Call centers have changed tremendously in recent years. Previously, agents were only responsible for answering customer phone calls. Now that the days of inbound and outbound customer service are long gone, contact centers have been modified to include an extensive range of customer interaction methods, including web calls, live chat, video chat, and omnichannel customer care.
This is because customer expectations are higher than ever. Customers anticipate that their inquiries and complaints will be handled swiftly, efficiently, and customized. But, to be successful in the future, businesses, particularly startups, must keep up with the latest trends in call center services.
7 Upcoming Trends and Predictions for Call Center Services
Are call centers dying? Or is it going to rise continually?
Since lockdown has forced the BPO industry to adopt remote work set up, several are left with the question on whether there is still a chance of returning to a regular, office-based work arrangement in the near future. Along with that, these questions also arise: Is it safe to work in a call center? Is this to say that call centers are no longer required?
Call centers are here to stay.
Contact centers will need to adapt further in the future to address issues like higher call volumes, a transition to an entirely remote-based employment, lack of actionable insights, and the never-ending rise of technologies.
So, how can companies ready their mind to face any challenges that the future brings? How will you adapt to meet your customers’ needs?
Below are the seven trends that businesses, particularly startups, should consider before starting a contact center.
- The hybrid work set up will increase.
The future of call centers will see a greater reliance on a hybrid setting, meaning that both inbound and outbound functions are integrated into a single calling center. Each representative will then be tasked to initiate and receive customer calls.
The combination could save a lot of work, especially for startups. How? Since it is crucial to have sufficient numbers of trained agents to handle substantial call volumes, startups cannot afford massive volumes of diversely trained agents specializing in both incoming and outgoing calls. Whereas, by combining the capabilities of both types of call centers and maximizing communication software such as softphones, even startups can be on par with more established and larger call centers.
- Automation solutions for more efficiency.
Automation will not put an end to call centers. However, expect it to have a significant impact on how they operate in the future. Why? Automation can manage data more efficiently and swiftly than humans. As a result, several businesses are becoming more reliant on artificial intelligence (AI) to help them with repetitive tasks, smart call routing, and speedier response times to client inquiries.
Machines are also quite good at task completion. Simple tasks, such as looking up the status of a delivery, amending an order, or locating the nearest retail outlet based on the customer’s address are just a few examples. By thoroughly resolving and not diverting certain types of complaints, an automated contact center relieves agents of routine tasks, enabling them to concentrate on solving more challenging problems, as well as build relationships with customers. Also, a quicker response time may result in client retention.
- Live chat will continue to grow in popularity.
According to Statista’s poll, live chat had the greatest customer satisfaction rate in 2020, at a staggering 85.6%.
This data demonstrates that the days of customers willing to wait on the phone for an eternity to talk with an agent or anxiously check their email for a response to a query are long gone.
A broad range of businesses is now relying on live chat because customers prefer it over other channels. Live chat allows them to multitask without being tethered to the phone. With that, you can expect that live chat will continue to rise in the coming years.
In-browser live chat allows the user to see the product or service while conversing with the salesperson. Most customers would describe live chat customer service as though they had a brand representative sitting right next to them, offering guidance and answering their queries.
- Video chat is the new trend to provide effective customer service.
As customer experiences become increasingly automated and remote, the video appears to be the best method to provide consumers with a complete sense of presence than phone or live chat can.
Video chat is a popular way to communicate with family and friends. However, as users become more tech-savvy, they expect communication to stay up with the current trends. According to Statista, videos are one of the top channels that businesses maximized more during the pandemic. With this accountability, we can predict that the use of video chats in call center services will continue to rise in the future.
In addition, video chat allows customer service to demonstrate items and customers to show problems rather than discuss them. For example, if you provide a visual channel that can exhibit the products would considerably improve consumer engagement and sales prospects. Also, in video chats, the customer service can walk them through personalized promotions and new available stocks.
We believe that as video chat technology progresses, contact centers will make much more use of it in the future.
- Omnichannel customer service approach.
As expected, omnichannel customer care, which integrates all communication channels to deliver a seamless journey, is predicted to gain the upper hand in the future years.
Customers nowadays do not want to be compelled to use outdated or complicated communication methods when they require assistance. Customers expect businesses to have various, simple options for outreach at all times of the day, so they may choose the one that suits them most.
For instance, suppose your customer receives the wrong product. They might choose to email you the images of the product. Or, they choose to inform you through a chat box.
The point is that the more access channels you provide your customers, the better your staff will be at addressing issues on time. As a result, you’ll increase customer satisfaction which could lead to more revenue.
Customers expect you to deliver what they need, which is why an omnichannel strategy is prudent. That way, they’d have several ways to contact you while also ensuring that every conversation, regardless of channel, is documented in a single place.
- Greater concentration will be put on mobile devices.
Smartphones, whether you like them or not, are more technologically advanced than any other gadget. Every year, new features are introduced by the electronics industry.
Since they are simple to use, mobile apps or smartphones are expected to become an important customer interaction channel in the future of call centers. It’s simple to use and works well with web calls, emails, live chat, and video.
Also, customers would be able to multitask on their mobile while using a contact channel or interacting with a customer care person if call center mobile capabilities were available. For example, being able to visit multiple web pages while using live chat.
- Remote agents and cloud-based call centers will become the new normal.
As the new normal becomes more prevalent in society, so does the contact center. With many businesses now working from home or the office, cloud contact centers offer unparalleled flexibility.
In cloud-based call center, supervisors and call center directors can stay in touch with the staff no matter where they work. As a result, more contact centers are expected to shift to the cloud in the coming years.
Cloud-based contact centers are designed to interact with several different devices and operating systems. It means that agents do not always need to be in the call center to use the system, giving them more flexibility and even allowing them to work remotely.
They also offer real-time reporting to improve transparency into productivity and customer experience. This trend is not new to the BPO business since the pandemic has led a thousand companies to shift to remote work two years ago.
Customer service is already in the future. The aforementioned trends are currently in play, and they are creating the standard for client expectations.
It will also provide customer service personnel with more capabilities to work remotely rather than being confined to call centers. Rather than working in an office, they can now manage customer inquiries from the comfort of their own homes. However, whether you opt to establish an office-based or remote call center, implementing the above trends can help you improve the breadth of your services and boost the performance of your call center staff effectively.