Contact Centre Trend Spotting – A Customer Focused Future

Predicting major changes in the contact centre industry can be difficult, but a recent report by business systems has uncovered some interesting trends and predictions by surveying over 100 individual contact centres. Questions regarding demographics, strategy, obstacles, and future investments were used to get a snapshot of the industry as it currently stands, and to examine what contact centre professionals are planning for the year ahead.

The telephone will remain the busiest channel

Some industry professionals have suggested that the telephone will fizzle out as the main channel for contact centres, with other channels like web chat taking over. Around 60% of those surveyed predicted that the telephone would be their busiest channel this year, which seems to suggest the phone is here to stay. This likely reflects the fact that contact centre professionals know there will always be occasions where consumers wish to speak to a real person, especially when a complex problem needs solving.

A reluctance to adopt new technologies?

Deciding to invest in new technology is not normally a fast process, nor is it straightforward. Despite the hype that has surrounded new technologies like voice biometrics, which allows for the verification of identity by analysing the spoken words of a caller, this hype does not guarantee adoption by contact centres.

When asked what was on their technology wish list for 2015, a very small proportion of contact centres mentioned voice biometrics, gamification tools, or video. This apparent lack of enthusiasm for some of the emerging technologies may be due to lack of awareness about what is available on the market, but this seems unlikely given the media attention these technologies have received recently. It may be the case that decision makers are reluctant to invest in technologies unless they are tried and tested in the industry, to ensure a safe commitment.

Web chat as an accessory technology?

The most desired technology for 2015 appears to be web chat, with 31% of all contact centres putting it on their wish list. However, when asked what proportion of contact they expected web chat to make up, most gave very low estimates, which may suggest web chat is perceived as a good accessory to the main channels, rather than a real game changing technology. Other desired technologies included live customer feedback, web self service, and agent quality and coaching.

A focus on the customer

When asked what they wanted their technology to deliver for them, contact centres appeared to have a very functional view, with over 60% wanting technology to improve the customer experience, and around 40% hoping to better understand the customer and improve first call resolution. This seems to indicate an industry-wide focus on the customer and their needs. It seems that contact centre professionals are most focused on addressing the customer’s problem as quickly and efficiently as possible, working as true problem solvers. There was much less expectation placed on technology to reduce costs or improve sales performance, which seems to reinforce the idea that the customer comes first – a somewhat reassuring thought for the industry.

This apparent customer focused strategy is unsurprising when we consider that the purpose of most contact centres is to solve customers’ problems. Contact centre agents are having to deal with increasingly complex issues, now on multiple channels, which may be driving the need to keep a customer focused strategy.

You can view the full report on customer service in the contact centre via the Business Systems website.