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Contact Center & CX Predictions for 2017

February 21, 2017

This time of year, everyone is making predictions-and not just on who will be the Final Four or how the Cubs will do this season. We plowed through the flurry of contact center and cx predictions to come up with this shortlist of trends to watch in 2017.

  • Poor customer service will lose business. According to Forbes, business are already losing $62 million per year, up 50% over the last three years. Customers no longer have the patience for slow or incomplete service, and they no longer suffer in silence.
  • Channel guidance removes decision fatigue. Contact centers need to offer multiple channels, but they do not need to offer all channels. Pick the channels that make best sense for you and your customers. Then do them well. Guide your customers through channel selection for their best experience. Provide low friction between channels. Do fewer and do them better.
  • Self-service technology expands. By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their interactions without any human involvement according to Gartner. Self-service reduces effort and diverts calls to other channels, presenting a win-win alternative. Self-service technology such as chat bots, virtual agents and the Internet of Things will gain greater foothold this year.
  • Mobile care on the rise. Deployment of integrated mobile care from native applications is overdue. Siloed information has been a barrier to adoption but pressure is building as customers shift to mobile-dominant interactions. Mobile care will broaden to include FAQ support, video, callbacks and agent of choice.
  • Cloud gets a closer look. When cloud solutions first appeared, people saw in them what they wanted to see. As they become part of the regular landscape, they will be evaluated for what they bring to specific operations. There is no substitute for a meticulous discovery process when considering how to implement new contact center capabilities.
  • Analytics enable actionable insight. There is a great deal of interest in affecting the customer experience as it is happening. Real-time analytics of big data promises to provide the necessary insight for that. Watch for various incarnations of artificial intelligence and agent support systems, including knowledge management.
  • Agent empowerment gains traction. Agents remain the biggest cost for most organizations. Leverage that asset. A recent study by CCIQ showed that there are several ways to improve agent quality and job satisfaction that make at least as big an impact as compensation. These include tool quality, training/coaching, freedom to wow and flexible scheduling. Agents play a huge role in the customer experience. Empower them to make every interaction a good one.
  • Good experiences are personal but not creepy. Millennials prefer spending money on experiences over material goods. They like to buy from companies that use personal experience to make the experience more relevant. Most of us like to be recognized at our local bank or favorite restaurant. Try to deliver that kind of positive personal experience through your organization as well. CEB offers a cautionary note though about going too far-75% of consumers find personalized ads to be creepy or otherwise negative. Do not make your customers feel like they are being watched.
  • Silver surfers make themselves seen. More than half of the 50+ age group now use web chat, callbacks and video chat. This is just another reminder to question your assumptions about your customer base. Regularly check their demographics and preferences. Different groups have different desires, and they change over time.