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.
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Consider the Following:
- 20-40% of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retailers takes place during the last two months of the year
- 40% of consumers begin shopping before Halloween
- Black Friday sales are expected to top $2.4 Billion this year, representing 28% YoY growth
And what does a rise in holiday shopping generally mean for businesses? More sales, obviously. But it also tends to imply an increase in call volume tied to clients inquiring about purchases, requesting additional support, making inquiries, and also submitting the occasional complaint.
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Where does the Internet of Things, fog computing, and contact centers come together? Read the latest interview with 3CLogic's CEO, Raj Sharma, as he explains how the evolution in IoT is changing the contact center space, as printed in Fog Computing World by Carl Ford (Making Contact with the Internet of Things Community - 10/8/2014)
When it comes to the IoT Evolution, we are facing major changes in what we share and in what is known about us. The result is that the contact center can have access to resources and information that helps expand quality of service. I had the opportunity to interview Raj Sharma the CEO of 3CLogic who explained to me what we should see as the impact of IoT in terms of service. What I find the most fascinating in the discussion is the focus on Fog Computing and the impact of cloud service models within the Enterprise.
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According to Wikipedia Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).
Fog Computing is a paradigm that extends Cloud computing and services to the edge of the network. Similar to Cloud, Fog provides software, information, and application services to end-users. What is different about Fog Computing is its proximity to end-users, its dense geographical distribution, and its support for mobility.
Virtual Telephony Application Grid (V-TAG) is 3CLogic’s implementation of Fog Computing for delivery of contact center services over the cloud. Its similarity with cloud computing is that contact center services are delivered like a utility over the internet. Its similarity with Fog Computing is that in V-TAG contact center services are hosted and processed at the network edge or even on end devices such as PCs. Broadly speaking V-TAG implements edge computing for voice, chat, email, and SMS traffic in contact centers as opposed to processing these services in centralized switches and servers.
The concept of using remote agents is not, by any means, new. However, what once constituted a small fraction of a larger fixed contact center establishment has gradually become the norm rather than the exception. Quite simply, with the ongoing evolutions in technology, the ability to use remote agents without affecting quality has largely become a reality and even a competitive advantage of some sorts. In other words, if your contact center doesn’t use remote agents, you may very well be handicapping your company before any customer interactions even take place. Don’t believe me? Consider the following:
- An estimated 3 million Americans work primarily from home today, an increase of 61% since 2005. (Forrester)
- An estimated 60% of contact centers utilize virtual agents in some capacity with an expected increase to 80% by 2013/2014. (Customer Contact Strategies)
- 53% of contact centers in the US have some percentage of agents already working from a home office with 70% planning to increase the total number of virtual agents. (National Assoc. Of Call Centers)
- Ovum expects the number of home-based customer service agents to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 36.4 %. (Ovum)
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