Top 10 Call Center Trends to Track in 2016
The top 10 trends to track in your call center in 2016
It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2016. Each year seems to go by faster than the year before, doesn’t it? The only thing that seems to change more rapidly than the years are the rapid changes in technology. Technological changes impact every facet of life, from how we communicate with family to how we do business.
By the end of 2015, for example, it was estimated that 42% of the world’s population owns a smartphone. That is almost half, and chances are, by the end of this year, that percentage will be significantly higher. With society becoming more mobile, businesses are forced to keep up with this trend, and adjust their focus from prioritizing sales and marketing to prioritizing customer service. Customer service has become the means by which brands can differentiate themselves, and the quality of the customer experience you offer can have a huge impact on your brand.
10 trends to track in 2016 to make your customer service shine:
- Mobile Support Today’s customers use their mobile device for almost everything, so your brand should be optimized for the mobile demand. Phone, social, chat, e-mail and FAQ should be mobile-ready.
- Self-service Customers actually like having the option of trying to solve their issue on their own. Provide a self-service option by offering a website, app and/or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Frequently-Asked Questions service. One Spoken client added key FAQs to their IVR, resulting in 47% containment within self-service! (Download the case study!)
- Call back from the Queue Waiting on hold is universally despised, and it erodes the quality of the customer experience more rapidly than a rude agent. Sixty percent (60%) of customers will abandon a call after waiting on hold for too long, but 61% would use a callback feature (also called “virtual hold”) if it were available. If your call center does not offer this feature, consider adding it to your priority initiatives for 2016. Virtual hold is a great way to show that you respect your customers’ time and value their overall experience with your company.
- Personalization The majority of customers now say that personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions–just look at all that Amazon does to anticipate customer needs. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) is the tried-and-true method of adding personalization to your caller’s experience. By connecting the information submitted in the IVR through the voice channel, dipping into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database and popping the customer information onto the agent’s screen, your agent can address the customer by name and easily understand their reason for the call. In fact, in our 2015 Call Center Report, 38% of respondents said their biggest frustration points with call center customer service was having to repeat to the agent information already given to the IVR. Additionally, implementing CTI can reduce AHT and increase customer retention, thereby saving the cost of acquiring a new customer.
- 24/7 Support We live in a 24/7 world now, and if you’re customer service center is not available 24/7, well… let’s just say you’ll make it easy for your customers to switch brand preferences. Not only do today’s customers expect round-the-clock support, but more than half say 24/7 support can make them love a brand.
- Predictive Support A step beyond personalization, predictive support can automatically predict the reason for a customer’s call. As an example, Spoken implemented an IVR for a customer that would automatically look up the number the caller called from, ping the database, note the last interaction, predict the reason for call and change the IVR path accordingly. Here’s what it looked like: Bill calls in. The IVR captures his phone number, finds it in the database, sees that he recently ordered a prescription that was shipped yesterday, verifies the caller and then asks if Bill is calling about his recent prescription order. Bill says “yes,” and the IVR asks if he wants delivery information, usage information or if he has additional questions about his order. A personalized and predictive experience!
- Engaging Content What kind of content do you provide via your promotional e-mails? How about your blog? Do you have great videos showing how to best use your product? Is your content engaging and relevant? Don’t wait until your customers reach out to you. Keep them engaged with valuable content such as new products and features, or the latest news and updates in your industry.
- Automated Support Did you know that IVR accounts for almost one-third of the entire call experience? An efficient and simple IVR system can provide a seamless customer experience by quickly and efficiently routing the customer to the correct department so that their issue can be resolved quickly and easily. And remember the #2 trend of self-service? Self-service IVRs, when properly implemented, are a thing of beauty that can drive customer love.
- Customer Journey Mapping Basically, journey mapping is understanding how your customer interacts with your brand over time. Knowing where the points of friction are and developing a company-wide plan that will improve your customer service overall.
- Omnichannel Support Omnichannel support is a growing component in today’s customer service environment. The vast majority of customers, in fact a whopping 95%, will use more than one channel to contact customer support. Phone support is still the number one means, but other channels should not be ignored. Your team should be available on any channel your customer chooses to use, whether it’s phone, live chat, e-mail or reaching out through social media and these channels should integrate seamlessly with your helpdesk and CRM.
What trends are you seeing the call center space in 2016? Which key trends are you tracking? Sound off in the comments!