Future of contact centers

Today’s customer expectations are higher than ever. They want personalized and timely customer support, across all digital channels. Whether speaking with an associate directly or utilizing automated self-service, they expect all channels to be connected. That is why the contact center of the future is not a multichannel call center, but an omnichannel that provides a 360-degree view of the entire customer journey.

Machine to machine interaction

By 2025, there will be a change in the notion of ‘customer’, resulting from the separation of the entity contacting the contact center for service and the customer themselves. For example, the rise of IOT will see smart objects automatically asking for support and help, with this support being provided by smart bots who will apply known fixes, run diagnostics and search knowledge bases for answers or resolutions. Escalation to human technicians will occur if the smart bot cannot resolve the issue. The human owner of the smart objects may be notified, if appropriate of any action taken in the channel they have requested such notification to take place. Thus support will no longer be a human-to-human interaction or even a human-to-bot interaction, it could involve no humans.

Customer expectations of service are set to rise across all verticals. By 2025, customers will have zero tolerance for sub-optimal service, as they will be even more informed about the reality of service, have far higher expectations, be empowered by social sharing, and be more willing and able to shift suppliers.

Developments

Today’s contact centers take care of inbound and outbound calls, e-mail, Web inquiries, and chat — globally, and across multiple business dimensions. To keep up with this pace, organizations must infuse their contact centers with robust SMAC Stack technologies (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) that help extend businesses’ agility by addressing ever-changing customer preferences and the need for multi-channel consistency. Accordingly, future contact centers must provide:

• Cloud hosting: The ability to deliver communications as a service.
• Social media capabilities: The access and capabilities needed to resolve queries originating from social media.
• Smartphone access: The tools needed to equip contact center agents with real-time contextual information.
• Video enablement: The capability to engage in face-to-face video-linked calls.
• Virtual contact centers: SIP-enabled contact centers to help reduce cost and complexity.
• Advanced analytics: Tools that analyze volumes of unstructured data and deliver crucial insights into customer behavior.

The contact center is the most advanced slice of enterprise communications. Call center interactions can have big financial impacts, and that’s why it’s quick to apply new technologies. The call center is a remarkable collection of communications technologies that include advanced routing, high availability, sophisticated integrations, rigorous security, telework, and cutting-edge AI.

Human involvement

While a wide range of technology – such as automation, analytics, workflow technology, bots, verification, and so on – will be deployed to increase efficiency and enhance the experience, humans will still be required to deal with the most complex issues. The range of skills required by human agents will also broaden and change as they become problem solvers. The contact center will also become a powerful resource for finding out what customers think of companies, and for capturing sentiments, feedback needs, and wants. As an invaluable source of data for both the enterprise and its partners, it will evolve beyond omnichannel operation to become the center of the connected enterprise.

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