Emerging Trends for Contact Centers in 2014 and Beyond

In their newly released U.S. Contact Center Decision-Makers’ Guide 2014, Contact Babel highlighted a few important trends in the contact center industry. The findings were focused on technology penetration and implementation plans, expenditure priorities, and top managerial issues for 2014. Check out the charts below to see if your contact center plans match up with your industry peers. Focusing on technology, Contact Babel found that the two high growth areas for contact centers are web chat functionality and a customer-focused mobile app. 17% of those surveyed plan on implementing at least one of those features in the next 12 months, which confirms the trend that businesses are actively exploring non-voice channels to interact with their customers. Contact centers are also focusing on implementing a Workforce Management System, which continues a trend we’ve seen over the past few years.

Contact Babel U.S. Contact Center Decision-Makers' Guide (2014 - 7th edition)[/caption] Contact Babel also explored where contact centers are focusing their spending in the next two years, which gives a more accurate picture of where priorities lay. Integrating with a CRM and moving to an IP system were the top two areas according to the survey, with Workforce Management systems rounding out the top three. As much press as Social Customer Service has gotten over the last couple of years, only 4% of contact centers listed it as their 1st expenditure priority, and only 3% and 2% listed it as their 2nd and 3rd priorities respectively. It appears that many contact centers are still trying to crack the Social Media puzzle and haven’t yet found a solution to do that.

contact center spending

Contact Babel US Contact Center Decision-Makers' Guide (2014 - 7th edition)[/caption] Finally, Contact Babel asked contact center managers and directors what their most pressing managerial issues are this year. The top two issues are improving customer satisfaction and increasing revenue, while growing or maintaining staff numbers and reducing agent retention are the least important. One interesting point to note is that of these managerial issues, only two can’t be readily tied to metrics: staff morale and customer satisfaction. Contact centers appear to be improving their ability to gather data and track key metrics via CRM and Workforce Management systems.

contact center management

Contact Babel US Contact Center Decision-Makers' Guide (2014 - 7th edition)[/caption] What do you think? Do these findings line up with your contact center priorities in 2014? Let us know in the comments.