The contact center space is changing—so what should one expect in 2016?
1) Businesses will create a stronger alignment between sales, marketing, and customer service—and their corresponding technologies
Stronger alignment between sales, marketing, and customer service teams, and their corresponding technologies, will perhaps be one of the greatest opportunities for businesses to grow and monetize their existing relationships in the coming year. According to Aberdeen group, highly aligned organizations achieved an average of 32% year-over-year revenue growth, while their less aligned competitors saw a 7% decrease in revenue. But despite the astounding potential, only 8% of companies state they have tight alignment between sales and marketing (Forrester). With a heavy focus on understanding the entire customer journey, businesses will likely integrate more aspects of their business, from departmental data to SaaS solutions (marketing automation, CRM, contact center software), to help to ensure their employees are operating efficiently and are working with greater insight into their customer base in 2016. Check-out how our partner, W-Systems Corp., is helping organizations achieve this.
2) Businesses will expand and enhance digital channel offerings
As adoption of internet-connected devices continues to rapidly expand, digital forms of communication (email, chat, SMS, video) are quickly increasing in popularity, expected to surpass voice within the next two years (Dimensions Data)—this noticeable shift will likely encourage businesses to enhance and expand upon their digital offerings in the coming months. But the vast majority of businesses (80%), however, say their current systems are not capable of meeting future needs. To keep up with growing demands of digital consumers in 2016, businesses must ensure their infrastructure can support cross-channel customer journeys, enabling customers to seamlessly migrate from one channel to another, and that client data is accessible to agents across all channels and touch points.
3) Social media will be managed by the contact center
By 2020, an estimated 90% of customer service inquiries will be handled through social channels—but as it currently stands, over 41% of companies assign all social media tasks to their marketers, a group of people that is typically not as well informed on product, service, or customer specific needs. By treating social media as a customer service channel, and routing all related posts and mentions directly into the contact center, customers can be responded to by the most qualified individual who will have access to all relevant account details. In the coming year, businesses will likely integrate this channel into the contact center (with the help of solutions like HelpSocial) to ensure all customers are adequately followed up with in a timely and manner—a more sustainable approach given the large volume of customer service posts coming their way.
4) The need for business flexibility will further fuel cloud and SaaS adoption
According to Deloitte’s recent “2015 Global Contact Center Survey”, 96% of businesses expect growth within their contact centers in the next two years, primarily to support business growth and customer experience demands, and 72% plan to transform their contact center through consolidation, outsourcing, remote agents, and/or establishment of new contact centers. But quickly and cost effectively making changes such as these will require a flexible and scalable contact center solution, something only the cloud can truly provide. While the majority of contact centers continue to rely on on-premise solutions, an astounding 70% have stated a desire to transition to a cloud alternative—in the coming year, the need for greater flexibility and scalability will likely continue to fuel cloud and SaaS adoption.
5) Businesses will embrace self-service and knowledge management
As mobile device adoption continues to rapidly expand, and consumers increasingly demand fast and
effortless engagement with the businesses serving them, web self-service (through online knowledge bases) has quickly become one of the most popular and sought after customer service touch points. As a matter of fact, Forrester recently conducted a study, which revealed that web self-service (through online knowledge bases) is now the most commonly used communication channel for customer service—the first and only channel to exceed phone in history. In 2016, businesses and contact centers will likely invest more time and resources into creating robust knowledge bases for their customers, enabling them to quickly and easily resolve their own needs, while significantly reducing call volume and costs.
6) Voice may decrease in popularity, but its importance will increase
While the use of voice-based service has steadily decreased as digital and self-service channels rise in popularity, its importance will likely increase in the coming year. In fact, according to Nemertes’ recent Enterprise Technology Benchmark report, which examined how multichannel was affecting customers’ communication preferences, 90% of multichannel contact centers say voice is the most important channel to their customers, despite the fact that other channels have gradually been made available. And while customers might initially choose an alternative channel when seeking service, over a third of these requests are eventually escalated to voice. In the coming year, expect to see a greater focus on enhancing the telephony experience through enhanced IVR menus, call-back options, WebRTC, and more—because voice-based service is here, and it’s here to stay.