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There's a lot going on in the customer service world. New technology, rapidly changing customer expectations and an increasingly competitive environment means staying on top of change is critical to today's companies.
Here are 5 trends to watch.
- Chat is a must (and must be good)
- Longer AHT is the new normal
- The cloud wins
- Onshore remote workers
- Knowledge management picks up steam
Chat is No Longer Optional, and it Better be Good
Live chat saw massive adoption as quickly as it was introduced. It meets the need for instant on-demand customer service and is embedded in apps and websites where we play and work. The barrier to use is lower (no picking up the phone, finding a number, hold time or IVR) and the speed is faster.
Customers expect live chat just as much as a 1-800 number. But importantly, they expect to easily switch between channels without having to repeat everything all over again.
Longer AHT is the new Normal
Automation, artificial intelligence and self-service all mean that common low-complexity inquiries are increasingly being handled by bots or customers themselves.
That means agents will deal with more complex and uncommon issues, exactly those that require a human touch. Companies will see the number of tickets hold steady or reduced over time. AHT, however, will naturally creep up since things like password resets and returns will disappear from their daily lives.
Average handling time will therefore decline as a key metric whereas FCR will become that much more important.
The Cloud Wins for Good
It's hard to believe that in 2020, we're still questioning whether the cloud is the best option. Forget digital natives, we're quickly moving towards a workforce who are cloud natives and have never even used classic desktop software.
The largest contact center software providers (CCaaS) like NICE InContact and Genesys are already offer out-of-the-box call centers. As more workers are remote and VOIP becomes the standard, cloud based contact centers are no longer a question of if, but how soon you're migrating.
Onshore but Remote Workers
After many years of offshoring, many companies have begun moving operations back home. Today's younger workforce expects unparalleled mobility and flexibility. They intuitively understand our work can be done anywhere with an internet connection and being tied to a single location is seen as outdated and backwards.
Customer experience is heavily dependent on good employees and in order to access the best talent, keep them happy and prevent turnover, keeping up with workforce expectations is a important. Moreover, it saves companies on overhead and real estate.
Finally, customers expect on-demand service and are increasingly less tolerant of "business hours only." That means staggering employees through different locations and time zones is a win for everyone.
Knowledge Management Picks up Steam
Even in 2020, companies continue to struggle with digital transformation and integrating new channels in their service centers and overall strategy. The ability to organize, use and ultimately derive value from the massive amounts of information generated is simultaneously more difficult and more important than ever.
Knowledge management is moving to center stage as a must-have component of modernization and ability to scale and this goes for the contact center and customer service world. Without a single source of truth, agents struggle to find the right solutions in a timely fashion. That leads to lower FCR, longer AHT, unhappy customers and a breakdown in trust.
Additional CX Trends
There's a lot going on in the world of customer service so this year we decided to add some additional trends our analysts suggested.
- Deflecting tickets increases in importance
- AI-powered self-service tools
- Video chat for support
- B2B self-service receives more focus
- Augmented reality is growing
- Calls will never go away
- Voice messaging as a new channel
- Voicebots as a customer service channel
Technology will remain the central theme across all CX trends, particularly as it relates to the role of humans in the service process and customer expectations.
Jarrod joined USU's US marketing team in 2019. He previously worked at German ecommerce and telecommunications companies with a focus on international marketing and growth in English-speaking markets. He studied international relations and enjoys history, fly fishing and grilling in his free time.