Contact Center Trends 2016

Multichannel communication, social media messangers, self-service, IVR, voice biometrics, videochats, virtual agents, big data, - call center trends 2016.

Cloud solutions vs on-premises based software

Online solutions are becoming more and more popular. According to Harvard Business Review research, through the end of 2016, more than a half of Global 1000 companies will use cloud solutions for sensitive customer information storage. The main advantages of virtual call centers are cost-effectiveness, efficiency and security. SaaS contact center solutions do not require big launch fees, expensive hadware and additional maintanence. They are fast and easy to deploy and can be accessed by remote agents, working from home.

These features and constant improvements will make cloud solutions a number one choice for many businesses in the next few years.

Multichannel communication

Although lots of companies still use telephone dialer to reach clients (whether for solving difficult cases, clarifying certain information or dealing with particular aged-group customers), other communication channels are becoming more and more popular. According to American Express research, to resolve small issues, 38% of clients prefer to communicate with customer service representatives via chat or e-mail. 

The increased number of gadgets used in everyday life offer diverse means of communication, and customers want to try them all. Therefore, businesses are expected to be reachable through all modern communication channels, from mobile apps, web, chat, and social media to email, text, IVR, and set-top boxes. Multichannel communication is the new standard for good customer support.


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Facebook Messanger and Social Media

According to Harvard Business Review, communication through Facebook Messenger, Twitter and Instagram is the biggest customer support trend of 2016. 

For a long time, Facebook Messenger seemed to be secondary to Facebook’s main business – staying just a product feature. However, after this year Facebook announced that by turning Messenger into a platform allowing businesses to use chat bots to communicate with customers, Messenger will be a huge help in customer support. It is a good means to communicate with the 24-35 year-old age group, tough to reach through other channels.

To provide good customer service, you need to be present, active and alert through channels your customers utilize. According to Statista Research, 78% of US citizens have a social media profile. 
To be able to answer questions and address complaints, your contact center requires a strong social media strategy, focused on creating personalized experience and customer engagement.

Self-service

Many customers visit websites to resolve issues, and, only if answers are not found there, call customer support. According to Gartner, by 2020 85% of all communication with customers will be automized, without human interaction. Self-service becomes an important part of the multi-channel customer service approach. 

Self-service options through a website or mobile app also help cut the costs of customer service operations. As stated in Unisphere research, 39% of businesses, which have self-service options, get less email and 45% receive less phone inquiries. At the same time, almost half of such companies reported sales increases through self-support options, as well as a boost in web traffic.


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Digital voice based service (IVR)

Interactive Response System allows your clients to resolve issues without waiting in line for the next available operator. Customers hear prerecorded answers to standard questions while operators may focus on more complicated questions. 
The client can also choose a call-back option, if an operator is not currently available. IVR significantly improves service and reduces call center operations costs.

Voice biometrics

Traditional client identification schemes utilizing passwords or pins take more time than voice recognition. Voice biometrics can save up to 20 seconds of call time. 

The voice biometrics system identifies your customer by analyzing unique voice characteristics and comparing them to data in the file. It can be used alone or as a part of two-factor identification, combined with a password, PIN, caller ID or credit card information check, to ensure an extra layer of security for financial transactions or sensitive information.

Though voice biometrics is tough to implement and integrate with systems, it is becoming more and more popular in customer service and is definitely a trend in 2016.


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Video Chats

When the customer requires a deeper technical advice, videochat is a perfect and efficient way to help. Although this system is still new for contact center communication, it has a huge potential, as it gives the agent ability to share content, show solutions and to personalize the communication with a customer. Video communication, when the customer is able to see an agent he is talking to, face-to-face, makes the communication more personalized and human. Videochats gain more satisfaction points from customers. 

Amazon and Schuh already started using video as a part of their customer service strategy as well as other hundreds of businesses, trying to satisfy customers and serve them efficiently.

Virtual Agents

The key to customer center success is a balanced automation and personalized service. Virtual agents, a combination of artificial intelligence with a graphic presentation, are becoming more and more popular especially in healthcare, travel and utilities. Businesses use virtual agents to help customers with placing orders, choosing appropriate products, making reservations. 

Virtual agents help to provide answers and fix small issues quickly and efficiently. They also enable to cut customer service operations costs.

However, while using scripted answers for standard tasks is good, it is necessary to give your clients an option to communicate with the live agent to provide a high-quality customer service.

Big Data Management

Customers like personalized and customized service. Access to interaction history, call recordings, e-mail history enables agents to respond to customers’ issues quicker and more precise, offering best options and communication scenarios. 

Lead information management and storing helps to truly change customer experience while giving call center representatives tools for effective operations and upsell.

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