Top Contact Center Trends 2021 [Updated]

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Call center trends in 2020-2021 have driven the growth of call center analytics, social media engagement, and the significance of artificial intelligence. Digital conversion and artificial intelligence (AI) have developed customer expectations. They have become more demanding in terms of quick responses.

In this article you will find:

Now the business is changing at a relatively faster pace than expected. Domains such as call center technology trends have a strong focus on customer satisfaction, improved experience, and refined service, at the same time enhancing organization sales.

Artificial intelligence, big evidence, business analytics technologies lead to incredible innovations and huge achievements allowing to do things with user data that people only dreamed about a while ago.

Consistent and innovative CX has a big impact on business outcomes. Thus, changing the customer service experience has become a top priority for the business.

According to Vonage, after a positive experience with customer support, 70% of respondents would be more loyal to the brand, and 65% would recommend a company to others.

Contact center trends provide businesses with a futuristic look on how digital transformation and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will help in providing optimal customer service.

Looking ahead, it's time to assess the future of call centers. What top contact center trends will influence and improve CX? What tools and technologies will allow enterprises to gain an advantage over competitors?

Below there are the latest trends in customer service:

Artificial Intelligence

There is no doubt that the destructive power of technology has influenced almost all the changes in the space of the call center. The speed of innovation was frantic, and new solutions for modern call centers were fast. One of the latest technologies in this area is artificial intelligence (AI).

According to Gartner research, conducted at the end of 2019, 55% of established companies either have started making investments in the potential of artificial intelligence or are planning to do so by 2020.


Source: Gartner

As we can see from more recent Gartner data, the COVID-19 crisis hasn’t stopped AI development. 47% of investments in this field remained unchanged since the start of the pandemic. 30% of organizations even planned to invest more money in AI. Only 16% suspended the funding temporarily and just 7% decreased it. 

Comparing two Gartner Hype Cycles for Artificial Intelligence gives us valuable insights. We can see that such contact center technologies as chatbots, Natural Language Processing, and Machine Learning have rolled off Peak of Inflated Expectations. Now they are closer to the Trough of Disillusionment. It is the stage when interest in technology wanes because of unmet expectations. However, it doesn’t mean that Chatbots and other AI applications don’t have a chance to succeed. Gartner estimates that Machine Learning and Chatbots will reach the Plateau of Productivity (final stage) within 2 to 5 years. As for NLP, it will take more time, from 5 to 10 years. 

AI brought many hidden benefits to call centers. Let's look at some key areas in which this approach is considered to be pretty functional.

  • Intelligent Call Routing Implementation

Call routing refers to the process of redirecting incoming calls to available agents at the call center. This will help save time for call center managers who initially had to devote long hours to coding routing algorithms. Now artificial intelligence can predict the best available group of services according to the client’s profile and communication history and send a call to this agent.

Alternatively, artificial intelligence can also be used for skill-based routing to ensure that the client’s call is routed to the right person.

  • Multichannel Support Provision

Sometimes there are problems that are quite complicated and cannot be solved using the traditional approach. AI-based intelligent support systems can direct customers to parallel channels.

  • Well-Informed Actions Performance

Automating customer service platforms using artificial intelligence allows us to complete several tasks and generate immediate responses.

AI for customer service will identify the client’s problems, process them, learn from the information, and respond with optimized solutions.

Data and Predictive Analytics

The capabilities of data and speech analysis are constantly expanding.

According to the survey, 66% of call center businesses are looking forward to investing in Advanced Analytics to provide better customer service.

Analytics in the call center helps in creating an effective strategy for improving business results and performance indicators.

Traditionally, call centers have relied on manager skills and insight to increase agent productivity. However, in today's data-driven world, this strategy is easily overcome by events. There is a paradigm shift in how call centers provide adaptive management to better serve their customers and increase efficiency.

As you know, a call center is a bastion of business and customer interactions. In enterprises, this forms big data that can be analyzed to gain insight into agent performance and consumer behavior. Indicators such as first call resolution, average processing time, and agent downtime have become the epicenter of attention for call center managers.

Big data analysis is only possible in enterprises. This is a very expensive solution where algorithms have to learn from huge data sets. And it is impractical and too costly to implement them in medium and small businesses. By matching processes and methods that include data mining, statistics, and artificial intelligence, predictive analytics programs can analyze large data – both structured and unstructured – from the past to develop the best practices.

Predictive analytics can help your contact center operate more efficiently in the following ways:

  • It increases customer retention which is one of the most important ways to help contact centers refine their outcomes.
  • By using analytics, predicting the success of follow-up contacts will be more certain. Data like the number of times prospects have been contacted, their behaviour, buying history and so on, with the help of modern technology can predict the likelihood that further contacts will result in a sale.
  • Predictive analytics can provide your contact center with better insight into what’s coming down the pipeline, as well as to allow you to see trends that you might have missed, thus resulting in great quality and efficiency.

Omnichannel Communication

Omnichannel communication is not a completely new trend. Over the years, it has intensified, and today it is a mark of excellence that distinguishes active brands from active competitors.

Today, almost all modern consumers own more than one device. In addition, they hate to be limited to one contact or communication channel. They strive for freedom of communication with the brand anywhere: on social networks, in chat, calls, SMS messages and so on. First of all, customers require a personalized and consistent experience regardless of the channel they use - this is where communication on all channels turns out to be useful.

Omnichannel communication tactics are a combination of customer communications to standardize service delivery. A well-organized multi-channel approach allows them to easily move between the points of interaction of the enterprise.

Source: Global Contact Center Survey May 2019, Deloitte

On the other hand, it helps companies better understand their consumers. Together, these factors help to quickly solve customer problems. For example, when a client resumes a previous interaction, it is easy for agents to obtain relevant information about them. As a result, the client will not be forced to repeat his concerns, and the agent will be able to solve the problem faster.

Invesp says that omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers compared to a 33% customer retention rate for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.

Advanced Self-Service Tools

Studies show that 40% of consumers go to the call center after they have exhausted the available self-service options. Also, 91% of consumers say they will use the online knowledge base if it is accessible and tailored to their needs.

These statistics prove the importance of self-service or the ability to resolve issues independently, without direct contact with the employees of the company. Consumers have developed a deep penchant for convenience and independence in solving their problems with the help of self-service tools.

Furthermore, customer self-service is beneficial for the company itself. But how? Well, consumers see the call center of the future as a last resort. If they find clarifications or answers to quick questions about the company resources, they do not need to call. This reduces call queues as well as saves agents time, allowing call center agents to focus on solving complex issues.

Chatbots are one of the promising self-service solutions. They can answer simple customer questions, route customers, and triage issues. Intercom says that  “companies who use chatbots are 60% more likely to report a definite improvement in resolution times and 30% more likely to report a definite improvement in customer satisfaction”. Therefore, these tools can increase the support team’s efficiency. So it is no surprise that 50% of support leaders, as Intercom claims, are going to increase their investments in automation in the coming year.

In 2021, self-service options will retain their popularity. In this spirit, you should improve the available online self-service tools (such as chat bots, web portal, etc.). Ideally, you need to associate frequently asked questions, video tutorials, and troubleshooting pages with the most common customer issues.

Optimization of Support Tech Stack

According to the Intercom’s survey, “the overwhelming majority (77%) of support teams use 1-10 tools, with 44% using between six and 10.” It slows their work down because agents have to switch between siloed tools. That’s why 54% of support leaders plan to optimize their tech stack in 2021. They want to make it more efficient by integrating these tools. Therefore, all-in-one call center solution will be of great help.

Social Media Engagement

Social media platforms have become a necessary point of contact for both brands and customers. The last turn to the company profile in social networks in case of problems or requests. While a website is critical to the brand’s presence on the Internet, social media customer service offers a relatively convenient way to communicate between the brand and the customer.

Customer service on social networks is growing exponentially, and customer requirements are growing as well.

Thus, social networks become an integral part of a single communication. Companies use chatbots based on artificial intelligence and mood-based analytics to respond to personal inquiries on the Internet. Social media platforms also provide two-way communication between customers and the company. Customers can more conveniently post their reviews on social networks.

Switching to the Cloud

Cloud technology is influencing every business field, including contact centers as well. More leaders are going to move to the cloud and here are the technologies they are going to use.

“55% of executives believe moving aspects of their contact center capabilities to the cloud is a sound technology strategy. On the other hand, 45% of leaders do not plan to move to cloud in the next two years. This delay may be due to having significant investments in on-premise assets that need to be fully depreciated before a cloud migration strategy is considered or due to lingering data privacy/management concerns”.

Source: Global Contact Center Survey May 2019, Deloitte

Today, brands are applying cloud call center platforms that allow remote agents to interact with consumers in the same way they do in location-based centers. Companies spend large amounts of money developing and installing software to improve their operations. Cloud computing enables your business to access software on the internet as a service. Your staff can access the innovative call center system at any time and from any location to complete their tasks.

Despite the growing popularity of cloud-based contact centers, there are still some misconceptions from customers that influence the choice between a traditional solution and a cloud one. The cloud solution is often considered unstable, as, in the event of any failure, the contact center system will become inaccessible. Traditional solutions are also thought to have greater functionality than the cloud and can integrate with external business systems. Many think that cloud solutions cannot provide sufficient privacy while maintaining customer data. But in reality, these are all just myths. If you are unsure about moving from the traditional way of operation, here are the top reasons why you should move your business to cloud call center solutions.

  • Functionality. The latest cloud solutions often have APIs that allow you to synchronize data with any business system (like CRM, ERP, etc.). This not only allows to send client cards to the contact center system but also create and manage outbound campaigns from the external CRM, retrieve detailed statistics, and manage users.
  • Reduced costs. Establishing and running an on-premise call center software is expensive. You need to organize the faultless infrastructure and hire IT specialists to install and manage it. When you shift to cloud call center solutions (or CCaS), you will only pay a monthly subscription for the services acquired. Everything else is done by the cloud software vendor.
  • Flexibility. It is one of the major advantages of cloud services. For example, Voiptime cloud call center software gives you and your staff the opportunity to work from any location. They can complete their tasks either at home or from any other place.
  • Scalability. Scaling cloud solutions is one of the simplest tasks. You can get extra user subscriptions in a matter of minutes whenever you need them.
  • Data security. Storing data on the cloud is safer than keeping it on-site through the use of professional data centers and the latest technologies. The disclosure of any information by your vendor’s IT team is also excluded.

    COVID-19 pandemic increased the switching to the cloud. According to Gartner, the distributed cloud will become a trend for 2021. This definition means that cloud services are located in different places but the operation, governance, and evolution are still a public cloud provider’s responsibility. If organizations have these services physically closer, it will enable them to make low-latency scenarios possible as well as reduce data costs and ensure compliance with laws and regulations that demand data must be stored in a specific geographical area.


With AI and machine learning, automated processes that were once limiting, and often frustrating customers are now becoming much more useful. One example of this is the interactive voice response (IVR). IVR systems work like this:

  • The caller calls customer service and connects to the IVR system;
  • Customers choose an option to proceed;
  • Then the caller is redirected to the call queue and is connected with the first available agent.

IVR systems may work well in some circumstances, but they suffer from too deterministic ones. Each input can lead to only one conclusion, which means that customers are forced to choose an option, even if their problem does not meet any of the criteria. Most of us have probably experienced this in the past, and it is incredibly frustrating because it can often mean that the agent you are heading for will have to transfer you to someone else.

However, with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, some call processing programs can now make these decisions without asking as many questions or basing their next steps on previous meetings from which they learned. For example, the software can determine which language you speak, or which agent is best for your work. This provides a more natural interaction that customers find less costly.

Text Marketing

The use of digital channels for customer service is on the rise. Text messaging is one of the most famous and active communication channels. The reason this approach is a convenient way of interaction is that it allows businesses to immediately respond to customer problems in the form of a simple text message.

Now this way of communication is useful because messages are always delivered. They say that by 2020 text messages and email marketing will be actively advertised, which will include more marketing campaigns using interactive SMS, sending advertising offers to customers, and they can receive their first RCS (Rich Communication Services).

Customer Satisfaction Measurement

Future thinking companies value the satisfaction of their customers. As a result, many have created mechanisms for collecting and analyzing their content. The primary data used to measure this indicator is sent by customers at points of contact.

54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago (Source).

This percentage jumps to 66% for consumers aged from 18 to 34 years old.

Customer satisfaction measurement will remain a trend in 2021 as well. According to the Intercom’s survey, mentioned above, it is the leading metric for support teams: 24% of support leaders said that it is most closely tracked. Other metrics they pay close attention to are first response time (14%), resolution rate (13%), and customer retention (13%). Also, 30% of support leaders are going to measure customer retention and another 25% plan to do the same for renewals. 

Competition in the call center industry is becoming even tougher. Call centers should be developed and work in accordance with evolving technologies. Providing and ensuring high-quality customer service interaction is still the foundation of any business. Thus, any technical or social advancement revolves around a client.

It is expected that call centers will design and introduce new achievements, striving to provide the best customer service.

Remote Work

Frankly speaking, it is not a trend. It is a necessity. We don’t know when the pandemic will cease so remote work remains a reality for the most contact centers. Some authors even say about a “death of a call center”, meaning that traditional on-premise call centers are now a thing of the past. A virtual contact center has become a new normal.

Work from home has both merits and demerits. On the one hand, your company can save significant costs on infrastructure and utilities. On the other hand, such a work mode is quite a challenge for everyone - from agents to call center managers. Your company needs to put additional efforts to maintain a sense of community and to deliver high-quality training for employees. 

To learn more about how to manage your remote call center team, check out our article.


There’s no doubt that 2021 call center innovation ideas on cloud contact center solutions will give your business the advantage it needs to remain competitive in a customer-driven world. Following the above-mentioned call center trends will ensure meeting your customers’ expectations for a stellar experience for your next-generation contact center.


Published Apr 27, 2020, updated Dec 9, 2020.

Tanya Gonchar

Expert in call center process automation, Head of Marketing at Voiptime Cloud. Interested in customer service, B2B sales, marketing, business analysis.

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