The world is changing and the pandemic has made it all happen even faster than ever. We breathe digital and everything has to be fast, direct and personal.
The digital evolution also means an evolution in communication technology and channels.
What does that evolution look like? We have listed a number of contact center trends for you that will shape the digital communication landscape in the coming years.
7 contact center trends for 2022 and beyond:
1. A holistic approach to customer communication
The digital transformation ensures that we have accelerated to embrace cloud technology. Companies formed teams and started ad hoc tracking initiatives, but this leads to a gap in the strategy.
We adopted digital channels and communication technology, but without clear processes and tailor-made solutions to meet customer needs.
To deliver a successful customer experience, you need to adapt your processes and 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 that helps you:
- Deliver an omnichannel customer experience
- Digitize your processes and workforce
- With strategic support in addition to just providing a communication solution
Takeaway: digital transformation in combination with digital strategy ensures growth of your company and therefore success
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Traditional channels have been replaced by digital channels – including email and SMS.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.
One of the communication trends is therefore that we will see a shift towards fewer app downloads and surfing 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.
Takeaway: allows you to build a chat app portfolio with local channels 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 the chat app 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.
Takeaway: Companies must embrace a holistic approach by using a combination of the right channels, CX solutions and a customer data platform
4. SaaS + CPaaS are the new CX stack
The increasing popularity of chat apps along with SMS, e-mail and voice means that we see in the contact center trends that more and more companies are opting for CPaaS suppliers. We also see a number of other communication trends and strategies:
- Integrate own IT systems and channels into those existing systems
- Platforms that integrate the internal communication solution and external channels
The second option is the strongest. Sometimes it is not enough for a particular application to just have a channel.
For example, you need a contact center to provide agent support, marketing automation or an engagement hub to automate communication, a platform to build chatbots for always-on customer service, and a customer data platform for personalization.
Channels feed new use cases , but to strengthen those channels you need additional tools.
Takeaway: for success you need the best of both worlds: SaaS and CPaaS. Take a bottom-up approach to building your omnichannel foundation, followed by CX solutions
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 customer support, but about providing service to a community.
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.
Takeway: Classic call centers expand with digital channels and voice remains important, but it will transform from IVR to voice bots
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’re going in circles with no resolution coming up, 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 assisted with intelligent routing based on historical conversations and the content of the existing conversations, to be routed 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.
Takeaway: There are three areas where AI will play an important role. The first is related to personalization, segmentation and customer profiling, the second is with NLP chatbots and voice bots and the third is with intelligent routing, agent profiling and automatic conversations.
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 opting for omnichannel software such as Steam-connect . Partner with SaaS and CPaaS vendors who deliver solutions that are plug & play and do not require resources from your IT department.
Takeaway: Have a platform that allows you to integrate your existing solutions and systems into your CX stack
Would you like to get 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 quickly get started with these contact center trends? Just contact us, we enjoy sparring with companies and are happy to share our knowledge of customer contact.