Emerging Trends in Contact Center Technology

Emerging Trends in Contact Center Technology

The modern contact center already uses a host of technologies to manage customer interactions, track productivity, and much more. Unfortunately, these capabilities are often disjointed, and they don’t offer end-to-end visibility over the customer journey.

Today, contact centers are already focusing on technology solutions that integrate across multiple business processes—and, most importantly, incorporate AI. These eight trends will define how successful contact centers will be in the future.

#1. Migration to the Cloud

Cloud technologies offer an ideal solution for supporting remote workers--a primary challenge companies are facing today. As a result, the past two years have seen a surge in cloud-based technology adoption, and this trend will undoubtedly continue into the future.

Cloud-based software is accessible anywhere, making it an ideal option for a remote workforce, but it can also deliver increased security and more robust capabilities. It’s likely that contact centers will continue to migrate systems to the cloud to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs.

#2. Incorporation of Conversational Agents

AI Chatbots are not new to contact centers. They are often used to handle routine, repetitive customer interactions, to provide instant solutions 24/7 through automation.

Powered by conversational AI, the next generation of chatbots use natural language understanding (NLU) to learn from each user encounter, so they can maneuver increasingly complex interactions.

Applications are incredibly diverse:

  • Customer onboarding and support
  • Employee recruitment, screening, and training
  • Lead generation and nurturing
  • Management of people, expenses, and documents

 

#3. Integration of Speech Interfaces

We’re all used to interacting with Alexa or Siri. However, those speech interfaces aren’t limited to personal virtual assistants; this conversational AI technology is also available alongside traditional text-based chatbots and enable a host of new channels.

Integrating speech recognition offers the opportunity for companies to deliver seamless interactions in each customer’s preferred communication method, whether that be text or speech.

#4. RPA Across the Organization

The mention of robotic process automation (RPA) often invokes the thought of robots on an assembly line--hardly something that’s necessary for a modern contact center. But RPA can help improve the bottom line, improving productivity and decreasing costs. Contact centers already frequently use attended RPA bots to complete repetitive, low-complexity tasks.

Moving forward, the cutting-edge contact center will also use unattended RPA bots to autonomously handle tasks from a predetermined queue. They can also be used to train contact-center employees, for instance, by providing upskilling and other employee training.

#5. More Comprehensive Self-service Options

Many organizations already offer some self-service options to decrease the load in contact centers. And customer preferences have definitively shifted toward self-service, so it’s no longer sufficient to have a chatbot deliver links to a website FAQ.

Right now, technology is transforming self-service to incorporate a wide variety of options:

  • Chatbots that interact and guide visitors to the information they need or redirect to a human agent.
  • Chatbots that enable end-to-end automation through RPA to access knowledge management systems or automated processes.
  • Communities that offer peer-generated content.
  • Cognitive search that presents visitors with answers that extend beyond a knowledge base.

 

#6. Adoption of Prescriptive AI

Sophisticated organizations have already implemented artificial intelligence (AI) to automate multiple business functions. The next generation of this technology, prescriptive AI, presents a wide variety of new capabilities, from more efficient inquiry resolution to optimized case routing and scheduling management.

Prescriptive AI will allow companies to anticipate users’ needs in a new way, revolutionizing customer interactions from discovery and onboarding, to post-purchase support. It can also be used internally, for instance in optimizing field resources or restocking parts based on demand.

#7. Demand for Analytics Across the Customer Journey

Sophisticated organizations have already implemented artificial intelligence (AI) to automate multiple business functions. The next generation of this technology, prescriptive AI, presents a wide variety of new capabilities, from more efficient inquiry resolution to optimized case routing and scheduling management.

Prescriptive AI will allow companies to anticipate users’ needs in a new way, revolutionizing customer interactions from discovery and onboarding to post-purchase support. It can also be used internally, for instance, in optimizing field resources or restocking parts based on demand.

#8. Emphasis on Cross-departmental Collaboration

A contact center often serves as the “front line,” operating as the intermediary between the company and its customers. This is a critical role, but contact centers often aren’t well integrated with the rest of the company. The result? Customer-service agents have limited insights when they engage with customers--and the rest of the organization doesn’t learn valuable lessons from what’s happening in the call center.

Contact center managers have noted that they’ll strive to bridge this gap in 2021 and beyond. This is usually a high-challenge, low-priority item, but this year it’s gaining momentum. Contact centers will look to a variety of software solutions to help solve this issue.

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