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The customer experience is a central theme for contact centre trends in 2018.

In technology, companies are always operating in the future, particularly in the field of innovation, anticipating the shifts in customer preferences and ensuring they’re delivering on their expectations. Companies that stay ahead, choosing compatible services for their business, maintain the upper hand on their competitors.

“Don’t follow trends, start trends.” – Frank Capra

Here’s what I foresee having an impact on the contact centre and related environments for 2018:

Customer experience strategy implementation

A lot was said in 2017 around the importance of customer experience (CX). This has led to the implementation of CX strategies. Progressive companies now have CX professionals tasked with driving programmes across the company that lead to enhanced CX. All of the research that has gone into this will see companies introducing slicker processes that contribute to efficiency and productivity, all with the customer in mind. This will also have an impact on employment, with a range of CEM positions opening up.

Channel integration as an imperative

Companies will be closer to omni-channel than ever before. This will be driven, in part, by the need to optimise services, but also by the customer experience, since the goal of seamless communication across channels contributes to CX.

There will be an increase in the uptake of virtual assistants, instant messaging and mobile apps designed to facilitate interaction, in addition to more traditional channels. This will provide platform agility across channels that customers prefer, and access to the vital information agents need to deliver great service.

The benefit of channel integration is that once it’s in place, the introduction of an additional channel such as a chatbot is made less complicated. Rather than operating in isolation, where it’s harder to monitor and measure its success, companies can weigh up performance relating to other channels, and are able to access the data produced in interactions across all channels for improved insights.

Data-driven business

Effective data usage will govern change in the contact centre. Let’s say, for example, a user calls the contact centre and gets asked to select an option regarding a query from a menu. The menu may include: “Are you calling about your credit card?” when the user doesn’t even have a credit card with that company. Known customer data can and will be used to refine interactions, personalising the service to eliminate details and unnecessary processes that aren’t relevant to the user.

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