From new technologies to the current health crisis, call centers have recently undergone tremendous changes and must constantly adapt to the changing needs of customers in order to provide the best customer experience. This is a key factor for companies that want to stand out from their competitors. The pandemic has forced contact centers to strike a balance between providing a seamless digital customer experience and maintaining a human touch. Therefore, the future of customer experience depends on the call center’s ability to adapt to changing customer needs by combining the best technology with a careful and understanding approach. Here are five call center trends to watch in 2021.

The Rise of the Cloud as a New Normal for Business Continuity and Performance

According to Gartner, by 2024, approximately 88% of contact center end-user expenditures will be generated by cloud services, rather than based on local contact center infrastructure (CCI) investments. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cloud has become a major asset for companies that have adopted this model in contact centers, and this is an urgent need for companies that still need to migrate. Cloud solutions provide companies with many benefits, including ease of deployment, reduced costs, instant flexibility and scalability, higher security and data accessibility. In addition, the flexibility of the cloud solution enables companies to diversify contact center agents across multiple sites and seamlessly guarantee business continuity, because all agents can access the same tools, no matter where they are located.

The Shift to a Work-from-Home Model

A survey by Global Workplace Analytics shows that once the pandemic is over, 77% of the workforce wants to work from home. This new trend requires contact centers to provide the necessary support to ensure agent success and prevent burnout, while maintaining business continuity. In order to ensure the efficiency of the agents, the contact center must first equip the agents with reliable technology and access the same functions, whether they are working remotely or on-site. Human resources and contact center managers must also adapt to the use of digital tools that allow remote assistance. HR should be trained remotely, and supervisors should access real-time monitoring boards to manage agent performance and help agents develop their skills. By taking these steps, agents will become more capable and productive, thereby reducing burnout, increasing retention and creating true brand ambassadors.

Transforming the Customer Experience with AI

Artificial intelligence and automated services are essential to provide proactive customer service while reducing contact center costs and improving efficiency. Before the pandemic, customers had already expressed a preference for relaxed 24/7 self-service. During this health crisis, artificial intelligence and automated services are critical because they enable companies to handle increased contact volumes, reduce waiting times, and reduce costs. Artificial intelligence also allows companies to accurately analyze customer behavior patterns across all channels. This enables contact centers to predict possible sources of customer frustration and prevent problems before they arise, resulting in a more proactive and personalized customer experience.

Omnichannel is a Must

With the blockade during the pandemic, many companies are turning to online businesses to maintain continuity of business operations. As the point of contact between customers and brands, contact centers must meet customer expectations for a seamless, personalized experience across phone and digital channels. This means that the omnichannel strategy is no longer an option, but a must. Companies must give their contact center agents access to a powerful, unified and integrated omni-channel platform. Such a platform must enable agents to manage customer interactions from a single interface and have access to all customer interaction history records across all channels.

Human Empathy as a New Driver of Customer Loyalty

The digitization of customer experience improves agent and customer satisfaction: 24/7 support, faster solutions, more intuitive and personalized experience…Nevertheless, customers still value humanity. As artificial intelligence and automated services enable customers to solve problems on their own, people are increasingly expecting agents to focus on customer interactions that require expertise, advice, and empathy that only humans can provide. For example, their tasks may be to manage complex topics, provide personalized recommendations, and deal with emotional customers. A Kantar study showed that 70% of consumers expect brands to adopt a reassuring tone during these difficult times, so agents must show empathy to win customer loyalty.

Companies must equip their contact centers with the best technology and provide continuous agent training that includes technical and interpersonal skills. By taking these steps, they can provide a seamless, personalized, and empathetic experience, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Source: Vocalcom