Just because we can’t meet up in person, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun anymore! In fact, since we started hosting our virtual CX meetups, we’ve been able to connect with more people across locations and share unique experiences that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. The one silver lining to being fully virtual 🙂
Our Virtual Chocolate Tasting & CX Panel on February 11th was our most engaging one yet. We kicked off the evening with an educational, but more importantly delectable, chocolate tasting guided by master chocolate maker, Ricardo Trillos, founder of Cao Chocolates.
The second half was spent with our impressive CX Panel where we were joined by customer service leaders with a combined 60+ years of experience in the contact center space. Our panelists, made up of leaders from ADP, Lenovo, Nordstrom and Sun Basket, led us into a discussion around contact center trends, bringing to the table their unique perspectives and field experiences.
If you didn’t have the chance to attend, that’s ok; here are four key contact center predictions we’ve identified, coupled with commentary and color from our CX panelists!
1. Proactive Customer Service
During our last panel, one of the top themes we discussed was the shift from reactive to proactive customer service. Gartner too predicts that proactive customer service will be a key initiative in 2021 and beyond. Many contact center leaders are transitioning their customer service from being a reactive function to being a proactive function, leveraging outbound communication like text and phone calls to address issues before the customer does.
According to our panelists, one way to achieve proactive customer service is to not just factor in the quantitative data that your contact center provides, but also the qualitative data like listening into customer calls or reading transcripts.
2. Contact Center as a Profit Center
Historically, the contact center has always been one of the most costly business operations. But with the changing times, the contact center has never been more important. According to Forrester, customer service will become a lifeline for 33 million devastated consumers experiencing unprecedented difficulties.
This is further exacerbated since most, if not all, customer touchpoints are virtual and no longer in person. This has put enormous pressure on contact centers to maintain the frontline for their agents while delivering exceptional customer service.
The reputation of contact centers as being cost centers is now being challenged as they become the backbone for customer retention, loyalty and reducing churn. The migration to online customer experiences has also forced businesses to take sales online as well, and many businesses are leveraging their contact centers to upsell customers through outbound calls. Now, other departments like marketing, sales and customer success are leveraging the contact center to fulfill other functions and customer touchpoints.
Contact centers are becoming the pinnacle of customer interactions – influencing how and when you make an impression on your customers – as “in-person” engagements remain on hold.
3. Remote Workforce
2020 changed a lot, maybe everything. For customer service and call centers, the past year brought about a drastic shift in traditional workforce models and many agents are now working from home. Contact center leaders had to act quickly to accommodate their agents and their new work from home setups, putting agent safety first.
One way our panelists are setting-up their agents for success with remote work is by ensuring that they have all of the appropriate equipment needed to effectively do their jobs. This means thinking about laptop security and software needs, accessories like noise-canceling headsets, and shipping and handling logistics to make sure equipment is in stock and arrives on time.
The implicit camaraderie in call centers was another element that CX leaders had to think about in recreating an engaging remote working environment. Setting up the appropriate digital channels and checkpoints were some of the ways that leaders made sure that their agents had open lines of communication and appropriate forums to engage with their peers and also surface concerns or questions to their managers.
4. Hybrid AI and Human Customer Service
According to Forrester, automation and AI in the contact center will continue to take on easier tasks. This in turn is influencing business leaders to reassess their outsourcing strategies toward more highly skilled agents to better handle complex customer issues that require human empathy and ingenuity.
According to one of our CX panelists, one way of achieving this is to first structure your contact center data to understand your biggest opportunities for efficiency and automation. By first identifying and mapping out inbound call use-cases and call volumes, contact center leaders can prioritize their most costly call center operations and leverage AI to automate common customer issues like password resets.
Agents also benefit as mundane tasks that they were previously responsible for can be automated; freeing up agents to take on more interesting and engaging customer calls so that they can truly become your companies’ brand ambassadors.
Call center leaders are leaning more and more on using speech analytics to gain rich customer insights. Through speech analytics technology, leaders can more effectively identify and catalogue common issues at scale, leveraging the truest source of data: your customers’ actual words.
Replicant’s powerful artificial intelligence technology, for example, helps customers understand and interpret complex and colloquial speech patterns including slang, accents, and technical terms which allows it to recognize customer intent instantly for faster resolution.
Sign up to be the first to know about our upcoming virtual get togethers! Don’t forget to register for our upcoming Customer Spotlight Webinar on Thursday, March 9th, where we’ll chat with a CX innovator about how he was able to reduce contact center costs by 50% with Replicant. Those who register will receive a $25 Postmates gift card to enjoy lunch while they watch the webinar.