The contact center has come a long way since its technological start in the 1950s to the 1960s. And, since then, a lot has changed. Just like the evolving technology that powers up contact centers, so too is the role of the call center agent. But, although they may differ in duties (i.e., one agent might be in sales, while the other is on customer service), there is something common they should both do, and that is to serve the customer while following their company’s customer service standards.
To add, there is something that contact centers must always make sure of: to listen to the customer. A company must make sure that it listens to its customers as doing this satisfies one basic human need, which is the need to be heard.
It is a matter of life and death for your company’s contact center to provide a perfect customer experience. A company that sympathizes and acknowledges the problems of a customer, listens intently, and provides clear and precise instructions is bound to succeed in the marketplace. Exploring a multitude of ways to communicate with your customers effectively to provide the best service is the biggest challenge a brand will face before it can truly succeed.
Evolution In Communication
While reading this blog, you may have noticed one repetitive thing: the interchanging of “call center” and the “contact center”. While call center is the term commonly known by the people, the phrase contact center is now the ideal set of words to describe the evolving industry. Think about it this way: the days wherein the only available method of communication between a call center and a customer is a telephone are long gone.
In the present, it has since evolved into the contact center: a major upgrade over the call center. Basically, the contact center incorporated multiple communication channels to connect with customers depending on their preference. Looking from the perspective of the customer, you can now communicate with the brand using the communication alternatives like chat, social media, SMS, and email.
What The Future Brings To Contact Centers
With a plethora of personal handheld devices capable of executing a wide variety of tasks available in the market today, it only makes sense that customers desire a more “online” approach due to its convenience. It is your responsibility as a brand to cater to your customer’s needs. Additionally, some just find it quite uncomfortable talking to a stranger, hence the request for a communication platform that lets them deliver their query or request without the need for engaging vocally.
Rightfully so, many call centers that evolved into much more versatile contact centers did just that. And, there is no way to go but up; through the upcoming years, the contact center will continue to evolve. There are more available means of communication now than in the past, obviously. But, even with the wide array of communication methods available for call centers in the present, drastic changes will very likely still occur in the near future.
To enhance the customer experience, a majority of contact centers will implement “intelligent routing” by 2025. This term, which is also known as skills-based routing, means a technology that gathers customer inquiries coming from different forms of communication methods.
To prepare for the sudden uprising of technology that will change, evolve, and broaden the communication methods, contact centers are already beginning to train their agents on “human” skills, getting them accustomed to using new, AI-friendly systems, and adjust to the changes in administrative workflow.
What Changes Will Occur?
Expect to find companies switching from one communication channel to the other based on the preference of customers. According to the CCW Digital Chief Analyst Brian Cantor, phone calls will still remain relevant in 2025. In fact, many contact centers believe that live voice interactions will become even more important in the years to come. However, contact centers are now shifting towards automated voice responses due to its rising popularity from customers. 50% of companies say that IVR (interactive voice response) will be made more predominant in the near future.
Many contact centers are waiting for digital transformation promises to be realized. But, fortunately, some parts of it have already begun. Now, digital interactions managed by agents are on the rise, to be enjoyed by customers. As opposed to the more traditional phone call, expect communication methods to change in a call center; it will certainly become more digitized. The data gathered proves this claim as valid. CCW held a survey on this and nearly 81% expect digital messaging to become more important. Additionally, 76% also said the same of live chat.
It is important to step up your company’s communication “game”..
The same can be said for social media. Customers have been mentioning brands to get a response in big name social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for some time now, so it is important to step up your company’s communication “game”. Utilizing the power of social media can give you an edge over your competitors and even make you known globally, due to the sheer amount of people using social media platforms.
So, judging from the future events that will transpire, it is important now more than ever that brands interact with customers not only to find the best means of communication, but also base it on what the customer may prefer more.
If you are wondering why such changes are now occurring to the contact center industry, that is because the worldwide booming of digital devices and limitless connectivity are changing the way how customers want to communicate with brands. The customers’ are now no longer limited to phone calls; they can choose other types of communication channels like chatting, video calling, mobile messaging, and using social media.
As stated above, the role of the call-turned-contact centers have changed, and is continually changing. The contact center’s role has increased through the years; it is no longer limited to marketing/sales and/or services. Instead, it also aims to engage more with its customers to further their relationship with them and flexibly provide help 24/7 should customers need it.
Conclusion: The Rise Of The Omnichannel Approach
If you combine all of the features mentioned together into a one, effective strategy, what you might notice is that it leans heavily on what is called an omnichannel approach. What this approach does in contact centers is it utilizes all of their available channels and lets them work as a unit to provide a good customer experience. This approach is very crucial today, with the increasing communication channels customers can access in today’s world. With the omnichannel approach, you can assure your customers that whatever means of communication they use – either browsing from a phone or from a computer, for example – you are always there for them when they need you, making your company versatile. They can switch seamlessly from one service channel to another if they want to contact you for your products or services.
Agents can now track all of the communication channels with only the help of a single screen!
This is not only beneficial for the customers, but also beneficial for the contact centers themselves. With the rise of technology, a single agent can follow all service channels within one screen! Additionally, because of the integration of communication channels, the agent does not have to change from one channel to another to verify or repeat information; the fact that an omnichannel approach unifies all the channels makes it much easier for agents to keep track of their customer’s activities.
With the call center’s changes in communication methods, it is very important nowadays to reach your customers wherever they may be, both physically and digitally.
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