The nature of contact centers is changing significantly. This isn't surprising - contact centers are always evolving to a certain degree. However, as several sources recently highlighted, this trend is expected to pick up steam in the near future. Tomorrow's contact center will likely more thoroughly embrace many of the aspects found in contact centers today, but to a greater degree. In light of that, business leaders will need to embrace new tools and strategies to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness. To this end, performance tracking solutions will be essential.
"Contact center management will become more complex and involved in the coming years."
The future of the contact center
Writing for Customer Think, Andrew Lamrock recently offered a number of predictions concerning how contact centers will appear by the year 2020. One of the biggest takeaways from this list is that contact center management will likely become much more complex and involved in the coming years.
For example, Lamrock emphasized that specialists will play a bigger role in the near future. Customer self-help will become increasingly popular, meaning that consumers will reach out to the company for support only for more complicated issues. While this will reduce the number of contact center agents who must be made available at any given time, it also indicates that contact center managers must ensure representatives with more specialized information can be reached when needed.
Liz Osborn, writing for No Jitter, agreed with this assessment. She pointed out that recent studies from ICMI and Gartner suggest customers have come to increasingly prefer self-service options, and actually view this as a major differentiator among the various companies in a given sector. And, as Lamrock highlighted, this means that when customers do decide to contact a business, it is likely because they require assistance with a more difficult problem.
Osborn also pointed out that customer service agents will need to respond to consumers through a wider range of channels. In addition to turning to self-service options with increasing frequency, consumers want to solve their issues via SMS, live chat and other options.
As a result, contact center leaders will need to either ensure that all support representatives have the ability to effectively engage with clients through all of these mediums or assign different agents to different channels. In either case, the continued proliferation of omnichannel in the contact center will make it more challenging for managers and other leaders to effectively oversee these areas in order to maximize performance across the board.
Finally, both Lamrock and Osborn predicted that remote agents will become extremely common among contact centers in the near future. Enabling remote work holds a number of advantages for businesses, Osborn noted. These include reduced overhead, the potential to recruit from a broader and more talent-rich pool of candidates, and, critically, a decrease in churn rates.
Lamrock also pointed out that many contact centers will likely embrace policies which allow agents more freedom within the contact center itself. Rather than being restricted to an assigned cubicle, representatives will increasingly have the ability to work from any available computer. As with remote work, this will likely improve agents' morale and job satisfaction, as they will appreciate this newfound empowerment and flexibility.
By and large, all of these trends will presumably have a positive impact on contact center efficiency and effectiveness. Consequently, it will be difficult for any organization to resist these developments, as failure to upgrade and update their contact centers will make it difficult to compete with industry rivals that have made these changes.
In order to accommodate these trends successfully, business leaders will need to consider how all of these new scenarios and strategies will impact their contact center management capabilities. Attempting to embrace remote agents, omnichannel capabilities and specialized customer support without new management tools is a recipe for major headaches, and will likely undercut many of the benefits that these upgrades can potentially offer.
"One of the best resources for avoiding these pitfalls is a high-quality performance tracker solution."
One of the best resources for avoiding these pitfalls and fully, successfully taking advantage of these ongoing contact center trends is advanced call center software. More specifically, firms should consider adopting a high-quality performance tracker solution. Such an offering will have the ability to provide contact center managers with critical insight into agent performance in real time. This can include a wide range of information, all of which can play a key role in helping contact center leaders make informed decisions throughout the day.
For example, the performance tracker dashboard may reveal that a particular agent is struggling with a certain type of customer support issue. By identifying this problem quickly, rather than in a weekly or monthly report, the manager will be able to address the issue immediately, minimizing the consequences.
Critically, an advanced performance tracker solution will be mobile-enabled, allowing the manager to enjoy the work flexibility which will increasingly become the norm for all agents.