As customer expectations continue to rise, organizations need to focus on quality customer service and leverage it as a competitive advantage to increase customer engagement and increase sales. But to keep pace with their expectations, contact centers must implement continuous improvements and innovations critical to customer satisfaction and business performance.
As we are in the middle of the year 2015, let’s take a closer look at the growing contact center technology trends which are definitely going to change the way companies interact with consumers:
Mobile- First Focus
With mobile devices becoming more powerful and seamless with availability of rich applications, customers will expect to be able to interact and engage effortlessly with companies. Mobile is not just a digital channel but an omni-channel platform in itself as it has email, voice, video chat, text messages and social media capabilities. It has been predicted that, 42% of the global population will own a smartphone by the end of 2015. Customers are turning to their mobile devices to get their issues resolved, hence companies must ensure that their software allows customers to get the answers they’re looking for. If customers can’t quickly access your company or find information on your products or services, you’ll lose them to your competitors who are more readily accessible.
Gartner predicts that through 2018, the lack of support in mobile applications will lower customer satisfaction rates by 5%.
Self-service provides customers the opportunity to resolve the problems on their own, this means they don’t need to contact the customer service team of the company. Customers have become tech-savvy and want to help themselves without the need of any human intervention.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, the customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without even interacting with a human.
It is a double win for companies as it reduces costs and offloads support capacity at the same time. It also helps in increasing customer satisfaction by enabling customers to solve complex problems when and how they want.
Proactive Customer Service
Offering proactive customer care is a must. The days are gone when your agents used to wait for customer’s call or email. Companies should know when the customers are having trouble and must reach out before they have a chance to pick up the phone or before they know there is an issue. And all of this is possible with the help of a customer engagement hub platform.
For example, if the customer is facing problems while logging in or has already spent a few minutes with the help section of your website, there is a good chance that they need support. Instead of expecting them to initiate a conversation, brands should follow a proactive approach, thereby reducing the likelihood of any damaging reviews.
Focus on Real-time Analytics
Companies are using tools such as CRM solutions for real-time analytics and processing big data. The goal is to analyze customer patterns in order to improve customer experience and ultimately increase sales.
According to the Boston Retail Partners 2014 CRM/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey, a mere 22 percent of leading retailers are currently using real-time analytics, 61 percent plan to implement this functionality over the next two years.
The Convenient “CHAT” Option
Instant chat has become prevalent in the customer care domain. It can assist customers when they are detected fumbling through their website or are indulged in complex purchasing decision. It requires less commitment of concentration from customers when initiating an interaction. It also helps in increasing an agent’s efficiency by allowing them to handle multiple chats simultaneously. Moreover, organizations can reduce customer interaction costs and develop opportunities for business development and lead generation.
Customer Experience- Most Important
According to a study, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Companies must focus on the experiences that their customers have while communicating with their brands and always work towards improving those experiences. It will help you differentiate from your competitors and transform customers into brand advocates. As customers today are intelligent and depend on reviews and recommendations from other users to make a decision, it becomes imperative for companies to deliver customer experience that is par excellence.
According to Gartner, by 2017, more than half of R&D investments will be directed towards customer experience innovations.