Crystal Ball – The Call Center of the Future: 2025
Let’s talk about the future. Technology is evolving so quickly that every year there is something new that will make our call center life easier. Some of these trends are coming quickly, but many won’t be widely accepted for another few years. With that in mind, let’s look at ten changes that will be coming to contact centers in the next five years.
Predictive Behavior Routing
How we route has evolved from the longest wait time to skills-based routing. Now, we are moving beyond that to predictive behavior routing which takes the personality profiles of the customer as they call in; this matches them with agents of similar profiles who are available to take a call. For example, if you have a very straight-to-the-point, no-frills caller, they will be much more receptive to a like-minded agent. They appreciate an agent who gets right to the point, giving them the information they need accurately and succinctly. We will route those callers to the right representatives using analytics and AI.
There are many types of security being used. Voice authentication is not widely used yet but will be in the coming years. It can be found in the financial services world when calling about credit card information, or when calling your credit union or bank. You are going to see a widespread rollout, and decreased costs, for voice authentication. This will enhance your customer experience because they won’t have to go through the verification process with every call because the system will verify their voice for us. Voice authentication will also be helpful with routing and advanced analytics.
Real-time analytics are of great benefit to you and your clients. These analytics are going to begin to drop in price, making them more affordable to your clients and allowing the use of them in contact centers to increase. Your clients want to be able to flag specific things during calls. If a customer were to call in and change their address and also request a new card be sent to them, the analytics will flag that call in real-time; agents are then prompted to ask for more information to confirm this person’s identity. We can also see customer and agent sentiment in real-time. If a caller’s sentiment starts to plummet during a call, it will be flagged and a supervisor can hop on the line to try to help bring that sentiment back up.
At Expivia, we are an omnichannel organization. This will become more widespread because we are looking at less voice, more advanced chat, and even video customer support coming into play. Contact centers are still going to take calls, of course, but becoming an omnichannel organization will be a big selling point. You are going to see more customers using chat and instantly upgrading to phone support with the same agent for further assistance.
Agents can also initiate a phone call from a chat as well. You will also start to see some augmented reality in your chat as it becomes more popular. It will become a much more interactive experience. With this feature, an agent will be able to co-browse with the customer and show them things that they might like but hadn’t noticed.
IoT Customer Service
Customer service will begin to take advantage of all of our devices that are connected and sharing information via the Internet of Things. Bots will be talking to humans, rather than humans talking to bots. If your smart television has an error, it will initiate contact with customer service through an API to discover the problem. Often, there is a human interacting with the bot to upload a solution. Alexa and Siri are going to start being embedded into different types of products that we use daily. You will be able to call out to your speaker for help, rather than picking up your phone. The speaker will initiate customer support via the product, allowing it to essentially fix itself.
Cloud Contact Centers
Big server rooms that you used to see in premise-based solutions are going away. Organizations like that they don’t have to purchase new software. Upgrades happen instantly and the price of them is built into the bill, so there are no extra surprise fees that you have to wiggle into your budget. Clients also like these systems because they can blind monitor their agents on our platform from anywhere in the US. Some clients also like that through the evolution of the cloud, there is so much flexibility some agents can even work from home.
There are a lot of ways that you can use artificial intelligence chatbots. They are being used as a type of interactive voice response to take your customers down a set path, but this is beginning to change. AI technology is beginning to learn what the customers need and want as they contact us. AI chatbots are starting to catch up with the self-service model. You’re going to still see IVR, but it is going to start to drop off, and chatbots will take their place. People use their phones for everything and prefer to text not talk. IVR being seen as a painful voice solution when you can do things just as quickly and efficiently through texting with chatbots.
AI Influence on WFM
With real-time workforce management, agents are moving in and out of different skills based on different routing techniques. AI will understand service-level metrics and tie them to sentiment scoring to help a customer’s experience while also matching them with the right agent. That is something that is pretty hard to do as a human who is being bombarded with many calls coming in. The AI from the WFM is an awesome tool that will continue to evolve. This will probably be one of the main areas you are going to see AI really start to influence the contact center world.
Highly Trained Agents
A revolution is coming where organizations are going to put a lot more time and money into training their associates. Companies will use this to differentiate themselves and bring in high-end clients who need highly-trained agents for their customers. These agents will be able to help a company be better equipped to effectively use technology to their advantage. High-end tech will be able to take over the easier, low-end questions from customers, allowing agents to work on more complex issues that customers may face. At Expivia, we are positioning ourselves to do this through our in-depth training that lasts for 4-8 weeks. We teach them everything we can: product knowledge, the importance of good tone and sentiment, and stellar etiquette. We know that our highly-trained agents are going to make us stand out.
You want to differentiate your organization from others, but you have to know your organization’s limits, too. Some companies may need to outsource to a better-educated staff for more complicated issues. If you go the lower route with technology, you will need to outsource a higher-end agent. There are so many different technological advances coming, outsourcing might be your best option to help cover your company when you aren’t prepared to make that financial leap.
That’s our crystal ball!!! These are the things that are really going to come into play in the call center industry. Some of them will certainly come more quickly than others, but tall of them should come into play in the next five years.