You buy a product or service from a brand and are pleased with what has been offered. However, there may be a time when you are not fully satisfied with the product and may need to reach out to the brand for queries. Either way, customer satisfaction is an essential measure of how a brand can meet your expectations.
How does a brand boost customer service and satisfaction? By way of a contact center which is the hub for a business.
The contact center handles customer interactions across channels, offers customer support and drives a superior customer experience.
Contact center trends are continuously evolving and changing thanks to ever-evolving technological changes. Let’s dive into some top contact center trends that are driving customer experience and support strategies:
The cloud contact center is hosted on an Internet server and handles both inbound and outbound interactions. Cloud contact center ensures that businesses can interact via social media, email and voice from anywhere via the cloud. Contact center as a service or CCaaS model has emerged as a top contact center trend. According to Gartner research, the CCaaS market will grow at 29 per cent CAGR touching nearly $18 billion by 2024. The CCaaS model has already been forecast to touch 50 per cent adoption by the end of 2022 as per Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for CCaaS. (Source: Gartner) The pandemic and work-from-home models have only accelerated cloud adoption by businesses.
While businesses use CCaaS for connecting with customers, unified communication as a service or UCaaS pertains to internal communication among agents and team members in a contact center.
UCaaS is aimed at offering a superior employee experience by bringing together the brand’s enterprise communications apps including messaging, video and voice into a unified cloud-based platform. According to market research*, the UCaaS market is expected to touch over $79 billion by 2024. (Source: Prnewswire) Bundling both CCaaS and UCaaS to ensure a comprehensive communication model for both employees and customers is gaining traction. This will further emerge as one of the key contact center trends in 2023
3. Conversational AI-driven contact centers
Conversational AI has emerged as a game changer for the contact centers of today and the future. Access to conversational AI is a by-product of moving the contact center to the cloud. n the form of chatbots and interactive voice response (IVR) or automated call systems, conversational artificial intelligence can enable bots to answer customer queries.
Conversational AI also helps self-service solutions, which is the mainstay of today’s customer service and experience. Gartner predicts that the use of conversational AI in contact centers would cut labor costs by nearly $80 billion by 2026. It’s an increasingly digital-first world and more millennials, Zoomers and Gen-Zers are comfortable with using technology than ever before. AI-enabled self-service, in the form of chatbots, help customers resolve queries on their own. Forrester Research has shown that a live agent call costs anywhere between $6 and $12, while self-service engagement can cost a mere 25 cents.
4. Omnichannel communication
An omnichannel experience is one where the brand reaches out to the customer on the channel they are present. It is an experience where the consumer is at the centre, and communication from the brand is unified across channels.
Customers can pick up from where they had left off on an earlier channel and continue with the same experience on another. An omnichannel contact center enables agents to interact with customers on each channel based on a 360- degree view of their interactions on another channel. An omnichannel contact center supports interactions on multiple channels including phone, email, chat and social media. According to Harvard Business Review, 73 per cent of customers opt to shop on multiple channels, which underlines the importance of omnichannel contact center interactions.
You can’t talk about future trends and ignore the metaverse. Metaverse is a virtual world that unifies the physical and digital; a world where people can interact not just with their family or friends but also brands. It offers an immersive experience not just for shoppers but also for brands.
According to a McKinsey survey, consumers belonging to three generations including Gen X, millennials and Gen Z expect to spend anywhere between four and five hours a day in the metaverse in the coming five years. A contact center that can align with the metaverse is already evolving, thanks to artificial intelligence. Further, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can enable customers to engage with brands. For instance, a customer could use a VR headset and engage with an agent who is a Metaverse avatar at the contact center.
During the pandemic, the global labor market saw a huge impact – work-from-home and lockdowns became the norm. Remote contact centers have now become the norm as they offer greater productivity and flexibility for agents. Hybrid contact centers that let agents blend in-office and remote work have also emerged. All the tech advancements in recent times, including cloud contact centers and AI have aided remote and hybrid models. Contact centers, much like any other customer service and support solutions, are evolving with emerging technology. Also, changing lifestyles and customer preferences are redefining contact centers of today.
The trends that have emerged and are going to gain momentum as we step into 2023 include omnichannel experiences, use of conversational AI, metaverse aligned contact centers, self-service models and contact centers as a service and unified communication as a service bundling, among others.
If you are a business looking to offer a seamless customer experience to your customers, look up Exotel’s Cloud Contact Center Solution so you can offer support via WhatsApp, text, live chat or video conferencing for your customers.