If you partner with a call center outsourcing company to handle the volume of contact and communication your company receives, it’s a good idea to stay abreast of trends in the industry. Check out these 2019 call center trends and why they matter for your business.
1. Artificial Intelligence Is Often a Factor in Processes
AI is being deployed across all types of call center processes, from routing workflows in the most intelligent manner to actually answering basic phone queries. While we haven’t yet reached the place where every call is handled by a super-intelligent computer, the technology does exist for AI to answer queries without the caller ever realizing they’re not speaking to a human. And artificial intelligence is being used judiciously to streamline call routing and create and manage connections between multiple types of media.
The takeaway for businesses: Companies that work with contact centers should ask what type of AI is used and how. You want partners that leverage AI when possible to ensure efficiency, but remember that deploying shiny tools for their own sake rarely has merit when it comes to baseline metrics.
2. But the Human Touch Is Still Critical for Success
This increased reliance on artificial intelligence and other forms of technology may be fueling an opposing trend in the call center industry — namely, a return to basics and an understanding that the human touch still matters a great deal.
Authenticity and the human experience become even more important as you realize that younger generations, such as Gen Z — which is poised to wield a great deal of purchasing power in upcoming years — crave it. This is a generation that lives connected to technology in organic ways like no generation has before. And while Gen Z consumers (and those of all ages, really) will tolerate technology that improves the process, they still want to speak to a real human most of the time.
The takeaway for businesses: Make sure your outsourced call center has a good balance between tech and traditional and that it puts a premium on quality human contact.
3. Omni-Channel Experience Must Be Seamless
The omnichannel customer experience is imperative to the online marketing process these days, and call centers must be prepared to integrate into this new model. People rarely come through the buying journey on a single channel today, which means they may start with seeing the product on social, learn more about it on a website, sign up for a newsletter or even put the item in a digital cart before making a call to finalize the order.
The takeaway for businesses: The bottom line here is that companies want to work with communications centers that understand the importance of omnichannel. Contact centers should be poised to take part in this multichannel customer journey at different points — creating processes that answer info-seeking calls, take orders or handle customer services after the fact. They should also employ the technology needed to turn omnichannel analytics into efficiencies. Someone who has already input their information in one channel rarely enjoys going through it all again once they make a call. Outsourcing providers that can work seamlessly between chat and phone support also help bolster this new reliance on multichannel connections.
4. Remote Work Is Becoming a Go-To Standard
The reduced cost of cloud computing and an overall move to gig economy structures has created a growing trend in remote work related to call centers. Apple, for example, hires a great number of call center techs who actually work from their own homes. Call centers that are able to perfect remote work processes can staff up to amazing volumes without the need to figure out physical resources in the office. Plus, working from home increases the morale of many staff members and makes it easier to find people for seasonal or part-time work.
The takeaway for businesses: Ensure you ask how the outsourcing service provider is staffed, and verify that compliance rules and other requirements are being addressed properly if remote work is part of the puzzle.