Keeping an eye on the trends and changes is necessary in order to stay relevant in the upcoming months. As we transition out of the final week of 2017, let’s look ahead at our predictions for the future of contact center software in 2018.
Integration of AI
It’s undeniable: we continue navigating in the direction of automated assistance from artificial intelligence. Whether it’s known to customers or not, AI helps many businesses create a seamless user experience. As greater numbers of customers need help, support teams quickly find themselves overwhelmed with requests and tickets.
Further incorporation of AI in 2018 will relieve some pressure from support teams. Combining an Interactive Voice Response system with AI is a great way to transition into using automation. The system can predict a customer’s intended path based on their selections then provide appropriate options for their specific needs.
The use of artificial intelligence in your call center speeds up the process of helping your customers. It alleviates work from your support team who can focus on more pressing customer matters. In 2018 we will see a greater shift towards the integration of AI into contact center solutions.
Continued Need for Human Interaction
While AI provides much-needed relief for overworked support teams, it can also be a source of frustration. Artificial intelligence still has ground to cover before it can operate as efficiently as a real human. For this reason, contact centers will need a healthy blend of AI and human interaction.
IVR systems are beneficial to a contact center because it keeps companies from having to hire agents to filter calls. But from the customer’s perspective, they can still frustrate and complicate the process of getting a question answered quickly. Maintaining a combination AI and human interaction allows you to diffuse tension created by poorly-functioning automation.
Also, when it comes down to it, direct person-to-person communication will always be more effective. Rather than receiving the run-around from artificial intelligence that isn’t yet intelligent enough, an agent can often quickly answer a customer’s question. Striking a balance between the two will keep agents from unnecessary calls but available to handle frustrated customers.
Customers expect to receive the quickest, easiest answer possible on the platform they prefer. Consumers spend an average of 135 minutes per day on social media. This means it is fast becoming the preferred method of communication for millions of people.
In order to keep up, nearly every company or business now has at least one social media profile. As a result, consumers reach out on social media channels like Twitter or Facebook Messenger to receive fast answers to simple questions.
This means a shift in the traditional customer support model as well as the social media manager role. There will likely be a further shift towards combining social media management and customer support. Maintaining a helpful image on front-facing social media profiles provides a great image of your business, showing that you keep up with the times.
Transition to Cloud
Although they are less common nowadays, there are still companies who run their contact center solution from an on-premise system. Those who have been in business for years adopt an, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it mentality.” This includes something as imperative as the software solution that their entire contact center is based around.
However, every year we see more businesses abandoning the traditional hardware model in favor of the Software-as-a-Service model. Setting up a cloud contact center is quick and easy compared to an on-premise system. The simplicity of logging into an online platform managed by a third-party company is appealing due to its simplicity.
In 2018 we will see those still grappling with on-premise systems switching over to the cloud. The less companies have to worry about onsite issues, the more time they can spend focused on training agents and making deals.
Moving Into 2018
Pay attention to the continued technological transitions the call center industry will undoubtedly make in the upcoming year. Working to provide a streamlined customer experience will prove most beneficial as your customers are the reason your company is in business. Be ready to adjust your own approach at your company to stay ahead of the curve.