Call centers are evolving to meet higher customer service expectations. A mix of new technology and changing consumer demands is creating more nimble support organizations.
Social media is amplifying the impact of positive and negative call center experiences, with 16% of callers voicing complaints through Twitter and other social websites.
Examine the trends shaping the call center industry to help you create a more effective customer experience strategy in 2014 and beyond.
1. Social Media
Social media is transforming the call center landscape. Twitter and Facebook are becoming first-contact resolution and escalation channels, helping lower inbound call volume.
Social monitoring is also helping call centers measure the sentiment of their callers and providing real-time information about potential issues.
Positive interactions are shared over Twitter and Facebook, helping customer experience leaders attract new clients and grow their revenues. Negative experiences are even more likely to be shared, and customer complaints are tarnishing a company’s brand and reputation, leading to lost customers.
2. The Cloud Migration
The North American cloud-based call center market is expected to grow to $2.1B in 2014 according to Frost & Sullivan.
Cloud-based infrastructure is the fastest growing segment in the call center industry. Its monthly payment model and reduced up-front costs makes it appealing, especially for small and medium businesses.
The gap in functionality between on-premise and cloud-based systems continues to narrow, further driving hosted call center growth. Expect to see more consolidation in this space and 18% of all call center seats being cloud-based by 2015.
3. Voice of the Customer
Call centers are proactively capturing customer service feedback to adapt to changing customer preferences and expectations.
More organizations will implement these voice of the customer (VoC) programs which are capturing feedback across a variety of channels including social media, web surveys, and focus groups. Emotion detection is an interesting development that analyzes how a person feels based on their tone of voice.
Forrester Research predicts annual growth of about 20% in the coming years for VoC. According to Jim Davies, Research Director at Gartner, it is “now being viewed as a must-have strategy.”
4. The Smartphone Revolution
Customer service in the mobile era is driven by the explosive growth of smartphones and functionality they provide.
They will be responsible for 37% of inbound customer service calls in North America by 2016. This fundamentally transforms how customers interact with call centers, and 68% of decision makers say smartphone integration is a top priority according to Forrester.
Here are some vendor solutions that capitalize on this trend:
Almost 4 in 5 consumers surveyed already use mobile applications for customer service. We expect the number and functionality of mobile customer service solutions to grow in 2014.
5. Voice Biometrics
Voice biometrics verifies your identity through the unique patterns in your voice, and is experiencing growth in call centers hit by fraud and identity theft. Banking, insurance, and healthcare providers are using voice authentication to prevent fraud and speed up the caller verification process.
Voice is a much stronger form of authentication than traditional security questions and account information, and shortens calls by an average of 20 seconds according to Gartner.
US call centers spend over $12 billion each year verifying the identity of their customers. Voice authentication translates into huge savings for these organizations and a better customer experience, making it a fast-growing technology.
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