The contact center industry is dynamic, as it evolves every year because of technological advancements, changing customer attitude and expectations, and very competitive players. It is a very unpredictable industry, to say the least, so it is a must for companies to be proactive and well-prepared in order to adapt to these changes. To gain insight as to where the contact center industry is headed this year, we can look at some of the facts and stats gathered in the past. This would allow decision makers to shape their business accordingly, enabling them to compete and even dominate in the said field.
The following are the top contact center trends for 2017:
Customer experience is still a top priority
A 2016 research by CFI Group shows that customers value quick issue resolution above anything else, and for them, that’s what makes a great customer experience. It matters more than agent knowledge or demeanor, or the usability/ease-of-use of the customer service interface. Around 63% of the people surveyed say “quick issue resolution” or “first contact resolution” determines if they are happy with the service or not.
What customers don’t really like is waiting: whether it is waiting on a call queue for an agent to pick up, getting put on hold while his issue is resolved, or waiting to be transferred to the right department. There’s no tried-and-tested way of quickly resolving customers’ problems, but there are ways to keep them “satisfied” while they wait. A good example would be RingCentral’s informative messages and music on hold. These audio recordings can keep them entertained and informed even on queue or while waiting to get transferred.
Customers are slowly losing patience
The average time we spend on hold is now around 56 seconds. It might not be that long, but when you’re the one waiting for an agent to pick up, every second just adds on to the frustration. A recent research found that 43% of Americans are willing to stay on the line for 1-5 minutes. Stretch that to 5-10 minutes, and only 39% will wait for you to get back on the line. Unfortunately, a third of those who were told to wait but ended hanging up in frustration will never call back.
Contact centers should be mindful of these numbers, as it translates directly to customer satisfaction and profit. Fortunately, there are ways to combat these problems, like using built-in analytics to anticipate higher call volume. You can allocate agents properly to accommodate callers. Informative messages and music on hold mentioned above also help pacify impatient callers. Lastly, make sure that callers get to the right agent the first time, to avoid transfers or escalations. A well-equipped IVR can do the job, as it helps direct callers to the person they intend to reach.
Even contact centers are going to the cloud
Perhaps one of the top trends to watch out for this year is the exodus of contact centers from the client’s physical premises to the cloud. Currently, 6 in 10 companies rely on a feature/variant of a cloud-based call center. In the next four years, the cloud contact center industry is expected to expand threefold. More and more businesses are turning to these services to handle vital operations like sales, and after-sales support.
What prompted this move to the cloud? Companies are already seeing the importance of having a relatively affordable service to handle some of their business processes. Not to mention the fact that these cloud contact centers are globally scalable, so no matter how big your company gets, you are assured that your contact center can match your needs. Hosted services like these also have high security, like RingCentral’s seven layers of security, encompassing data encryption, infrastructure, as well as physical security.
Ronald is a digital marketing specialist for RingCentral, a leading cloud phone system solution. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest on small business trends because of the nature of his work. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.