As 2019 increasingly becomes a distant memory, it’s time to gear up for the newest customer service trends in the ever-evolving contact center industry.
In this new age of customer experience, expect self-service tools, live engagement tools and integrations to continue their rise to the top.
In addition, although we’ve only recently started to embrace omnichannel customer service, it’s already time to take the next step and introduce the optichannel approach to your customer interactions.
And finally, will 2020 be the year that sees remote agents replace in-house agents as the preferred choice for contact centers?
There’s no doubt that 2020 will see both new trends emerging as well as some already-established technologies reaching their full potential. So, let’s take a closer look!
Automated self-service tools to become more important in customer support
Customers today are increasingly looking to solve their problems themselves, rather than spend time dialing customer service lines. As a result, customer self-service has become ever-more popular with companies, allowing them to provide a comparatively simple way to handle customer queries.
Self-service is nothing new to customer service, however, in 2020 we’re going to see further technological improvements which will allow companies to handle an even greater amount of their customer queries using self-service tools.
Self-service IVRs are definitely on the rise, and in 2020 we can expect a major increase in their use. It’s also worth mentioning speech-to-text and text-to-speech technologies, which, while relatively new AI-powered IVR technologies, are expected to gain significant popularity in the upcoming years.
The difference between Contact Centers and CRM systems will become a fine line
One hot topic customer service experts are increasingly focusing on is how to create smooth customer journeys.
Walking customers through a smooth customer journey means successfully fulfilling their needs. But if you don’t know anything about your customers, then it’s not very likely that you will be able to provide them with the customer experience they will be expecting from you.
A CRM system allows your business to collect customer data, identify the most valuable customers over time, and eventually increase customer loyalty by providing personalized customer service.
But if your system is not integrated with your CC solution, you agents will have no choice but to switch from one system to another during customer interactions. And if your solutions are not capable of transferring data from one system to another, your employees will face a significant administrative burden, as they will be doubling the amount of data they have to deal with.
However, there are now an increasing number of solutions out there which offer easy integration with CRM systems. And as most contact centers are now starting to prefer such solutions, we can safely say that in the future there will only be a fine line between contact center solutions and CRM systems.
Solving real-time problem solving with live engagement tools to become more common
In our ever-accelerated world, there’s no doubt that time is our most valued asset. It is no different in customer service, with the majority of customers looking for fast responses and quick resolutions, but with the minimum of effort.
However, when communication is restricted to sending information back and forth via email or similar, it is often difficult to figure out what many customer queries are really about. But if your agents are instead able to utilize real-time communication capabilities, and engage with customers via live engagements tools, they can deliver instant support.
That is why more and more contact centers started to rely on live engagement tools such as video chat or co-browsing in order to boost customer experience through efficient problem resolution.
Besides boosting customer experience, live engagement tools also help improve team productivity, as faster support allows agents to handle customer queries more efficiently.
More and more contact centers will switch to the Optichannel Approach
The terms multichannel, omnichannel, and now optichannel, are often used interchangeably. And while all of these terms are related, there is a significant difference between them.
Multichannel communication means leveraging several channels when interacting with customers. Omnichannel communication takes things to the next level by aligning the channels utilized. But what about Optichannel? Well, when it comes to interacting with customers, companies need to rely on the most efficient communication methods. And this is where Optichannel provides the best fit yet.
Indeed, having only just started to embrace the Omnichannel concept, Optichannel is the new buzzword taking over the customer service landscape. While Omnichannel allows customers to engage with companies on their preferred channel, with Optichannel communication it is your business that specifically determines the optimal channel for your customers based on your goals for each channel and available customer information.
With technologies and strategies changing in the blink of the eyes in the customer service industry, there’s no doubt that it is the Optichannel approach that will rule 2020.
Remote agents to become increasingly more important
Hiring remote agents is not a new thing in the contact center world. Indeed, most contact centers already benefit from the concept of hiring remote agents in order to save costs and add multilingual talent to their teams.
In 2020, customer service experts anticipate that the remote working trend will grow even more significantly, and for good reason: hiring remote agents is more affordable and economical, and it allows contact centers to gain access to a global pool of talent, which is increasingly a must for customer service departments operating internationally. Furthermore, according to a recent Forbes article, 91% of remote workers feel they are more productive when working remotely.
So will remote agents take over in-house representatives? Well, for now companies normally provides employees with partial remote working opportunities, but chances are that slowly, but surely, we’re getting there.
So, these are my ideas for the future of customer experience, but I’m sure there are other trends out there in your mind we all could benefit from. So what are your customer service predictions for 2020? Share them with us in the comments section!