Popular media has long tried to forecast what the future will hold for all of us. Based on what I watched in my youth, I thought I'd be riding a Hoverboard and have a robotic maid that came with my floating glass house by now. When it comes to the contact center, what do you think is in store in the future? Will customer purchase decisions and marketing messages be personalized through some device like in Minority Report? (For the record, the eye thing really creeps me out.) Will we all "be excellent to each other" as Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure foretold? Okay, maybe things won't quite be like that, but the winds of change are definitely blowing and the contact center of today is sure to be a relic in the future.
1to1 Media recently penned a whitepaper titled, "Building the Contact Center of the Future," which took a stab at forecasting the changes we'll be seeing in contact centers in the next three to five years. The findings were very interesting, taking into account industry experts, leading contact center operators and analyst viewpoints. Following are a few of my key takeaways from the paper:
- With the ever-changing access to information and communication methods that customers possess, and their rapidly changing demands, one of the keys to overall survival of companies is agility. Companies must be agile enough to move and change with technology and customer demands.
- Contact centers need to determine the ideal mix of assisted- and self-service options they should provide to customers to optimize the customer experience, as agents will increasingly respond to customer inquiries across multiple channels.
- Agents need a more seamless view of every customer, particularly so that when a customer changes contact channels, such as from chat to phone, the agent has a historical record of the interaction prior and can pick up where that left off.
- Customer experience will becoming increasingly important in contact centers, as customers become more vocal about their experiences through social channels - both good and bad.
- Leading contact centers will learn to both match agent skills to particular channels, but also to match customers to the best-suited agents.
- Proactive services - reaching out to customers before they even know they need you - will become increasingly important in driving customer satisfaction, loyalty and value.
- The way we measure contact center success will evolve. Rather than being focused on products and transactions, they will instead be focused around services and relationships.
The future is filled with uncertainty, but, as the 1to1 Media whitepaper reads, "technology will continue to advance at breakneck speed and customer expectations will continue to rise". And maybe we all still have a shot at Hoverboards.