Contact Centre Customer Experience Developments and What We Can Expect in 2022


While vaccination rates and the end of restrictions has allowed businesses and the public to return to some form of normality, the pandemic has profoundly changed expectations around many aspects of life, in turn affecting what is expected from a contact centre. At the same time, ongoing improvements in technology, AI, machine learning, natural language processing and data are impacting what is possible to expect the contact centre can deliver. Read on to get an insight into those trends, and how you can harness them, to grasp the opportunity to deliver a better customer experience and to drive your contact centre from being a cost centre to a revenue-generating hub.

Human Connections

The pandemic forced many people to spend a lot of time alone and to re-evaluate what they expected out of life. As they were unable to visit physical shops, which they had previously viewed as the place for great personal interaction with a brand, they pivoted and put this same requirement on the contact centre of the brand instead.

Since the end of restrictions, this desire to get personal connections from the contact centre, like so many other habit changes during the pandemic, has resulted in a simple revert back to the old ways – you only have to look at the ongoing lack of desire to go back to the office for proof. It is essential therefore for contact centres to recognise this, and accept that speed or cost are not the most important metrics, but rather delivering human connections are.

Brand Values

The pandemic and social movements have changed consumers’ expectations of a brand. It is no longer enough for a brand to just be cool or a desirable product, but rather consumers require to know how that brand stands on, and what it is doing about, social issues.

As contact centres are such an important interface with the public, it is important that their staff are trained to talk in the language of the brand values.

Natural Language Bots

Voicebots have been the topic of hype for so many years, but recent improvements in natural language processing technologies, for example, Google’s DialogFlow, and the ability to integrate with phone technology have meant that they are realistic, mature technology that can be deployed by contact centres. They not only offer cost-savings, but crucially, in support of delivering customers more personalised experiences, can be deployed to offer customers immediate, sophisticated, natural language conversations over the phone.

Remote Visual Assistance

Another way contact centres can offer a more personalised experience and create a connection with customers is through remote visual assistance software. This solution allows your agents to take over the camera of a customer’s phone and guide them through resolving a problem with AR onscreen pointers.

It not only reduces the need for onsite visits to solve problems but adds an additional dimension of innovation and novelty to your agent’s conversation with a consumer to create a closer connection.

Proactive Service Model

Proactive customer service is another key battleground where contact centres can differentiate themselves in 2022. While many businesses already send texts and emails to notify of delivery times or planned service issues, these are usually one-directional; when customers are left with questions or want to report a change in circumstances, they can’t and are left feeling helpless. The introduction of bots – whether chat or voice – can make it possible for those service announcements to become interactive and an opportunity to wow customers and upsell.

Interaction Analytics

Data is crucial in understanding customers and while many businesses have thrown themselves into introducing new technology, many have found that the solutions are siloed and appropriate tools to maximise insights from customer conversations are lacking.

Because of this, the priority for businesses next year is to make sure that they have a unified, omnichannel customer record and that the analytics are in place to truly understand their customers.

One aspect of this is interaction analytics which use speech and text analytics to understand 100% of customer conversations across all your digital channels, rather than the small number who complete a survey. They work in real-time and can discover sentiment, help find the cause of high handle times, FCR rates and the key factors that made a sale possible.

Voice of the Customer

This may seem straightforward, but many organisations focus on keeping the customer happy to achieve targets around call completion times, when the real object should be NPS. Armed with interaction analytics, a VOC manager should be able to drive real value for your business.

Contact Centre as a Revenue Centre, not Cost Centre

This has been an aspiration for contact centres for a long time but the societal and technological changes we have mentioned above make it an even more realistic and achievable target for 2022. In particular, the opportunities around data analysis possibilities and the desire for consumers to have a more personalised contact centre experience, mean that if you don’t invest resources in the coming year, your window of opportunity with customers may be lost.

The tactics listed below, in tandem with the above, will help drive your contact centre to be a revenue centre:

Combine AI and agents:

Chatbots, Voicebots, and Interaction Analytics drive the most value when paired with your live agents. AI offers a way to have personalised conversations at scale while reserving live agents’ time for the final close of the sale or more complex interactions. As a business therefore you need to beware of that point in the conversation where it is optimal for the live agent to take over, and interaction analytics, with its ability to identify sentiment, is key to defining that balance.

Upselling through Service:

Through their interaction with customers, agents are in a unique position to be able to upsell to customers – not to mention necessary as high street branches are being closed to save costs and to reflect consumer tastes. In view of this, it is essential to upskill your agents to be able to sell and to spend the time to change their mindset to one where they don’t see selling as an enforced bolt-on to their job but are excited by the opportunity. To do this successfully, means improved training on sales techniques, providing them with outbound as well inbound scripts, but on software that allows them to get the insights and recommendations to improve their ability to sell.

Re-educate on Metrics:

If an agent has spent his career focused on traditional metrics like average handle time and first call resolution, then they will not only need to learn about sales KPIs, but the business as a whole will have to rethink and create KPIs that fairly reflect the agent’s combination of roles. For financial institutions, metrics they will have to add may include the share of product portfolio and return on equity. While, for retailers, it might be average order value or cart abandonment.

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