Contact Centers are no longer just “call” centers. The channels customer’s use and service level expectations have grown significantly over the past decade. Customers can communicate through email, chat, text or social media and they’re not exclusive to just one channel. They will utilize several communication channels to create the complete customer story. Channel preferences can depend on various factors such as the age of the customer, the speed in which they’d like resolution or the importance and complexity of their service need, which may require human interaction. In addition to utilizing multiple channels of communication, customers expect the same level of service throughout every interaction and touch point adding to the complexity of the “customer experience.” Therefore, contact centers will need to be able to manage multiple communication channels, in real-time, to maintain desired service levels and CSAT scores. Currently most communication is still via the phone call but, as Jay Minnucci, President and Founder of Service Agility notes in his recent white paper Three Coming Contact Center Trends and the Impact on Real-Time Management, when the channel splits are more even, contact center managers will need to have better defined skilling strategies for agents.
A second important trend relates to the customer’s communication pattern, which will start to resemble the communication patterns in their personal life. Contact Centers will experience more frequent “short burst communication” from customers. For example when a customer is shopping they may first browse your products on you website, leave, comeback a day or 2 later, then chat online with a sales agent, leave, email the product to a friend or post to social media for feedback – come back purchase the product. Then receive an email order confirmation and shipping tracking number. Perhaps they realize that they want to change the shipping location so they then call and speak with an agent. Anymore, it’s rarely a 1 channel, 1 communication transaction. And the same goes for all industries from healthcare to insurance to retail. As Jay goes on to mention in the paper, “Short burst communication is linked to, and enabled by, tiered channeling. These two trends will work together to create more contacts via more channels than what is experienced today. “
And finally the third trend will be your contact center agents. Contact centers are no stranger to a transient workforce and this will only continue to increase over the coming years. So what does Jay recommend? Accept it and plan accordingly. Create a collaborative and respectful work environment by making data MORE visible and redefine performance metrics to drive success. To learn more about these 3 very important trends and how they will impact contact center performance download Jay Minnucci’s paper.