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New Technologies, Trends Poised To Impact Contact Centers in 2014

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Contact Centers Can Benefit From Several Key Trends in 2014

The contact center industry is under a lot of pressure to adapt its practices in light of new customer service expectations and demands. Fortunately, the rapidly evolving IT landscape is enabling decision-makers to pursue new strategies and solutions that can aid in their contact center's quest to optimize client experience and improve the efficiency of representatives.

Because the technological environment is so diverse, however, enterprise executives are not necessarily pinned down to following through with a single strategy and are able to carry out the tasks that meet their specific needs. A recent report by customer service technology systems integrator Sabio highlighted some of the emerging technologies and trends that are expected to impact the contact center in 2014. Some of these occurrences will have a more disruptive impact than others, depending on how well consumers embrace emerging solutions and operations.

A New Form of Self Service

In the past, old phone system features like interactive voice response (IVR) were the primary self-service portal for customers who were looking to resolve their own issues without the help of representatives. These technologies were highly advantageous to organizations in the past, as the platforms freed up representatives' schedules, streamlined the customer service process and allowed contact center agents to focus on more complex tasks. Recently, however, consumers have been less and less pleased with these antiquated and time-consuming processes that are not as painless as they are made out to be.

Today, the developing mobile environment is allowing individuals to use unique applications to do this, Sabio noted. In fact, experts believe mobile-enabled web chat and other services will bypass IVR solutions and allow next-generation customers to get on with their day without spending too much time navigating complex and outdated self-service portals.

Big Data May Lead To Better Service

Enterprises around the world are gathering and analyzing more information than ever before, allowing decision-makers to acquire more useful insight into prospective and existing customer landscapes, which make meeting client expectations less daunting and challenging. Sabio noted that customer relationship management systems, speech analytics and even customer feedback are all contributing to the contact center's big data movement.

A separate Accenture report highlighted how organizations that can learn how their customers think and build an intuitive and integrated experience around those expectations will likely be able to improve their reputations. By analyzing client behaviors, interaction and reactions, decision-makers may be able to learn how to integrate conventional business phone systems with face-to-face and other interactions to develop a holistic encounter.

"Success in the age of the nonstop customer does not all come down to digital. It comes down to how to leverage the digital and offline worlds in a seamlessly integrated way, giving customers the ability to define their own experience and maximize control over how they interact with companies," said Kevin Quiring, managing director of North America sales and customer services at Accenture.

Sabio suggested that the key to contact center success in the coming years will largely come down to how well organizations can act on client feedback. If firms can adapt to meet the evolving needs of prospective and existing customers, they may find it easier to compete in the long run.

People Want Better Communication

Even if contact centers have replaced old phone systems with more innovative and mobile-enabled offerings, they may not provide the best experience to end-users if they do not prioritize simplicity. Sabio highlighted how contact centers will need to evolve by embedding more intuitive interactive engagement solutions that can streamline the process and make life easier for both clients and corporate representatives.

"With digital now the default starting point for many consumers, it's essential for organizations to have a single, integrated view of customer engagement across multiple channels. However, the reality is that there's a growing gulf between customer expectations and service providers' ability to deliver," said Adam Faulkner, founding director of Sabio.

Faulkner noted that companies must begin to address this gap next year if they want to experience a successful future. Because consumers are constantly changing their minds and expectations, businesses must remain several steps in front by getting a head start in 2014 and adopting the tools, technologies and strategies they need to maximize user experience.

The contact center industry will continue to develop as new communication platforms and demands arise in the coming years. Decision-makers must assess their current standing and determine whether embracing one or several of these critical trends will provide a positive return on investment without introducing any unnecessary complexities or customer service issues. By implementing cutting-edge solutions that cater to the needs of consumers around the world, enterprises may be able to give themselves an edge in an increasingly competitive business environment.