7 contact centre trends for 2022 and beyond:
- We will approach customer communication holistically
- Conversational chat apps will be at the heart of your communications
- Customer data will be at the heart of your omnichannel customer experience
- SaaC & CPaaS are the new CX stack
- The channels in the contact centre are going to transform drastically
- We will get help from AI
- Businesses are looking for tools that are easy to integrate into their business processes
1. A holistic approach to customer communication
The digital transformation has accelerated our embrace of cloud technology. Companies formed teams and launched ad hoc initiatives to keep up, but this led to a gap in strategy. We adopted digital channels and communications technology, but without clear processes and tailored solutions to meet customer needs. To provide a successful customer experience, you need to adapt your processes and add new digital channels.
This is why it is important to look for a vendor that focuses on a holistic approach to customer communications. You want a vendor that helps you:
- Deliver an omnichannel customer experience
- Digitise your processes and workforce
- With strategic support beyond just delivering a communications solution
Takeaway: digital transformation combined with digital strategy will ensure business growth and therefore success
2. Conversational chat apps as the heart of your communication ecosystem
Traditional channels have been replaced by digital channels – including email and SMS. Customers are having conversations with businesses like they do with their friends and family, something that will lead to an evolution and migration to chat apps.
Google Business Messaging, Apple Business Chat and WhatsApp are at the forefront of this revolution and are gaining more and more engagement. Lockdowns and working from home sent the use of chat apps through the roof, as more and more people communicate only on mobile. Therefore, one of the communication trends is that we are going to see a shift towards less app downloads and surfing to more chat conversations.
What does this mean for your business? It means that everything from support, payments, browsing product catalogues and more will take place in chat apps.
Takeaway: make sure you build a chat app portfolio with local channels to deliver a better customer experience throughout the customer journey
3. Customer data is the centerpiece of the true omnichannel experience
Omnichannel means that you can switch between communication channels and optimise conversations across different channels. Say you have a question about a loan. You arrange the details with an agent and the information is sent to you via e-mail. A while later, you get some notifications sent through your standard chat app. Or you call a contact centre but the queue is long and so you are automatically redirected to the chat app for a faster answer. The mix and matching of the right channels and the right moment is exactly what omnichannel is.
For a good omnichannel experience, personalisation is vital and that is where customer data platforms come in. You not only personalise the channel, but also the content and time.
Takeaway: businesses should embrace a holistic approach by using a combination of the right channels, CX solutions and a customer data platform
4. SaaS + CPaaS are the new CX stack
The increasing popularity of chat apps along with SMS, email and voice is causing us to see in the contact center trends that more and more companies are opting for CPaaS providers. We also see a number of other communication trends and strategies:
- Integrate proprietary IT systems and channels with those existing
- Platforms integrating internal communication solution and external channels
The second option is the strongest. Sometimes for a particular application it is not enough to just have a channel. For example, you need a contact centre to provide agent support, marketing automation or an engagement hub to automate communications, a platform to build chatbots for always-on customer service, and a platform for customer data for personalisation.
Channels are fuelling new use cases, but to strengthen those channels you need additional tools.
Takeaway: for success, you need the best of both worlds: SaaS and CPaaS. Take a bottom-up approach to building your omnichannel foundation, followed by CX solutions
5. Channel transformation of the contact center
We already saw the traditional call center transforming into a digital contact center and that’s because people are more likely to approach you through social media, chat apps and email than through the phone. With social media it’s no longer about customer support, but about delivering service to a community. Voice will slowly shift to video and traditional IVR will pave the way for intuitive voicebots. And all channels will be available on a single platform, with a single interface for agents.
Takeway: traditional call centres are expanding with digital channels and voice will remain important, but it will transform from IVR to voicebots
6. Support with a touch of AI
Chatbots and voicebots take over simple IVR tasks. In the world of bots, you currently have:
- Keyword-based chatbots and IVR
- AI chatbots and voicebots
In the contact centre trends we will see keyword-based chatbots and IVR being replaced by more intuitive AI chatbots and voicebots. With two main applications:
- A virtual assistant that helps with sales and marketing
- Contact centre bots that solve problems or lay the groundwork for an agent to provide a solution more quickly
But a chatbot or voicebot should be explicitly designed to help, not act as a human agent. And to seamlessly switch to an agent, it must have sentiment analysis. If a customer sounds angry or feels like they’re going around in circles without a solution, they need to be redirected immediately. AI enables chatbots and speechbots to track customer sentiment and behaviour.
In addition to automating support, agents can be further assisted with intelligent routing based on historical conversations and the content of existing conversations, to be directed to the most appropriate agent.
AI can further be used to leverage customer data based on events – to personalise messaging, perform intelligent segmentation and choose the right channel.
Takeaway: there are three areas where AI will play an important role. The first is related to personalisation, segmentation and profiling of customers, the second is in NLP chatbots and voicebots and the third is in intelligent routing, agent profiling and automated calls
7. Easy to integrate and deploy communication solutions
It’s important to have one platform for all your communication channels, but it should also be easy to mix and match with your other systems. For example, a customer may want to contact you through one channel, but later want to communicate through another. And you may want to link your marketing automation tool to it.
Work with SaaS and CPaaS providers who deliver solutions that are plug & play and do not require recourses from your IT department.
Takeaway: make sure you have a platform that allows you to integrate your existing solutions and systems into your CX stack
How to get started with these contact centre trends?
Wondering where your organisation stands and where it can do even better for your customer? Or do you want to get started with these contact center trends? Just contact us, we like to brainstorm with companies and share our knowledge of customer contact.