The pandemic accelerated digital transformation seven years into the future for communications and collaboration with people communicating over video calls and employees and students working over collaboration solutions all through lockdown.
The 2020 Harvard Review reported that during the pandemic difficult calls increased by 50% overall. Agents did not have the correct technology solutions to automatically route calls and as a result there was a 68% increase in escalations as agents attempted to deal with customer complaints. Now businesses and contact centres need to keep ahead of the digital storm and invest in the latest communications and collaboration technology to retain and attract talent and customers.
Here is what you can look forward to this 2022:
Increased Remote/flexible working
The days of 9-5 are long gone, people can work from anywhere and divide their workdays into sections to fit best with their needs. Businesses need to offer flexible scheduling to agents and promote anywhere anytime models to help win the talent war.
Businesses can expand their recruitment pool geographically resulting in more access talent. Intelligent interviewing techniques are also on the increase using voice, AI, and analytics to help pre-assess a candidate’s job role.
Support Agent Coaching
Remote solutions for coaching and training will naturally increase, with automated quality management solutions that provide automated scoring to analyse agent performance and customer satisfaction with every customer interaction. These solutions will promote the remote contact centre and empower agents to learn and succeed. They will also be used to on-board new agents to the contact centre providing virtual support, on-boarding, and training.
Workforce Management Solutions
Although flexible remote working is set to stay businesses are concerned on how they will be manage agents away from the physical contact centre. Workforce management solutions provide quality management capabilities such as screen recording, auditing and performance managements providing the same stats as if they were in a physical contact centre. They can also help to schedule the agents for peaks and flows and with the new flexible staffing requirements.
Move to the Cloud
The pandemic has driven demand for the cloud and many businesses are now looking to deploy their communications and contact centre in the cloud. In 2022 hybrid will be the most common cloud model for the contact centre with everything seamlessly integrated together. This hybrid approach will bring together public cloud, private cloud and on-premise cloud to create a new customer experience delivery throughout the year.
AI and RPA
Gartner predicts that 2025 enterprise spending on advanced CPaaS tools (such as social media, AI and bots and video) will rise from 25%in 2021 to 50%. With more digital services in use there will be a huge growth in AI, ML and speech recognition, and NLU and sentiment analysis will be key in smoothing out some of the customer frustrations with digital and automated services.
Real time AI agent assistant solutions will reduce costs and increase efficiencies in the contact centre. Ironically AI can make customers service more human, by using AI for lower value transactions and then handing off the enquiry to a human agent for a more complex high value enquiry. This empowers agents and removes the mundane daily tasks from them so they only focus on the more complicated ones. Although AI can assist us, only humans have empathy and understanding in assisting customers.
AI will also be used in the back-office activities and business insights whether that’s through automated agent evaluations or AI backed insights into customer experience.
This year we will see the convergence of contact centre (CC), CX customer experience and CRM customer relationship management. Aligning CC CX and CRM and data on a single platform to provide a unified end to end customer experience. The critical element here is that all three need to be integrated in all areas of the business, such as HR, sales, marketing, onboarding etc.
Due to the growth of digital communications channels the amount of unexploited data is huge and businesses need to use this information to help them with their strategy and improve customer service.
So, bring on the rest of 2022 we are all ready for what is yet to come!