Customer Experience – 2022 Trends to Look Out For – Neil Titcomb, MD UKI at Odigo looks into his crystal ball and forecasts what is hot and what is not in Customer Experience this year
Contact centres today find themselves in quite a different position after the necessities of the pandemic catapulted them on an accelerated non-stop journey to digitalisation and hybrid work. Some may even feel they have been forced to by-pass a few important steps in an effort to progress their services to meet customer needs. With the pandemic still impacting businesses and their employees what will 2022 bring? Yet more dramatic jumps forward or will it be more of a time to pause and reflect?
Contact centres are still call centres
Despite the rise of digital interactions, self-service options and instant messaging, phone interactions remain as important as ever. The pandemic saw companies across a number of industries struggle with spikes in call volumes. This only highlights how integral contact centre agents still are to the whole customer experience (CX) puzzle.
Digital interactions can bring convenience in the sense of anytime, anywhere instant access but are unlikely to ever completely take over CX, even though some customer segments have even been shown to be phone adverse. Voice-to-voice interactions with an agent who can take into account complex context and exceptions to the norm, while expressing empathy, will continue to be a crucial component of CX.
Channel-less technology will enhance not complicate customer experiences
A channel-less customer experience gives organisations a chance to meet customers on their terms wherever they are and however they prefer to interact. It can also mean the opportunity to offer more effective proactive customer services via the channels customers naturally turn to. The key to making this work however is making sure every interaction a customer has with an organisation is integrated with any additional agent notes or information into a single history both agents and AI systems, can access. The ability to do this bypasses the frustration of repetition and allows customers the freedom to experiment with new channels without the fear of it being a waste of time.
Increasing understanding of both customers and context with these more complete histories can be expected to improve KPIs like first call resolution and customer satisfaction. Customers feel heard, understood and get the help they need which now more than ever is crucially important as patience is wearing thin when it comes to excuses for poor customer service.
Hybrid work and agent experience comes to the forefront
Hybrid working models have been a massive change for the work-life balance and wellbeing of agents. Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions can provide an intuitive working interface with the built-in security and engagement tools to allow safe and productive teamwork even remotely. These complex staffing equations can also be simplified by workforce management tools within these solutions. While at the same time natural language processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU) bring greater understanding to automated and AI-based systems. This mean more and more of the repetitive tasks that offer low satisfaction can be diverted away from agents.
Analytics, supervision and routing can all operate via the cloud meaning even remotely agents can be supervised and receive support to enhance their skills. Working alongside automation and AI-systems helps free up agents so they can undertake training to progress their skills. Not only is career development satisfying but the benefit to client interactions also brings greater satisfaction.
Mastering the trends to be 2022 prepared
The challenge for 2022 will be making progress despite ongoing uncertainty. COVID restrictions interfering with face-to-face interactions, the rise of e-commerce and digital customer services together could potentially cause a massive rift and disconnection between customers and organisations. By combining these trends to deliver convenience with skill and empathy from a more engaged agent team, organisations can really showcase a holistic approach to CX.
Neil Titcomb is MD UKI at Odigo
Odigo helps large organisations connect with individuals through world-class, cloud-based contact centre solutions. Its cutting-edge proprietary technologies enable a seamless and efficient omnichannel experience for its customers, and a satisfying and engaging experience for service agents. Odigo serves more than 400,000 agents and business users globally. With a 35-year history of industry firsts, Odigo has more than 250 clients around the world.
For additional information on Odigo view their Company Profile