The contact center space is changing. So what should one expect in 2015?
Continued Implementation of Self-Service: Recent studies have shown 67% ofcustomers prefer self-service over speaking to a live representative, which has its benefits when considering self-service interactions are 200-300% less expensive than those handled by a live agent. While the use of live agents is not expected to decrease, the importance and extended use of self-service is likely to be a continued theme next yar.
Growing Deployment of Cloud Infrastructures: By 2015, cloud computing spending is projected to reach 155 billion, compared to 46.4 billion in 2008. And according to DMG Consulting, cloud-based infrastructure is the fastest growing area for the call center industry, predicted to almost double between 2013 and 2015. When compared to premise-based solutions, contact centers based in the cloud have experienced 27% reduction in annual contact center costs and a 35% improvement in uptime. Offering superior reliability, scalability, and cost-savings, cloud adoption shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and likely to continue its successes in 2014 well into 2015 and beyond.
Rise in Virtual Agents: A recent Stanford University study found at-home agents are noticeably more productive, spending 9% more time on calls and handling 4% more calls per minute. In addition, turnover is generally 35-50% lower for at-home agents than those in-house. It’s no wonder 80% of businesses are expected to utilize virtual agents in some capacity by 2015 and likely to use cloud solutions to do so to expand hiring opportunities, facilitate on-demand scalability, and reduce operational costs.
Continued Emphasis on Multichannel Communications: Contact channels other than phone, such as email, web self-service, chat, and other online techniques now account for more than 30% of customer service engagements. And as more customers look to begin an interaction in one channel, and finish it in another, the importance of implementing or maintaining a multichannel platform in 2015 will be key for contact centers as they strive to deliver superior customer service.
Push for SaaS Consolidation: Already a big trend in 2014, businesses and contact centers are likely to put a renewed, if not continued, emphasis on the importance of consolidating different SaaS solutions (Accounting, Support, Telephony, WFM, etc.) in a manner allowing for the unification of all relevant customer data. With the average organization subscribing to 9.6 SaaS solutions by the end of 2014, the importance of facilitating the transfer of information between software and departments will likely take a front seat in 2015. As businesses continue their efforts to exceed customer needs and expectations, the emphasis on customer relationships will continue to be a big driving force behind more consolidation across platforms.
More Big Data: Did you know 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years? As businesses increasingly find success in managing their “Big Data” through various SaaS integrations, reporting, and analytics, the value of such insights will likely make this a continued hot topic in 2015.
Personalization of Interactions: According to Salesforce and Forrester Research group, “Personalizing Customer Service Interactions” is among the top key trends facing customer service organizations today. Catering each interaction to a customers’ unique communication preference, history, needs, and expectations will be a driving trend in 2015 and an opportunity for competitive differentiation amongst businesses.
Introduction of Video and Web RTC: While WebRTC and video have yet to hit mainstream adoption, the implications for each, especially as it relates to the contact center space, can hardly be ignored. Perhaps the biggest wildcard on this final list of eight, the possibility of both taking root in 2015 and beyond is certainly not out of the question; something to keep an eye on.