The state of customer service sits at a standstill. CSAT scores are stuck and most CX strategies are tired. Exhausted, really. Companies reach out to grasp the next new product or idea and tack it onto their existing framework, hoping it’s the lever that catapults their company into growth mode.
Only, trying to run a successful contact center with decades-old methodologies simply won’t cut it next year. 2020 call center trends look to finally shake up the stale industry.
Because customers still aren’t happy. They want more.
A staggering 88% of customer service professionals say customers have higher expectations than in the past. And another 89% think now more than ever, customers are more likely to share their experiences (both the pros and cons) online or with their networks.
With 93% of people turning to online reviews to decide if a business is good or bad, that means the service your team delivers is the lever you’ve been looking for to grow your business.
But simply adding three new channels isn’t enough when those channels don’t help your customers actually resolve their issues. Likewise, sending out surveys doesn’t work if you don’t do anything with the feedback you get. You need alignment and a vision for your CX to move forward.
As we look to 2020 call center trends, we look past shiny objects. We’re exploring the facts of what makes or breaks your customers’ experience with your brand. Here are 7 trends we IDed to help you chart your contact center strategy over the next year.
1. Increase the usability of data.
In 2020, data strategies will go a step further than they did last year. Rather than putting more money and time into harvesting data and improving analytics tools, 2020 will be the year contact center leaders spring into action using the data they have.
Current state, only 1% of contact centers believe their intelligence strategy is perfect. All others cite problems like data living in silos and disparate systems, not collecting enough on the voice of the customers, and not putting their data to use to personalize the customer experience.
But by 2025, 60% of contact centers believe they’ll intelligently route customers based on agent skills, urgency, lifetime value, or personality. That means in the next five years, contact center data will be the driving force behind your customer experience strategies.
2. Personalize service experiences.
Part of putting your data to work means using it to personalize service experiences based on customer preferences.
It means knowing how your customers want to interact with your company and delivering on it. It means using data to predict customer behavior. Further, it means stepping beyond the past 25+ years of sameness to distinguish your company.
Retailer Sephora shifted their in-store experience to do just that. Rather than pigeonholing their customers into the same shopping experience (or, worse yet, the wrong one), they let the customer tell their service reps how they want to be helped.
Other retail brands, like Home Depot, realized if they don’t overhaul their experience, they’ll fail.Find out how the tides are turning in retail as companies take risks to improve CX.
3. Empower your employees.
Agents use an average of 8.6 different tools, have 23 interactions with their peers, and handle 130.5 different support interactions in a single day.
Meanwhile, ops leaders keep pushing teams to “boost productivity and efficiency.” They add another tool to the mix without thinking through the impact another new tool (and learning curve) will have on agents. And often, adding another tool to your tech stack further complicates an agent’s job.
This crushes empowerment and fuels frustration.
With Gartner data from real companies proving that an improved agent experience brings higher agent productivity, lower intent to leave their jobs, higher customer satisfaction, and less customer effort, contact center leaders will embrace the need to empower agents and improve AX.
“Customer service and support leaders must consider whether reps feel the systems they have to navigate are enhancing and enabling customer interactions and simplifying their job — because that perception has a massive effect on their overall productivity.”– Gartner
4. Build customer trust.
Customers are on the hunt for companies that deliver clear and consistent service. Companies they can trust. Because of this, transparency and proactive communication with customers will only grow in importance.
Trust builds customer confidence. And it turns out, the more confident your customers, the more willing they are to seek out self-help resources to problem-solve without a live agent.
A customer’s clarity, credibility, and confirmation (read: their confidence) had the highest impact on their ability to resolve issues through self-service. Resulting in lower interaction volume for your agents and reduced operational costs for your contact center.
5. Simplify your tech and integrate your core systems.
Contact centers agree their biggest weakness in how they manage customer data is that data is scattered across too many systems.
But by 2025, 52% of contact center leaders plan to have completely unified contact center systems. That means the movement to consolidate systems and connect all your data starts now.
In 2020, move your digital transformation efforts forward. Lean on IT and Ops leaders to help build a business case for connected systems. To get the 360-degree customer view you need to execute personalized, low-effort experiences, you need a unified view of your data.
Digital transformation puts an end to disjointed customer experiences.Pop over to our article to learn how.
6. Make customer feedback a pillar of your strategy.
CCW revealed that only 11% of customers believe businesses take their feedback seriously. By 2025, 52% of contact center leaders want to debunk that perception.
Gartner found in the years to come, voice of the customer tools will become an industry mainstay. Contact center leaders, like you, will look to speech analytics to analyze customer sentiment and understand the true intent of customers, so they can tailor service experiences accordingly.
7. Automate simple tasks.
Salesforce predicts a 143% jump in the number of organizations that will use AI from March of 2019 through the end of 2020.
As workflows grow more complex, channels multiply, and customer expectations continue to rise, automation becomes mission-critical. You need it because 35% of your time is consumed by meetings, and another 53% goes to admin tasks. That leaves a mere 12% – about 5 hours – left in your week to do your job.
Automation digs into those time-sucking admin tasks to give you hours back in your day. With smart thresholds and triggers, you can automate tasks like searching for interactions to review and pushing coaching moments to your team. And, for your agents, powerful automations paired with your omnichannel IVR can route customers to self-service resources.
All of this will work in harmony to reduce agent effort and give customers the proactive service they seek.
See how our omnichannel IVR, Sharpen Logic, works with intelligent bots to make your service experience seamless.