In an era of ever-changing technology, the future holds so many opportunities. In the next few years, the post-pandemic workplace will make people hungry for innovation, in search for a better and more sustainable work system. Among all other technology-driven industries, contact centers are the first ones in line.
Contact centers have long been developing big changes to meet the needs and demands of discerning customers. Automation of all sorts is slowly being embraced, and in the next 5 years or so, this can only go further. Adapting to these changes will not only be necessary, but crucial to every workforce and business.
What is contact center automation?
The way customers purchase and interact with businesses has changed and it is imperative for the contact center industry to adapt. Automation offers intelligent algorithms and pattern-based solutions allowing businesses to stay present with and keep in touch with customers without the need to hire more people for the job.
In sales and support, call automation was first introduced using IVRs that solved the problem of directing customers to the right department. It’s one of the biggest automation trends in the contact center industry. However, now that communication channels are not only limited to calls, the need for more automation opportunities arises.
What to prepare for in the next 5 years
There will be important changes in the next five to ten years for contact centers, particularly on automation. According to customers’ behaviors and trend patterns, these are some of the things we can all prepare to adapt to in the future.
1 – The switch to cloud
The current pandemic did not only force us to stay at home and do our jobs. It also proved that work from home options are necessary and possible, after all. In a post-pandemic workplace, businesses will look for ways to make work happen, wherever possible.
In a greater sense, technological updates are surging and will continue to change faster in the coming years. Industries with competitive markets will find the need to act faster to provide its customers’ needs. Businesses will look for ways to keep up, and migrating from physical servers to the cloud is the smartest option.
With this at stake, get prepared to adopt a software that can support virtual call centers. Opt for one that fully runs in the cloud to support automated systems better, as well as give options for remote work opportunities as well.
2 – Multi-channel customer preferences
With communication channels constantly evolving, there will be more demands for business presence and interaction from customers who prefer different platforms. Businesses are making the move to embrace this, gradually pushing efforts on other channels as well.
However, adapting to this trend quickly might not be applicable to some. Reaching out to customers in different channels is one, but managing them from one channel to the next can be too much to handle. This challenge is one bitter pill to swallow for businesses that have established its communication systems.
However, there are sales automation solutions out there that can answer this. A contact center software that has built-in omnichannel features will be fitting for this need. With handy features that let you manage different channels in one place, you won’t have to worry about using multiple channels for your contact center.
3 – Customers’ demand to predict their needs
Yes, customers’ demands in the next ten years will be sky-high and businesses are bound to keep up with that. Customers will not only need faster transactions but will demand less time spent to solve their concerns as well. In preparation, your contact center or business should keep up to facilitate smarter transactions to be able to ‘predict’ customer’s needs.
Contact centers are expected to be smarter. This means repeat calls from customers must be well-recorded and analyzed if ever a next transaction happens. Moreso, asking customers repeatedly, and going through the files during every call transfer should be lessened, or eliminated as possible. Automation through data and algorithms is expected to work on this further.
A contact center software that can process every customer data and call information for you will be a big help. Automated call dispositions, call tags, and notes are also great tools to consider.
4 – Mobile-first and mobile-synced
This is no big news for businesses. However, customer-business interactions are predicted to be friendlier, interactive, and accessible via mobile. Businesses should look more into what this device can do for them. Mobile will be used for more opportunities for businesses to communicate and interact with customers.
Dealing with customers on-the-go will provide flexible opportunities for the business. In a customer’s point-of-view, greater demands for mobile also means more personalized connections like text messaging, constant updates, and smart integrations.
However, for large-scale outreach, tapping mobile as a channel can get a little out of hand.
Great news for businesses because now, tools have been developed to fix this need. Finding a software that supports SMS messaging, personalized messages, and MMS is ideal in the coming years.
5 – Intelligent match-maker
You should also keep an eye on call routing opportunities as well. Businesses’ common practice involves updating IVRs with every system upgrade, workflow change, or management decision. This also prolongs their match-making process, which most customers are not happy about. To them, instant solutions and faster interactions are key to keep them happy with a service.
This will make businesses look for ways to keep their match-making process simple, fast, and easy for customers. Customers should be directed to the right experts, without the need for lengthy, repetitive question-and-answer processes.
It will be a challenge for support teams, and with privacy policies to take into consideration, it may sound impossible. However, contact center solutions are developing ways to figure out this need. For one, options for call routing systems can now be automatically assigned according to skill, time available, or department aside from the usual round-robin routing process.
The ‘relationship hub’ of the future
Contact centers will continue to find ways to understand customers’ needs better. With communication technology constantly evolving, demands are projected to skyrocket, whatever industry we may be in.
For both sales and support, contact centers are on their way to be the ‘relationship hub’ of the future. This means that customers will demand for more personalized service. For sales, it’s more than just calling numbers. It’s building meaningful relationships every time an agent makes a call. For support, it will not just be a one-time transaction with different agents. It’s making customers feel that you keep track of every experience they have with your business.
With all these in mind, it will be best to look for a software that can give you these solutions, and find better ways to accommodate these needs in the future. Aloware is a cloud-based contact center solution that keeps on track with trends and continues to look for ways to help businesses answer the needs of their customers. In fact, we’ve got some of these present and running in our system. Check it out!