In the last few years, call center technology has been subjected to many changes, driven by three main factors. The first factor is digital transformation. As it is today, call centers have embraced technologies such as virtual agents and cloud communications.
Recent events have also been instrumental in how the technology of call centers has evolved. For starters, there were a lot of distress calls when people were asked to stay in their homes for health and safety reasons. People were stressed, with some having no one else to turn to, and channels like call centers were easy outlets for people who couldn’t cope.
For cases that require one’s utmost attention, it would take longer to handle one call, resulting in a backlog of calls. These events forced businesses to review new technologies to help ease the burdens of calls in the future. Additionally, it forced businesses to digitalize their customer care services because most people had to work from home.
Besides, customers’ demand for a better customer experience has been increasing. Today, people prefer businesses that serve them in the comfort of their homes. Customers want to feel seen, heard, and be part of a community. As you’ll read later, call centers are vital to providing the best customer care.
Therefore, as the global economy progressively heals, there are many 2022 call center trends, such as call cowboy, that your business should consider implementing. This article has made work easier for you by sieving the noise and giving you only the most essential trends. Continue reading to learn more.
What’s The Role Of Call Centers?
A call center representative handles inbound and outbound calls to and from the customers to address any concerns. The work of the customer care agent includes the following:
- Listen to customers’ complaints and problems and offer viable solutions.
- Respond to any other needs of the caller.
- Process applications, orders, and any other forms.
- Follow up on customers’ calls.
- Provide information about new company’s products and services to spike interest or purchase.
- Make notes about customers’ concerns.
- Escalate concerns with the relevant team.
- Prepare reports about customer feedback.
- Manage customers’ accounts or database.
You may have noticed from the list that the work of a call center agent revolves around customer service. In this age where a business can exist online, a call center agent is likely your first point of contact with your customers.
For example, a customer calls your customer care center to ask for help on how to set up an electric device that they bought from your electronic shop. If the call center agent picks up the phone promptly and offers exemplary services, the customer will have a top-notch customer experience.
So, if they need another device in the future, they’re likely to purchase again from you, given that they have previously used your service and enjoyed it. They’re also likely to leave a good review online and refer you to their friends, which is beneficial for any business because it means more leads and profits.
Even if your business is a big organization, the call center department will have single-handedly managed to build a positive picture for your brand. However, if the services offered by the call center agent are poor, it is best to believe that one bad call is enough to tarnish your brand. Hence, you must keep your call center department on top of its game using the following trends:
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the technologies largely embraced by call centers, making it arguably one of the most significant 2022 call center trends. AI is applied in various ways.
When paired with data, you can use AI to provide predictive analytics that benefits the business. AI studies a customer’s data over time and predicts why they’re calling and who will be the best agent to receive the call.
This will minimize the time taken to answer the call as you provide valuable solutions and the waiting time for other customers on the line. It also means that because the customer has been paired with the most appropriate agent, they’ll likely have the best customer experience.
AI is also used to provide predictive responses to the agent. The technology is fed with the concerns, and it comes up with multiple accurate responses from which the agent can choose. This makes the agents work simpler and faster as they offer solutions more effectively.
Generally, AI is used to automate most of the work in call centers. Automation frees up the agents to attend to other pressing tasks that benefit the business. Finally, AI is also the technology behind omnichannel support and chatbot, which are also call center trends for 2022 that will be discussed later in the article.
2. Remote Working
This trend started as a response to the pandemic. When it started, one of the control measures to prevent the spread of the disease was to avoid crowded places and stay at home as much as possible. The number of people allowed in the office was restricted; hence, businesses had to resort to remote working.
Remote working has remained the norm for the past two years. Call centers use technologies like cloud communication and virtual assistance to ensure their success. Although some organizations are starting to implement face-to-face work setups again, remote working in call centers is set to continue, especially because call centers hire agents from all over the globe.
Likewise, remote working has improved employees’ productivity by at least 40% more than when they were in the office. Other advantages of remote working include:
- Expanded working hours (people working from home tend to work for more hours depending on their flexibility)
- Remote working prepares businesses to ensure continuity in case of another pandemic
- Reduced turnover
3. Omnichannel Communication
There are different channels of communication we can choose from today, including
- Social media
- Live chat
Customers are using all these platforms to raise their concerns and requests. When a customer raises concern through your business’s social media handle, they expect that you’ll be able to follow up through any other means, say email, without having to repeat themselves. This is called omnichannel communication.
Omnichannel communication is where a company gives its target audience different communication channels. Similarly, communication is streamlined across all platforms so that messages sent on one platform aren’t repeated on another channel.
Omnichannel communication also appreciates that when a customer’s journey may begin on one platform (i.e., email), valuable feedback and information may be taking place on another platform like social media. Thus, omnichannel communication uses AI to study all customer communication across channels so that the service given to the customer is optimal and effective. This leads to an excellent customer experience.
Call centers are using data analytics to provide insights about customers who call the contact centers. Call centers use data patterns to predict future issues; hence, they have the most suitable call center agent to respond to the specific customer. This helps reduce the time taken to solve issues and also the queue times for other incoming calls,
Analytics are also used to track the agent’s performance and subsequent customer satisfaction. For instance, some companies have built a superior dashboard that reflects real-time customer experience rates and their expectations. Through the dashboard, the call center agent is able to keep track of their performance and how the customers are responding to it. These real-time data also aid in informing necessary changes promptly.
Insights from data analytics can also be used to inform marketing and sales decisions. The right insights offer an upper hand to marketers. They make it easier for the sales agents to communicate effectively with their prospective customers and close deals.
5. CRM Integrations
Data that come from customer relationship management (CRM) show the customers’ purchasing habits, contact details, behavior, and hobbies.
The new trend involves syncing data from CRM databases to data analytics from call center systems to help study the customer. Studying the customer helps improve the call center services and enhance their experience with your company.
6. Cloud Communication Technology
Cloud communication is a technology that uses internet connections instead of telephone networks to communicate. Conversations and messages are hosted in the cloud when using cloud communication.
This allows seamless communication between teams across the globe without the need to connect telephone lines or fiber optic cables. Cloud communication also facilitates remote working among call center agents.
Other than facilitating remote working, the technology comes with the following benefits:
- It has more advanced features that may help call centers upscale their services during peak seasons.
- Data and information stored in the cloud are safer from cybersecurity attacks than data stored through other means.
- It reduces the cost of setting standard public switched telephone network technology
In this fast-paced tech-savvy generation, people barely have the patience to wait for a call center agent to attend to their needs. This is especially for issues that the customer can solve with the right resources. Therefore, there’s an increasing demand for efficient self-service operations in call centers.
Businesses are using technologies such as interactive voice response, chat, and messaging apps to provide the relevant information that will aid a smooth self-service experience. For example, customers can track their imported goods without ringing a call center. Other resources include:
- The FAQ pages
- Virtual agents
- Video tutorials
Self-service has also proved to be instrumental in:
- Reducing call volume
- Reducing the cost of customer service
- Indicating issues that need further assistance
Chatbots are a type of AI technology that call centers use as the first point of contact for customers contacting a business.
The technology uses Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Understanding to determine the customers’ intent while asking a question. Then, the technology responds to the customer with the highest degree of accuracy possible without human intervention.
Chatbots recognize multiple languages and are usually available 24/7. The technology can be used to:
- Help customers create appointments
- Handle billing tasks like information on payments
- Provide updates on customers’ accounts
- Help customers place orders
9. Live Chats
Sometimes it can be hard to determine a customer’s problem from the description alone. There’s a need for real-time discussions to give all the details. Hence, businesses are adopting live chats to offer fast real-time solutions.
The live chats can be made possible through video calls, where the customer explains their problem and the call center agents guide them to fix it. This means that the customer will enjoy fast, effective services.
Live chats also help enhance call center agents’ productivity. When one problem is addressed right away, the agent can move to other calls and proceed to take more calls in a day, thus attending to more people and their respective needs and concerns.
Updated Training Programs
New digital technologies heavily empower the trends discussed here. Therefore, your team at the call center will require training on how to use some of these technologies. This explains the current trend in training call center agents anew.
The agents are now taught how to use new call center technologies through the following methodologies:
- Short micro-learning modules
- Highly personalized feedback
Knowing these trends isn’t enough; you should develop strategies to implement them. One of these strategies is to update your team’s training so they can use the technologies for the greater good of the customers’ experience.
Call centers are the first point of contact between a business and its target audience. Therefore, they’re instrumental in building your brand.
Your brand being associated with poor service if a call center offers one can be bad publicity and result in decreased sales. On the other hand, if they offer effective services and a commendable customer experience, your business will be known for good customer service. Hence, you must use all tips you need to keep your call center services in good relationship with your customers so they’ll keep supporting your products and services. Consider implementing these 2022 trends and see how they’ll positively affect your company.