The 22nd CCW brought together over 200 exhibitors from across the world to talk and showcase the ins and outs of various call center solutions. The impact of the coronavirus was unfortunately evident with several big suppliers canceling their attendance. Nevertheless, we picked up on the hottest trends across the expo.
Some of the hottest buzzwords this year were chat and multichannel messaging. Several companies were present with very different approaches to how to help create omnichannel environments in contact centers. With a growing number of social channels, it became evident that there definitely isn’t a one fits all model in chat and messaging implementations.
What we can agree upon is that text-based service channels will become more and more important as especially millennials look for new ways to communicate with companies.
As we discussed in our Megatrends for 2020 and beyond report, agent experience is one of the megatrends in the industry. This could also be seen in this year’s expo. Solutions ranging from software to hardware – personal and office related. From slimmed-down user interfaces to acoustic solutions and better headsets, and treadmills to office humidifiers.
Providing an agent experience is clearly not just about the right tools. It’s about a holistic approach to creating an environment for success including tools, atmosphere, training, etc. While it might increase costs, the return on investment comes with decreased employee churn and happier agents. As we believe, happy agents are the key to better business.
Want to find out how you can improve agent experience? Read our blog post on 4 ways to improve agent experience
Chatbots, AI bots, feedback bots, messaging bots, voice-bots – the supply of different bot solutions was once again overwhelming. While there were some novel implementations, we are still a long way from the real potential that bots will have in the future regards to work in contact centers.
The newest form of bots in the industry? Voice-bots. In short, they are voice-enabled bots, that use speech-to-text to transcribe the speech of the customer real-time and then using text-to-speech or IVR solutions to answer back. The major potential impact here is the removal of waiting times in cases where customer service agents are all busy.
Seeing the hurdles AI-powered chatbots have had in the past years and the state where speech to text still is (especially for less spoken languages), we are a bit cautious with this emerging technology. While we see the potential it has in adding value to customer service in the future, it is still some way from being fully effective.
As a final topic, we have AI. While we could see a decrease in the buzz around AI, it was still prominent in this year’s show. Many focused on speech-to-text solutions with sentiment analysis, but there were also AI incorporated knowledgebases, chatbots etc. One of the big shocks, however, was how many of the companies were still misusing the term ”AI”. But then again, hype sells…
Want to read more on how AI can already help your contact center? Read our earlier blog post: 3 ways how AI can already help your contact center be more efficient.
We know the customer interactions are becoming more demanding and the agents’ work is changing. The trends from this year’s CCW clearly continue to work towards this by helping contact centers provide multi/omnichannel approaches towards customer interactions. Adding chat and messaging services is already easy with the vast amount of solutions available. The main challenges for several companies seem to still be the native integration of voice into these omnichannel solutions.
So, while it might be tempting to add all possible channels to your portfolio, this still means in most cases that you need to use different interfaces or loose integrations to gain a full 360-degree view on customer contacts. Thus analyzing carefully, which are the channels that bring more value to your customers is the key to success.
This also ties into the agent experience. Having a customer being able to communicate through a dozen channels, might actually hurt your agent performance if you don’t have the right tools in place. Thus think about the dynamics between the agent and customer as the dialogues they are. In order to get the most out of both, you need to understand the needs and wants of each and facilitate their dialogue.
Omnichannel customer service becomes better and the next wave of customer service solutions will start to make ground in transforming the way we interact with customers. A change from traditional reactive customer service will start and we will see more proactive customer service, i.e. combining outreach with customer service to provide even better experiences for the customers.