7 Top Contact Center Trends Every Business Should Watch out For In 2021

by Amelia Ortiz

7 Top Contact Center trends & Predictions for 2021

The contact center industry has faced more disruption over the past few months than it has for decades. This has driven businesses to rewrite their call center workbooks and adopt new models that will ensure their survival in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses have thus realized the importance of investing in their call centers especially in Customer experience (CX), as opposed to the traditional lead magnets (quality products and competitive prices).

In 2020, Customer satisfaction and improved experience became the new ‘attention’, and there will be no difference in 2021. In fact, recent PWC research associated the willingness of customers to pay higher prices with getting a high-quality customer experience.

 With CX expected to precede product price and quality in differentiating brands, businesses are looking forward to investing in contact center innovations that will help them stay ahead of the competition while playing safe, financially. 

As the uncertainty of how the pandemic will affect the 2021 economy increases, here are 7 trends and predictions that will impact the contact center industry. 

Contact Center & CX Statistics worth noting

  • Customer Experience over product quantity and quality

86% of customers are willing to pay higher prices for an amazing customer experience (PWC)

%

Customers will pay for better CX

 

  • Even your loyal customers won’t give you a second chance

32% of customers will walk away from a brand they have been loyal to after a single incident of poor customer experience 

  • CX will be King in 2021

A recent Walker study predicted that come 2021, CX will be the main brand differentiator

  • The ‘Voice’ Channel’ Still crucial, but diversification is the future

With omnichannel support systems at the forefront of changing the contact centers as we know them, Voice support may drop from 64% to 47%, while chat features will rise from 16% to 31%.  

  • Advanced analytics: Still a GameChanger

66% of contact center organizations are looking forward to investing in advanced analytics as a way to stay ahead in the customer satisfaction battle (CCW)

 What are the new innovations worth watching out for in 2021? Will contact center innovations that dominated the call center industry in 2020 (AI, advanced analytics, omnichannel support systems, and social media communication) prevail in 2021? 

Our contact center trends and predictions are below.

1. AI for Customer engagement, innovation, and Security.

AI for Customer Experience (CX)

For years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has played an important role in driving technological innovation towards unimaginable destinations. AI has played a pivotal role in shaping contact centers for the best by facilitating technologies such as Natural Language Processing(NLP), Chatbots, and machine learning.

These technologies and innovations have taken customer experience to a whole new level, especially in 2020. With 33.3% of organizations having laid out strategies to capitalize on the trend, the contact center industry is at the forefront of this revolution. 

Here are some ways that AI will continue to influence Customer Experience(CX) come 2021:

  • Improve The Functioning of Multichannel Support Systems

Multichannel support systems are important in increasing efficiency in contact centers, and AI will continue using its predictive power in deciding what channels are suitable for certain contexts. For instance, a caller inquiring about information that can be found on the company website is redirected to the FAQs page or a company chatbot. 

  • Increase Agent Productivity

The infinite power of AI has saved contact centers a lot of time and agent efforts by solving several contact center snugs. By using accumulated patterns, AI is able to help agents handle complaints that don’t need agents’ attention, hence improving their efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

  • Customer Interaction Analytics

AI is critical when it comes to getting the best out of customer interaction data. Through AI, contact centers are able to get valuable insights from voice data, messaging channels, and other sources. 

These insights are then used to re-shape customer experience for increased effectiveness.

AI for Improved Security Systems

With cybercrime on the rise, thanks to Covid-19, AI systems will come to the rescue in enhancing security in call centers. Contact centers will increase the use of AI solutions especially in fraud detection, and biometrics to protect brands and consumers. 

There is no doubt that AI’s future in contact centers is bright, and we expect that it will continue to improve contact center solutions, come 2021. 

 

2. Analytics Systems will Improve Agent & Customer experience (AE/CX) 

Do you hate outdated business mantras? Yeah, we do too. 

But, the business mantra, ‘Data runs everything’ is one that will stick around till the end of time. 2021 will see increased demand and adoption of contact center analytics solutions. Through advanced analytics, contact centers will be able to improve agent and customer experience (AE/CX) by using insights from voice and text data

By using data from these customer interactions, businesses will use solutions such as VoiceBase Speech analytics, AI, and natural processing language (NLP) to get insights such as Average Handling Time (AHT), First Call Resolution(FCR), tone, and sentiments, among others. 

These insights are then used in making data-driven decisions to improve efficiency and increase ROI in businesses. 

Here are some of the ways that advanced analytics will increase efficiency in contact centers;

  • Text analytics

Advanced analytics solutions such as VoiceBase make it possible to analyze data from chat, email, and CRM. These insights are used in improving the customer experience. 

  • Tone and Sentiment

There is a lot of information embedded in voice data.  By using voice analytics, you can detect tone and sentiment metrics such as silence, sarcasm, overtalk, and many others. These insights are used to increase customer satisfaction and agent productivity. 

  • Speech Analytics

Voice analytics provide businesses with insights that make it possible to make data-driven decisions thus increasing customer satisfaction and retention. 

3. Voice: Still The future of customer experience

We understand that the ideology ‘Voice is the future’ is a little bit cliched, but that doesn’t make it lesser than the truth.  

With more solutions offering different customer support channels, many businesses seem to have lost their touch when it comes to delivering high-quality person-to-person support. 

But, despite the consistent use of other contact center technologies,  the Voice will continue to dominate the marketplace. With technologies such as AI, NLP, and Machine Learning, the future of voice is even brighter. 

The COVID-19 pandemic also played a vital role in illustrating the fact that sometimes a human-human connection is the best approach for certain situations.  

Moving into 2021, it is crucial to keep in mind that you can’t tame the voice.  

voice of the customer analytics

“Heading into the next year, the voice of the customer will be a crucial program for business success. Brands that successfully tap into the VOC and make customers the focus of data-driven decisions will differentiate themselves from organizations still trying to leverage manual survey methods.” – Jay Blazensky, CRO for VoiceBase 

4. Cloud computing migration increases 

Cloud computing has been one of the technologies that have improved how we live and do business, and it has recently taken contact centers by storm. In 2020, remote working became the new norm thus many businesses had to adopt cloud technologies and solutions to increase efficiency. 

Thanks to the irresistible benefits that come with the cloud, many brands have moved their call centers to the cloud. The integration of Cloud infrastructure and solutions in contact centers has made it possible for businesses to cut certain operational costs while increasing efficiency. 

Virtual contact centers are expected to rise in 2021 as tech giants such as Google and Microsoft adopt the ‘Hybrid Work Model’.

However, due to the misconception of  ‘immaturity’ in cloud-based contact center solutions, many businesses are still on the fence as to which model to adopt.  

If you are having doubts about moving your contact center to the cloud, take into consideration the many advantages the cloud offers including scalability, data security, increased functionality, and flexibility. 

2020 was the year of the cloud, and 2021 will be no different. It is therefore important for every business to have a good contact center cloud strategy come 2021, to avoid missing on its amazing benefits. 

5. Omnichannel communication moves up to top priority

In 2020, Companies interacting with their customers through the omnichannel system increased by 80%, which reflects its importance. A 2018  Adobe report also discovered the power of using multichannel communication in contact centers after companies with better strategies reported a 25% increase in close rate and a 10% Y-O-Y growth. 

From the two insights, there is no doubt that omnichannel communication will provide contact centers with relief in 2021, especially now that customer support expectations are much higher. 

With omnichannel communication, brands are able to engage their customers with several means such as chatbots, web portals, phones, video calls, emails, social media, and text messaging.

Multichannel communications also provide businesses with a chance to use different kinds of customer interaction (Video, Voice, and text) data to increase efficiency in call centers. 

To extract insight from this omnichannel communication system, businesses can use VoiceBase analytics.  Not only does it let you extract insight from voice and text, but also syncs with other CRMs for increased functionality. This gives your business an opportunity to make data-driven decisions. 

Moving forward, businesses should prepare to come up with solid omnichannel communication plans to make them get the best out of this trend. 

6. More Social Media? Yes, please!


Social media has become more than a marketing piece in the business chessboard. It has become an important element in bridging the gap between businesses, technology, and consumers. With 63% of customers expecting brands to provide them with an opportunity to interact with them through social media, 2021 will be a social year, in relation to customer experience.

 Thanks to the 48.2% of baby boomers, 90% of millennials, and 77.5% of Gen Z that is active on social media, brands are able to advertise their products and improve customer experience.

Not only does social media connect the two parties, but also improves brand reputation. In fact, 71% of consumers who experience a positive engagement with a brand in Social Media will recommend it to family and friends. 

Many brands have therefore come up with advanced social media strategies to make sure they are not missing out on these opportunities.

 Be on the watch, for this trend will continue to be a gamechanger in 2021. 

7. Increase in Demand for self-service tools

Wait, so you can have a buffet of more than a hundred global cuisines at a company convention but your customers have to wait for you to serve them?

Not exactly. Self-service customer support in the contact center has been on the rise, and 2021 may see an increase in the adoption of the trend. According to a recent study, 60% find automated self-service tools such as mobile apps or chatbots for easy tasks. 

Self-service tools take different forms including videos, FAQs pages, mobile apps, and many others, but chatbots have been one of the most auspicious self-service channels. Self-service has tons of benefits but an increase in call agents’ efficiency and improvement of customer experience is the main. 

Businesses should, therefore, come 2021, define their self-service strategies based on their target audience. Self-service tools should be customized to meet the customers’ needs.   

Conclusion

The disruption that happened across all industries in 2020,  we believe, makes it a little challenging to predict trends that will dominate or arise in contact centers, but understanding and creating a plan on how to implement the above-discussed contact center trends will give your business a head start as 2021 continues melting away. 

If you are interested in capitalizing on promising call center trends such as the use of AI, advanced analytics, and NLP, checkout VoiceBase; A comprehensive solution that helps you get the best out of your voice and text data.

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