In this blogpost:
Can you remember what your contact center looked like 10 years ago? Chances are you wouldn’t recognize it today. The world is changing rapidly and your customer is changing with it. So reason enough to lead the way. We have 7 contact center trends for you not to miss.
10 years ago, your contact center consisted of inbound telephony. Sometimes still some outbound, but that was it. Today it is a jumble of channels, all thanks to digital transformation.
As customer experience is increasingly a differentiator, you have plenty of reasons to be on top of your game.
Contact center trends for 2023 and beyond
A number of things are very important in the coming years:
1. Self-service will become increasingly important
2. Customers will demand more personalized experiences
3. The workforce will become more diverse
4. Technology will continue to evolve
5. Data will drive decision-making
6. Contact centers will move closer to the customer
7. Social media will become a more important channel
How to make that concrete? We give you 7 contact center trends for 2023 and beyond.
1. We take a holistic approach to customer communications
The rise of digital technology has been so rapid that companies have actually passed themselves by. Dedicated digital transformation teams were launched, which then went back to work on an ad hoc basis with initiatives.
But that’s how you get a gap in your strategy.
Digital channels and communication tools were adopted, but without a clear process behind them to meet customer needs.
If you want to provide a successful customer experience, start by adjusting your process and only then add new digital channels.
That is why it is important to look for a supplier that focuses on a holistic approach to customer communication. You want a supplier who:
- Helps you deliver an omnichannel customer experience
- Helps you digitize your processes and workforce
- Provides strategic support in addition to just delivering a communications solution
2. Conversational chat apps at the heart of your communication ecosystem
Traditional channels have been replaced by digital channels – including email and SMS.
Customers have conversations with companies as they do with their friends and family, something that will lead to an evolution and migration to chat apps.
Google Business Messaging, Apple Business Chat and WhatsApp for Business are at the forefront of this revolution and are gaining more and more engagement.
Lockdowns and working from home made the use of chat apps through the roof, because more and more people only communicate via mobile.
So one of the contact center trends is that we are going to see a shift to fewer app downloads and browsing to more chat conversations.
What does this mean for your company? It means that everything from support, payments, browsing product catalogs and more will take place in chat apps.
So make sure you include chat in your channel mix to deliver a better customer experience throughout the customer journey.
3. Customer data is at the center of the true omnichannel experience
Omnichannel means that you can switch between communication channels and optimize conversations across different channels.
Suppose you have a question about a loan.
You arrange the details with an agent and you receive the information via email.
A while later you will receive some notifications via your standard chat app. Or you call a contact center, but the line is long and so you are automatically redirected to chat for a faster answer.
The mixing and merging of the right channels and the right time is exactly what omnichannel is.
For a good omnichannel experience, personalization is vital and that is where customer data platforms come into play.
You not only personalize the channel, but also the content and time.
4. SaaS + CPaaS are the new CX stack
The increasing popularity of chat apps along with SMS, e-mail and voice is causing us to see in contact center trends that more and more companies are choosing CPaaS providers. We also see a number of other communication trends and strategies:
- Integrate own IT systems and channels into those existing systems
- Platforms that integrate your internal communication solution and external channels
The second option is the strongest. In fact, having only one communication channel is often not enough. For example, you might use a PBX for your regular employees, contact center software for your agents and different tools for your social media and chat widget. For success, you actually need the best of both worlds: SaaS and CPaaS. Fortunately, you don’t have to invest in additional tools to do so; there is also software that keeps track of everything.
5. Contact Center Channel Transformation
We’ve already seen the traditional call center transform into a digital contact center, because people approach you faster via social media, chat apps and email than over the phone.
With social media, it is no longer about supporting an individual customer, but about providing service to a community. After all, everyone is watching. Voice will slowly shift to video and traditional IVR is paving the way for intuitive voice bots. And all channels are available on a single platform, with a single interface for agents.
6. Support with a touch of AI
Chatbots and voicebots take over simple IVR tasks. In the world of bots you currently have:
- Keyword-based chatbots and IVR
- AI chatbots and voicebots
In the contact center trends, we will see keyword-based chatbots and IVR being replaced by more intuitive AI chatbots and voicebots. With two main applications:
- A virtual assistant that helps with sales and marketing
- Contact center bots that solve problems or lay the groundwork for an agent so that they can provide a solution faster
But a chatbot or voicebot should be explicitly designed to help, not act like a human agent. And to seamlessly switch to an agent, they must have sentiment analysis.
If a customer sounds angry or feels like they are walking around without a solution, they should be put through immediately.
AI enables chatbots and speech bots to track customer sentiment and behavior.
In addition to automating support, agents can be further helped with intelligent routing based on historical conversations. Calls can be routed – based on previous calls – to the most appropriate agent.
AI can further be used to leverage customer data based on events – to personalize messaging, perform intelligent segmentation and choose the right channel.
7. Easy to integrate and implement communication solutions
It’s important to have one platform for all your communication channels, but it also needs to be easy to mix and match with your other systems.
For example, a customer can contact you via one channel, but later want to communicate via another channel. And you may want to link your marketing automation tool to it.
In 2022, more and more companies are choosing omnichannel software like Steam-connect.
Work with SaaS and CPaaS vendors that provide solutions that are plug-and-play and do not require resources from your IT department.
In summary, is your contact center ready for the future?
Many companies still rely on outdated systems and are unable to take advantage of digital contact.
They are also unable to provide a personalized customer experience.
To keep up with the competition, companies must take a holistic approach to communicating with customers.
This means they must have a strategy that allows them to use new technologies and channels, as well as provide a personalized customer experience across those various channels.
APIs will play a key role in this as they allow companies to communicate with their customers in the most effective way possible.
By making sure that your business has the right tools and technology, you can ensure that you are reaching your potential customers in the most efficient and effective way.
Getting started with these contact center trends yourself?
Curious where your organization stands and where it could be even better for your customer? Or do you want to get started quickly on these contact center trends? Let’s spar then! Please contact us, we enjoy talking to companies and are happy to share our knowledge of customer contact.