Contact Center Industry Predictions for 2016

From the desk of Dr. WFO:

2015 is almost over! Can you believe it? Friends and colleagues are already talking about resolutions for 2016, (I shared one of my resolutions here).

After attending and speaking at several industry events, participating in various roundtables, and talking to numerous analysts, customers and prospects, below are my thoughts on themes within contact centers for 2016.

Emerging and/or continued investments in the following areas of technology:

  • Multichannel analytics
  • Desktop optimization (analytics)
  • Managed services
  • Cloud-based solutions where it makes sense
  • Predictive analytics
  • Mobile applications

Emerging and/or continued focus on customer experience (CX):

  • Need to establish multichannel strategy based on your customer demographics and expectations
  • Determine if you are ready to deliver a seamless cross-channel strategy; if you do not have a solid multichannel foundation in place, don’’t get distracted by the term “omni-channel experience”
  • Review current metrics to determine if these are appropriate based on your strategic and operational plans; are you measuring customer effort? If not, why? If so, how are you doing?
  • Self-service options that are well executed

Continued investment in human capital:

  • With an ever evolving workforce, investments in training, succession planning, and overall development must continue to be a focus at all levels within the contact center
  • Rewards and recognition programs improved (one size doesn’’t fit all)

Using a multichannel analytics application can provide the necessary data to measure, take action, and laser focus in a few areas: agent productivity and customer experience.

Agent Productivity

With multichannel interactions, the opportunity for agents to handle multiple chat and email sessions can reduce the cost per contact compared to agent handling a voice call. The cost per contact is even less when work-at-home agent are handling chats and email interactions because there aren’’t brick and mortar costs to be factored.

Customer Experience

Keep in mind, changes to the demographic landscape are evolving as your customers are becoming younger and younger. Self-service will continue to become an expectation from consumers. Timely and accurate resolution to an issue/inquiry without the customer having to wait in a queue for an agent will often result in a better customer experience.

For those consumers who take advantage of the self-service channel, they have communication expectations and requirements including – their inquiry has been received, a particular person is handling it and will get back to them, and when they can expect a response.

Organizations who provide self-service channels must measure the effectiveness through post-chat surveys, Net Promoter scores, customer effort and even SMS or email surveys.

What do you see as key themes for the contact center in 2016? Let me know in the comments below. Enjoy the holidays and I look forward to a great 2016!


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