In today’s digital world, your competitors are no more than a click away, drastically increasing the importance of delivering personalized customer experiences (CX) on the first go. Case in point, PWC highlights that a staggering 32% of customers would walk away after just one bad interaction, underscoring the significance of meeting your customers' needs on the first try — every time. Creating a seamless and customer-centric contact center that ensures you’re staying ahead of the competition requires a comprehensive digital transformation strategy. The question is — where do you begin?
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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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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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Over the weekend, the weather finally changed, with temperatures in the high 60’s on Saturday. It’s not something I generally get excited about, but after this year’s brutal winter I took advantage of the break from the cold to go on a long run with friends. It was on this run that someone asked me, “How is it that my home phone never goes down but that a number for one of Ashburn’s biggest data centers can, and recently did, with only a busy tone for those trying to get through?”
Knowing what I do for a living, he went on to explain that one of the employees at the data center had been fired and chosen to turn off the switches before walking out, which brought the whole center to a standstill. In fact, not only was he able to bring down all of the managed hosted services, but the VOIP-based PBX system was also shutoff, which prevented the entire support staff from making or receiving calls. To make matters worse, every client who tried to call customer support heard nothing but a busy tone. Doesn’t help when one of those clients is the state government.
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