Eight major developments for 2019

  1. Companies will begin to treat customer support and communication as an integral part of the product, brand and service. Companies are beginning to take notice that you can create a cult-like following if you take care of your customers and don’t treat customer support as a checkbox or a cost center. It’s long overdue that companies view customer support as an integral part of the product, brand and service.
  2. Blending of different technologies in cloud computing space is going to continue and accelerate. In the computing cloud space, we’re seeing a trend of companies integrating their technology with devices like Alexa and Google Home that consumers speak into. We see brands, solutions providers and devices coming together and this will evolve faster and faster. Unless communications solutions providers fully leverage new capabilities and services, they’re not going to be in the forefront very long.
  3. Organizations will continue to move to cloud-based customer support solutions. Cloud-based solutions expedite digital technology progress at an exponential pace. Think about supporting new products, customers, and locations. Which companies are consumers going to recommend to their friends, family and co-workers? It will be the companies that have the best customer onboarding, support and transparency. We believe that the recipe is for non-analog, true digital, cloud-based, multi-channel, auto-scaling support communication platforms. We expect Web RTC to continue to make inroads here. From a deployment standpoint, even large, complex contact centers can be deployed in three to four weeks via a robust cloud service platform, compared to four to six months for legacy technology-based solutions.
  4. Companies will realize the need to up their game in how they provide support in their mobile apps.
    Quality of service needs to become a priority. Most mobile apps today have poor customer support. It’s a very dated concept to present a default phone dialer that pushes the customer outside of your mobile app. When a customer is in your app, you have access to a wealth of information about them. It is particularly crucial for connected devices (e.g., Nest, Noon, Fitbit) and on-demand services such as food and grocery delivery to provide in-app support. Support solutions need to leverage available customer data to streamline information exchange and resolve disappointing experiences where customers feel their time and effort are wasted providing answers to a company that should already have access to their information.
  5. Context-aware solutions maximize what we know about a user.                          The recipe for achieving delightful end user support experiences are to minimize average support session durations and maximize agent effectiveness. In-depth awareness of end user context is becoming an increasingly important ingredient. This requires the ability to evaluate key available customer data and detect specific context patterns in real time, at any given point in time. The way to optimize the end user experience is to enable the contact center to assess a customer’s current context, for an expanding set of scenarios, and to leverage that intelligently in support. We see this evolving relatively quickly into a standard end user expectation over the next few years.
  6. Customer service will become progressively more user profile and data-driven (the way marketing has).
    Marketing communications service providers have established deep capabilities and proven results in the last decade, in part by optimizing their communications strategies around finely honed sophisticated user profile segmentation. As a logical extension to context awareness, leveraging and maximizing the available data about each customer can offer real differentiation opportunities for the modern contact center. By drawing insights from basic profile metrics like lifetime customer value (LCV), evaluating core customer historical data, channel and more advanced preferences like voice or personality of the support entity, it’s possible to elevate support experiences, strengthen brand appreciation, increase LCV, and help drive positive organic social media reach and impact.
  7. Companies will continue to move to a single support center solution.
    Operating a contact center by combining multiple technologies, e.g., especially different communication channels and services will come with increasing opportunity costs. The longer a contact center relies on different core technology solutions, the greater the gap to competitors with modern single contact center platforms. The single contact center platform offers a variety of growing benefits across several disciplines, including the ability to:

○        Offer modern customer support experiences via seamless in-session cross-channel support

○        Optimize agent workflows via cross-channel adapters (i.e., calls, chats, messaging)

○        More effectively manage agent resources across channels

○        Provide visibility into comprehensive cross-channel dashboards, with quick actions to adjust to overall contact center conditions

○        Apply simplified, deeper and more comprehensive routing logic across all scenarios and channels to reduce time to resolution and leverage skilled agents more effectively

○        Provide out of the box, cohesive and integrated reporting and business intelligence across the entire suite of contact center operations, including across channels, virtual and human agents

○        Work towards a single 360-degree customer view by enabling data flows and integrations from the contact center across business units within a company, rather than just within the contact center

Automation of processes will have more impact than AI.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are overhyped for many real life applications, including the contact center industry. For example, instead of trying to identify specific patterns in images or data (an AI/ML sweet spot), it will be much more useful to increase the volume of satisfying self-service support sessions through intelligently applied automation to resolve common questions and provide guided user flows through defined business processes. By leveraging human intelligence primarily for those support scenarios that can’t be effectively automated, call center operations will be further optimized.

Blog Contributor – Anand Janefalkar, CEO and Founder of UJET,

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