Five Call Center & Customer Service Trends in 2021
My team and I are beginning to talk about budgeting and technologies for 2021, and now is the time for us to start making some hard decisions. This week I want to talk about where I think the industry is headed in the next 12-18 months, and give you some insight so you can be prepared and be able to evolve with the industry.
1. Real Time Transcription
Number one for 2021 is Real-Time Transcription. you can use applications such as Google Dialogue flows to enhance agent engagement, service, and information delivery from an AI perspective. This is how AI affecting the contact center. AI is not “taking over”, nothing can replace human touch and natural speech, but it can gather as much information as it possibly can from customer interactions. It can look at CRM data and “think about” what the best route is for the live agent to take. What information should we give to this customer? What information do we need to remind the agent not to forget? I see this a lot with cross-sell/upsell.
We used to work for a large financial services organization. In the mid-2000s, they did a lot of analytics where they would process customer data and come up with cross-sell and upsells that would fit the profile and criteria of each customer. I am sure some of you are doing something like that, but the important part is that this can happen in real-time. Maybe a customer is calling in about a specific tool or app that you have, maybe it has a problem. Your AI supervisor can automatically suggest to you that this client might be a good candidate to cross-sell or upsell X-Product to, instead of the agent having to dig for it. Nice InContact I know will be releasing this technology soon.
2. The Cloud
Covid-19 has been a bomb on the customer service industry as a whole. Because of the unprecedented circumstances the world has found itself in, excused were given. Now that we are 8 months into this, no more excuses. This is my final push to anyone still on the edge of this decision, you need to be in the Cloud. There are no more excused and I guarantee your competitors are doing it. Redundancy is absolutely vital in our operation. We have multiple points of failure instead of a single point, meaning we can still operate even if something goes wrong. There is always a backup and there is always a Plan B.
3. Upgrade Old Technology
Have a phone system that you can’t do omnichannel (taking voice, chat, email, social media, etc.) your competitors will be doing that and the cost is not that expensive. Refusing to upgrade will lead to reporting issues, queue issues, loss in market share, loss in customers; especially not that we are on this post-Covid path of self-service streamline technologies. Last year you could have gotten away with it, but not in 2021. Companies with old technology are going to stick out like a sore thumb.
4. Social Media
I am starting to see this now and with every RFP is the explosion of Digital: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and other platforms. Be sure you can service and respond on those platforms! Companies that do well are the companies that exploit this to their benefit. Using every type of interaction is an awesome way to expand your brand awareness and expand your customer support and engage with your customers.
5. Being Proactive with Data
Instead of waiting for customers to call about issues, use speech analytics and other data analysis tools to find trends in issues you are starting to see. This way you can mass contact your customers to let them know of an issue that you are taking care of. Make that outbound reach so you are not flooded with the same calls asking the same questions. Not only is this going to engage your customers better, but you will also save money in the long run too.
Chatbots are on my radar, I do not think their evolution is going to take a giant shift in 2021. Unless you are incorporating it into your Real-Time Transcription and your Google Dialog Flows, I do not forsee a large shift. I might be wrong, and that is fine! I hope I am wrong!
Those are my five things that Expivia is focusing on as an organization, real-time transcription- how do we make our agents’ lives better? We upgrade technology and process flows. There is no excuse to not be in the Cloud, especially after navigating through Covid. Digital is here and it is time to explore it. Lastly, look at your analytics and identify trends before your customers do!