Coming into the half way mark of 2019, I thought it would be the perfect time to look into some of the current trends in the contact center industry and what we can expect going forward. If you’ve been following the CHCG blog, you know that much of our focus is on delivering quality content that is relevant and based on real-world trends. Here’s a round-up of predictions for the remainder of 2019, and beyond:

The Customer Will Still Be King

As CCW’s Market Study for 2019 reports, businesses these days are not looking towards making huge shifts in the way they manage contact center operations. Most businesses are looking at making cautious and incremental changes, factoring in needs versus wants.  While the back-to-basics approach is still going strong, we are also seeing a shift towards emphasizing the human touch. Here are some key takeaways from the CCW study:

  • Customer satisfaction will remain a pivotal contact center metric. 73% of organizations believe CSAT (customer satisfaction score) should be on the quality scorecard.
  • Despite the hype surrounding self-service technology, 64% of organizations believe customers should have easy access to a live agent. 60% see having phone or voice/live agents as a critical investment to make.
  • Organizations reiterate that artificial intelligence should complement, rather than replace, human agents.
  • 57% of organizations plan to invest in customer satisfaction and loyalty measurement this year, making it the top customer relationship and intelligence priority.

Investment in Digital Tech and AI (Artificial Intelligence)

No discussion on trends would be complete without talking about one of the emerging contact center technology trends, which is the increasing integration of digital technology and AI. Early last year, CHCG talked about the expanding role of AI. The CCW study shows clear upward trends in the direction of employing digital technology to enhance the customer experience. For instance, 49% of companies surveyed feel that having a live chat option is an urgent investment priority.

ICMI’s blog post on trends impacting the future of contact center performance, management, and training, talks about the utility of using tech and AI to replace simple and repetitive tasks, enabling customers to self-service, and to enhance efficiency and productivity. ICMI reports that 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate bot technology across their engagement channels by 2020, while AI is expected to handle 15% of all customer interactions by 2020.

Agent Empowerment

Another key trend that’s on the upswing is agent empowerment. Agent empowerment is a broad term that encompasses a range of tools that agents need to execute their job roles in a motivated and result-oriented manner. In the absence of empowerment, agents are likely to demonstrate deficiencies in the way that they are able to manage the customer experience. Agent empowerment covers:

  • Tools that enhance work capability – According to the CCW study, 22% of respondents reported effort/frustration in association with contact center tools such as CRM, knowledge, dashboards…etc. This brings us back to the very valid need to provide tools that reduce agent burden and effort, along with adequate training and coaching. Agents are more likely to be productive and motivated when the tools are user-friendly and don’t take away from the customer experience.
  • Training and coaching  – We’ve taken an in-depth approach to training and coaching because this is a subject that needs considerable weight when you think about both agent empowerment as well as customer satisfaction. Ongoing training and development is a necessity to ensure that agents are able to represent the brand with confidence and have the know-how to provide exceptional service.
  • Open channels of communication – Last but not the least, agent empowerment is best fostered in an environment that supports open channels of communication. Look at how accessible management is to feedback from agents that engage with customers directly. Also, equally important to consider is how responsive and adaptable management is to this feedback.

CH Consulting Group provides unparalleled expertise in the Contact Center and Customer Experience verticals. We have a nationwide team of industry veterans that can assist you to achieve growth, manage change, and generate profit. For a comprehensive CX assessment and strategic plan customized for your unique business needs, connect with us here today.