The Covid-19 pandemics led to a global disruption of supply chains, consumer demand, and even purchase patterns. As a result, brands across industries have had to redefine the way they offer products and services, with customer service emerging as a larger part of their offerings than ever before. Adapting to contact center trends can help business function in a market that has been altered permanently.
5 Challenges faced by contact centers
The following challenges hold true for contact centers across different industries:
1. High employee turnover
Today’s workforce values learning and growth. Failing to engage your employees by offering opportunities for growth can contribute to high attrition rates. Apart from the costs of onboarding and training new employees, this also results in the loss of knowledge, which can lead to greater financial losses in the future.
2. Lack of digitization
Failing to organize customer service content not only results in dissatisfied agents, but also leads to customer churn (due to unfavourable experiences while calling unprepared agents), loss of revenue (due to fewer customers returning to place orders), and a lack of growth for your organization (due to smaller profits).
3. No self service models for customers
Savvy customers prefer troubleshooting their queries rather than speaking to live agents. Contact centers that do not offer a self-service approach by integrating a knowledge base not only leave their customers dissatisfied but also fail to empower their agents to find the content they need and help customers while on-call.
4. Lack of social media efforts
Modern consumers rely on social media platforms to contact brands and express their concerns. Prompt responses on social media often lead to higher brand affinity as well as customer loyalty, while a lack of response counts as a negative customer support experience, alienating the customer from future purchases.
5. Low workflow optimization
One of the most pertinent challenges faced by contact centers today is the lack of workflow optimization by leveraging tools such as big data and machine learning.
Big data and machine learning have transformed the way businesses forecast sales and prepare for the ebb and flow in demand. By garnering essential data on the way individual customers purchase items, brands not only predict future purchases but also leverage information to identify potent call center strategies to appease irate customers.
Using such tools helps your agents increase their first-call-resolution rates as agents who understand what customers want are more likely to meet their needs immediately. Conversely, the lack of these tools means that agents must rely on outdated call center strategies to resolve customer queries.
Consider this: an agent speaking to a customer who has received defective products learns that the customer frequently purchases specific dog biscuits from the website. To retain the customer, the agent offers a complimentary pack of the customer’s preferred variant, and thus ensures a lower churn.
Contact center trends for 2021 and beyond
The challenges of the past have forced brands across industries to redefine the way they offer products and services, with customer service emerging as a larger part of their offerings than ever before.
Most industries report an increase in online sales and organisations must employ the latest call center strategies to ensure customer success (the process of ensuring that customers always achieve their desired goals when using your services or products). Experts forecast the following contact center trends to watch out for in 2021 and beyond.
1. Omnichannel communication is no longer optional
One of the key call center trends for 2021 is delivering omnichannel support. Today’s customers rely on a myriad of communication channels to reach out to brands or their support teams. These channels include e-mail, text messaging, social media, live chats and, more recently, video chats.
Your call center strategy must, therefore, prioritize an omnichannel approach, with relevant scripts and communication crafted for each. Additionally, with 79% of customers expecting a response on social media within 24 hours, dedicating a separate team to handle communications on such platforms is essential.
The omnichannel approach is here to stay for the long-term. Thus, it is vital to invest in a tool that lets you optimize a call center strategy that uses the same.
2. Self-service models are on the rise
A well-designed knowledge base can help your customers and agents find the information they need, as and when they need it. This can improve agent workflow significantly by allowing them to locate updated manuals and solutions while on-call. Moreover, it allows customers to self-diagnose and solve issues on-demand.
A study by Harvard business review shows that over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, call hold times increased by a whopping 34%, and customer-led escalations also increased by 64%.
With most customers stating that long hold times are one of the most frustrating aspects of calling call center agents, creating a self-service model is certainly the need of the hour.
3. Collaborative systems are essential
A call center report by Harvard business review suggests that organizations that allow their agents to collaborate over ideas and knowledge perform 50% better than those that don’t. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system that allows collaboration is, thus, a growing contact center trend that is likely to develop further and stay on beyond 2021.
Such systems let agents access pertinent knowledge held by their peers by digitising the same. This solves another major challenge faced by call centers–high attrition leading to the loss of knowledge.
With the pandemic, most businesses have adopted remote workflows, which makes the need for software that allows collaboration more urgent.
4. Learning and development is a priority
With advancements in technology along with a heightened focus on improving the customer experience, most organisations will ramp up their learning and development efforts this year. This contact center trend stems from the need to standardize communication, improve talent retention, and optimize workflow.
This is another reason why most organizations are bound to turn to software that allows them to create a knowledge base that can be accessed by all members of their teams. The implementation of document management software (DMS) will also see a rise moving forward, as they offer agents quick access to relevant, updated documents needed to perform their jobs with greater efficiency.
5. Personalized communication will be the way ahead
Customers today are less likely to trust generic, mass-produced content. However, personalizing communication can help build a sense of trust, affinity, and the desire to purchase your product. Within the customer service context, this means that agents must now leverage their knowledge of customers while resolving queries, to reassure the customer of their inherent value to the brand itself.
With customer service emerging as one of the most vital verticals for brands, it is essential to note the direction in which the industry is pivoting. Using software that offers tools for automation, knowledge base creation, document management, and more can help you keep up with the evolving demands of the industry.
To know how you can integrate an efficient knowledge management system in your organization, Get in touch!