There have been many changes in contact center technology since the rise of artificial intelligence. As a result, keeping up with latest technology, emerging trends, and changing metrics hasn’t been easy.
Don't worry, we rounded up all the latest trends in contact center technology that you need to keep up with.
But before we jump into the trends, let's look at what is contact center technology and what were some turning points.
What is Contact Center Technology?
Any technology that assists contact centers in their daily work is seen as contact center technology today. It can range from call recording tools to automated call monitoring software and anything in between.
These tools help in making experience delivery and management easy in contact centers.
Now that we know what contact center technology is, let's look at inventions that changed the way contact centers were run.
Turning Points of Call Center Technology
There have been many revolutionary moments in call center technology. All of them made things easy for both customer service reps and call center managers.
Here are a few things that have changed the face of call center technology.
1. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated call system that directs a caller to a human agent based on inputs dialed by the caller. These systems route calls according to the input dialed by the caller.
With what started as dial-based inputs, IVR now recognizes voice inputs as well.
“ Traditionally, IVR served as a primitive ACD. It would present callers with options, and route the call based on their input. Nowadays, IVR is being used to do a lot more, from handling inquiries and providing access to account information to taking surveys and accepting payment information. - Forbes”
IVR allows agents to focus on complex customer interactions that require human intervention. In cases where callers require an agent's help, it's routed to an experienced agent.
Telephony is the technology that connects a customer to an agent on call. Advancements in telephony heavily depended on developments in the telephone.
“IP telephony isn't just about toll bypass anymore. It's about improving productivity and allowing people to do their jobs more effectively. And people need to be able to communicate and collaborate through the means that suits them best. - Barry O'Sullivan”
Call centers didn't see much progress till digital electronics was introduced to telephony. This replaced analog transmission systems and helped to reduce operational costs in most call centers.
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Call centers have different ways of keeping track of their customers. Once the world of technology opened up, most organizations used Excel Sheets to track their customers.
All this changed when Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools were introduced. This helped create a one-stop solution for all end-to-end customer journey details.
Today there are multiple CRM tools in the market, like Freshdesk, Salesforce, and Zoho CRM, to name a few.
4. Automated Call Monitoring
This is the present state of contact center technology today, and most trends have been based on this. Advanced call center technology revolves around tools that offer automated call quality monitoring.
Automated call monitoring tools like Convin have molded the face of quality assurance into a much more streamlined and efficient process.
We’ve seen major inventions that revolutionized call center technology. Now let's look at the top trends you can't afford to miss out on.
10 Most Important Call Center Technology Trends
As mentioned above, automated call monitoring has spurred a lot of call center technology trends. All of these trends can help boost customer satisfaction in many ways.
Let's look at the latest call center technology trends you need to keep up with.
1. Intelligent Call Routing
Randomly assigning calls to an agent who is free is a thing of the past.
Today, call routing is done in an intelligent manner which makes the process efficient and meaningful.
Contact center managers can decide how to route calls - skills-based routing, round robin, or in a fixed order. The best way to ensure a good customer experience is by routing calls based on which agent is best suited to handle those specific kinds of customer interactions.
For example - if a customer calls Apple's customer service with a query regarding Find My iPhone, the call should be routed to an agent who has handled similar tickets rather than an agent who's used to handling queries regarding data migration.
2. Agent Performance Analysis Using Call Recordings
Automated call monitoring is built on the base of automatic call recording. Contact center technologies have moved from the age of manual auditing to automatically auditing agent-customer interactions.
Either mode of auditing uses recorded calls to analyze and evaluate agents on what areas they need to improve so that they can qualify customer expectations. While automated call monitoring is faster and more efficient, some auditing system needs to be in place to help call center agents to improve.
This also helps to ensure that compliance violations don't happen frequently. Since each call recording is audited, violations are flagged, and agents are informed on how to handle such scenarios without causing violations in the future.
3. Tracking Customer Behavior Using Sentient Analysis
Agents should be able to empathize and understand how customers feel. Agents well-versed in customer behavior can handle interactions without escalating them.
Developments in machine learning and natural language processing have allowed call monitoring software to understand the behavior of customers. These tools use sentiment analysis, otherwise called conversation intelligence, to analyze conversations and find behavioral nuances.
Call center agents pick up certain skills of understanding customer behavior on call, but it isn't possible for them to pick up all behavioral cues. Call monitoring software analyzes interactions and gives agents insights into behavior that may have been missed out on during the interaction.
Sentient analysis isn't just about what the customer says but also considers the tone of the customer, the delay between speaking, and many other nuances. These insights allow agents to improve customer service.
4. Providing Omnichannel Support Options
Customer data shows that most consumers rely on omnichannel shopping methods. Call centers should adopt to be available at all touchpoints of the customer journey.
Imagine a customer browsing H&M's website during their clearance sale. How would they feel if there was no chatbot on the website to clarify the various discounts available during the sale?
Organizations should be ready to serve customers at any point in their journey. Having support options on platforms like chat, website, and social media will reduce business costs in customer acquisition.
It is time to say goodbye to the era of sticking to phone calls.
An organization that provides omnichannel support to its customers will increase customer satisfaction
Agents should be trained to deliver excellent customer service across all channels in the customer journey. Even if it means having different support teams or more agents, it will enhance customer experience.
5. Having Organized Self-Service Options
Just like how customers have been looking for omnichannel support, a similar trend has also risen in how they want to seek support. There has been a spike in traffic on self-service tools.
Customers are slowly moving towards seeking support on their own.
Organizations with an organized and easy-to-use self-service tool on their website or application elevate the customer experience. This also allows agents to focus on complex support tickets that require immediate attention.
6. Stepping Up The Analytics Game
The wave of automated contact center software has changed how performance and insights are viewed.
These contact center solutions have massive capacities to analyze data in huge quantities. Detailed insights into agents that are performing well and areas that agents are lacking can help improve contact center operations in many ways.
Managers can comprehensively understand agent performance throughout the call center, which helps decision-making and operational planning.
7. Completely Integrated Workspaces
Each call center uses different kinds of call center technology. In most cases, all of them exist as independent entities, and personnel has to access them one by one to get cohesive customer data.
Such contact center systems create the possibility of a single dashboard for all relevant data. This helps speed up the decision-making process.
8. Automated Agent Coaching
In many call centers, agents aren't trained post their initial onboarding period. This isn't advisable in the long run, as agents aren't informed and updated with changes in the company's customer experience benchmark.
Regular monitoring and daily feedback are necessary for better agent performance in customer interactions. Automated call center solutions offer personalized coaching based on an agent's performance.
A call center QA software evaluates agent-customer interactions and scores them. Based on areas the agent needs to improve, the software suggests interactions for the agent to learn from.
Such comprehensive and continuous training allows agents to deliver the best customer experience possible.
9. Eliminating Sampling Biases
A study in the Current Issues in Auditing Journal has found that manual sampling by auditors creates many biases in the interactions selected for auditing. These biases often happen unconsciously.
Automated call center technology eliminated this worry by defining an algorithm that selects random and unbiased conversation samples for auditing.
Call centers that use automated sampling managers can have insights into the entire performance of the call center instead of a limited overview which doesn't show the whole picture.
10. Cloud-Based Contact Center Technology
Call centers have moved from calling via physical telephones to cloud-based technology.
These tools make and receive calls via the Internet. This allows for easy accessibility of any call recording and quality assurance.
The only organizations that don't use cloud-based call center technology are those with limited support staff (usually small and medium businesses). In such cases, there isn't any requirement for such technology.
While keeping up with the trends is helpful in any field, one should keep a small thing in mind.
While keeping up with the times is always nice, call centers shouldn’t randomly chase trends while neglecting their standard operating procedures. A consistent operating plan that adopts the latest trends will help serve your customers better.
Results first, payment later.
Call center technology has come a long way from the days of IVR and CRMs. The arrival of artificial intelligence has brought many changes in the way contact center operations are managed.
The latest trends in call center technology revolve around cloud-based software, automated technology, and detailed insights.
Contact centers should ensure that they don't follow trends aimlessly but instead use trends to improve customer service while having a steady base of operations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Contact Center Technology?
Ans: Any software or tool that makes call center operations easier can be considered as call center technology. It can range from CRMs to automated quality assurance tools and anything in between.
What is an Omnichannel Contact Center?
Ans: A contact center that doesn't just stick to phone calls but offers customer support across various channels like email, chat, website, and social media is an omnichannel contact center.
What is Automated Call Monitoring?
Ans: Any tool that audits conversations automatically is an automated call monitoring tool. Most tools offering this feature provide detailed insights, agent coaching, and more.