A large section of contact centers experience this problem – they always seem to catching up with the latest trends, even more so when it comes to implementing new technologies for the contact center.

There are many evolving areas in the landscape of contact centers – like artificial intelligence (AI), real-time omnichannel engagement, bots and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning (ML)  etc, and they constantly keep changing how contact centers operate.

Here are some of the prevailing trends which are going to have a considerable impact on how the call center industry works, and certainly can empower businesses to get an edge in customer experience.

Omnichannel

The simplest way to describe an omnichannel contact center service is when customers have an option to switch from one communication channel to another (e.g. phone, chat, email) without worrying about the loss of history of their interaction and without losing track of their journey. A customer’s journey can start in any one of the channels supported, but could end in a completely different channel.

This omnichannel trend has been increasing over the years and is rapidly becoming a critical service which a contact center wants to excel in, as this makes them a leader in customer experience.

  • Forrester reports says, 23% of B2B CMOs see improving customer experience as a ‘top three’ objective.

The past decade belonged to smartphones and now almost all customers own personal smartphone devices, so we cannot expect customers confined to a single communication channel like voice. They want the flexibility to connect anytime and anywhere: be it on live chat, voice, text messaging, social media, email, etc. The need or demand is to have a personalized and consistent experience regardless of the channel they use. A consistent customer experience across every touchpoint is the mantra for an Omnichannel contact center solution.

  • Businesses with omnichannel customer engagement retain 89% of their customers vs 33% with weak omnichannel engagement (Invespcro study)

 

AI enabled chatbots

Ever since the introduction of chatbots in contact centers, there has been a constant effort to make them smarter and more efficient. A variety of smart chatbots are being developed mainly to service customers and improve CSAT scores.

  • Gartner bets that AI is going to take care of almost all tier-one tasks related to customer interactions by 2020.

We all know the benefits of having a chat feature in contact centers, but how are a chatbots getting smarter and also incorporating the human touch? A lot of it is happening due to the integration of Artificial Intelligence into chatbots. AI chatbot has the capability to learn from customers’ conversations and handle the variety of conversation situations smartly. Also, AI Chatbots are expected to be omnipresent – meaning a customer can get their query resolved at any time of the day.

With AI and predictive analytics, Chatbots can obviously act as a first point of contact for handling 24×7 customer service and also to respond to tier 1 communications. If request is still not solved from the chatbot efforts, then it has the ability to direct it to the right agent using an automated smart approach.

Chatbots provide a scalable one-to-one experience to customers while automating a lot of the repetitive tasks in customer support.

Improve First Call Resolution

  • 34% of customers say the most frustrating thing in customer service experience is the inability to reach a live person and/ or the automated telephone system (IVR).

The First Call Resolution (FCR) metric tells us the percentage of customer requests the contact center was able to resolve on the first call, or on first point of contact.

Any contact center has set of important metrics which are used to measure customer satisfaction, and among these the FCR metric is one of the most important ones. FCR seems to have a direct correlation with Customer satisfaction scores. If the FCR is high, then the CSAT score also goes up. It is an indication not only of efficiency but also effectiveness. On the other hand, if it requires several interactions to resolve a customer’s issue, then obviously the CSAT score is low.

Companies which consistently track and improve FCR do see performance improvements. For instance, research by the Service Quality Management Group shows that for every 1% improvement in FCR, there is 1% improvement in customer satisfaction.

The key focus for a contact center is to identify issues which are responsible for lowering FCR rates, and then resolve them. Few issues means a better FCR rate and at the end of the day, a better FCR means higher CSAT and happier customers.

THE WAY TO GET AHEAD: START NOW!

All of this may seem good on paper, and it will remain so until you start measuring these parameters and metrics, and implementing some of the technologies and solutions we talked about. If that is a challenge because of the additional time, resources or the technology upgrade involved, it may be best to partner with a service provider which already has presence in an omnichannel customer contact center space, and has incorporated several of these best practices and is also constantly upgrading them over time. If you are looking for an ISO certified partner, which counts Banks, Mortgage, Insurance and other financial and non-financial Fortune 500 companies as its customers, please contact us at solutions@slkgroup.com.

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