledge bases, and moving towards being able to engage their social networking customers in real time.
Trend 2: Websites that are optimised for mobile access
Increased smartphone popularity is making the mobile the key customer service channel for many customers (46% of UK smartphone customers used their device to access the Internet over the last three months). Key differentiators for 2012 will include readiness to handle interactions that have been routed from social networks, and being able to deliver a personalised experienced based on customer account and location details.
Trend 3: Supporting multi-channel through consistent interactions
Next year’s consumers won’t care about all your different channel complexities – they just see a single organization – and they will expect their interaction to be handled consistently regardless of the channel they’re using.
Trend 4: Apps as a service channel
Customers are now familiar with using apps as a service channel, and 2012 will see increased focus on more dedicated apps. These will give customers a fast-track route into customer service centres, bypassing lengthy IVR processes and offering rapid escalation to webchat and voice interactions.
Trend 5: Tracking key metrics through customer feedback
Collecting customer insight using real time customer feedback applications means organisations can instantly measure metrics such as Net Promoter Scores, agent performance and Customer Effort Scores. 2012 looks set to be the year when major organisations really start to embrace the link between offering a high quality customer experience, loyalty, and longer-term financial success.
Trend 6: Tracking the voice of the customer
Speech analytics technology has now reached a level of maturity and affordability so you can quickly determine exactly why customers are calling, examine why you’re getting sudden spikes in call volumes, and also highlight those calls that really shouldn’t be happening in the first place.
Trend 7: Unifying the Agent Desktop
Many contact centres still seem to burden their agents with over complex processes that involve lots of systems and fields to complete. Unified agent desktops can go a long way towards solving this problem, and we expect contact centres to benefit from the latest generation of intelligent agent desktop solutions during 2012.
Trend 8: Supporting customer service operations with video
Next year will see significant growth in the use of video content to support customer service operations. This will be either through dedicated ‘how to’ videos that extend the power of self-service channels, or through direct agent-to-customer video interactions to help streamline problem resolution. A good example of such a new-style video-enabled customer service solution is Kiddicare.com’s new mobile app that contributed towards its ‘Best Use of Technology’ win at the recent European Call Centre Awards.
Trend 9: Operating more efficiently through Cloud
Cloud computing can play a key role in helping contact centres to operate more efficiently, and can help organisations strike the right balance between traditional on premise resilience and the flexibility offered by the latest cloud-enabled technologies.
Trend 10: Securing added value through ‘virtual assistants’
Next year the gap between the web and the contact centre will narrow through the use of virtual assistants. These animated digital characters support customer service operations by interacting with web visitors, helping customers to navigate their way through interactions, and share relevant information. This technology has evolved considerably, benefitting from advanced text recognition and speech generation technologies.