Since the start of the decade, customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) have done a collective 180°. Organizations with a cloud-first, digital-first mindset have quickly leaped ahead, but adaptation and innovation are swift and ongoing.
This is especially true when it comes to the contact center. For example, leaders are now thinking about how to best use artificial intelligence and machine learning to increase their global competitiveness and how they’ll deliver service and engagement as part of the customer experience in the metaverse.
Meanwhile, they’re facing an inflection point where EX has become just as critical as CX. With almost half of workers saying that they’ll quit if their employer doesn’t permanently offer the flexibility to work remotely, contact centers are being reimagined for the next generation of work and workers.
These considerations and others have led to a curation of seven predictions for the contact center. With predictions for 2023 through 2030, read on to see what should be top of mind when thinking about the future of customer service and engagement:
1. By 2023, employee experience will overtake customer experience, at least temporarily, as the leading “experience” focus and investment.
Though more and more return-to-office plans will actually start to materialize, contact center leaders will need to address the fact that many employees will refuse to accept anything but remote or flexible work. Out of 1,000 workers polled in a recent Morning Consult survey, 39% said they’d consider quitting if their employers didn’t give them the flexibility to work from home.
2. By 2023, one-quarter of organizations will look to UCaaS and CCaaS technology to collaborate in the enterprise and with customers more effectively.
In the Ventana Research report, Why Unifying UCaaS and CCaaS Makes Sense, Ventana VP and Research Director Keith Dawson says “it will become apparent that the two platforms are really different flavors of the same basic toolkit, and organizations will begin to push for simpler, combined products.”
3. By 2025, proactive customer engagement interactions will outnumber reactive customer engagement interactions.
In its Strategic Roadmap for Customer Service and Support, Gartner recently found that moving to proactive engagement will be the number one priority of customer service leaders as they rethink the business model around customer assistant modes.
4. By 2025, 25% of retail employees will double as contact center agents as e-commerce and digital customer engagement eclipse face-to-face interactions.
It’s not conjecture to state that as e-commerce continues to increase (to the tune of $7.4 trillion in sales by 2025 according to Statista), the retail footprint will continue its associated decline. As a result, retailers will need to make constant adjustments to support the rapid evolution of their industry.
5. By 2025, 25% of agents will be gig-economy workers, as events such as the Great Resignation and Great Reprioritization continue to change the face of the contact center.
To meet the full labor requirements using a more fractional workforce will require a higher number of workers, working fewer hours per week, on average. Recruiting, training, coaching, scheduling, and quality management will all go through a transformation including a greater degree of automation and verifiable worker performance data.
6. By 2025, VR will be used in at least 65% of contact centers as brands enter the metaverse and customers look to engage with or as avatars in virtual spaces.
As consumers begin to interact with businesses in the metaverse, expectations will yet again change. The bar will be raised as constraints related to immersive experiences lift, and consumer desires take new shape.
7. By 2030, AI will drive the verticalization of customer experience and journey orchestration.
With AI, ML, and NLP combined, lead brands will customize each experience based on millions, or even billions, of past customer interactions across a variety of verticals. Each customer will experience the brand in a way that is truly unique to them.
From the move to the cloud early in this decade to the move to the metaverse later, you can read more about what experts believe the future has in store for the contact center here.