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There was a sudden shift in needs and priorities between 2020-21 due to Coronavirus. It might be a hassle to describe how customer service exercised from the past two years as many experienced an eventful, innovative, and challenging time. New year – 2022 will soon knock on doors with fresh trends and opportunities. The contact center industry will also explore trends focusing on developing efficiency, cost-savings, improved customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), etc.

Leaders have to double down on CX and technological innovations in order to move ahead of traditional contact center models. Prior knowledge of the topics will increase customer journey, customer demand for immediate support. To stay ahead of competitors and help organizations gain long-term stability in 2022, check out these trends.

Trends to Look for in 2022

The call center experienced unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the study of Harvard Business Review, difficult calls surged by 50% during the pandemic. The escalation call rate increased by 68% as the service representatives were not equipped wholly with advanced technology. Additionally, the hold time was increased by 34% due to escalation and manual routing.

Trend #1 – Enhanced Customer Intelligence

Customer intelligence helps organizations create effective ways to interact and interface with customers, building meaningful business relationships. A call center leader has various responsibilities – performance metrics, customer feedback, etc., but with the help of intelligence, they get all relevant information in front of their screen. Similarly, customers seek information as delivered in social media communications.

The process of automation, AI learning, messaging, and cloud-based systems are becoming a necessity. Digital transformation holds the strength to interpret caller emotion and provide relevant, real-time advice to agents. Predictions and optimizations in a fraction of time can assist agents in tedious parts of their work, adding quality to customer interactions.

Trend #2 – Rise of Virtual-based Contact Centers

The hybrid work model is a work from home (WFH) and work from office (WFO) combination. Do you know only 10% of contact center executives reported no remote work options? Most of the contact centers have given 10-40% of their agents work from home facility, a flexible working arrangement. The leaders will now require preparations for any emergency.

The coming year will see the rise of virtual-based contact centers and the support of third parties for management. However, the major challenge for remote call centers may be maintenance and investment in robust security protocols. Virtual/remote working options with flexible staffing models will maximize work diversification.

Trend #3 – Investment in Work Environment

The working process of contact centers are different, but at one point, they face a labor shortage. Investment in the work environment and agent engagement will help in overcoming attrition. Focusing on and addressing agents’ pain points is part of the investment. To increase productivity, offer competitive compensation and benefits, flexible shifts, and creative workspaces.

‘Happy frontline leads to a happy enterprise.’

For smooth working of the organization, leaders must be aware of the agent’s stress points and take essential steps. The agents stress more about the complex customer calls and massive calls volume, affecting the workforce. Later monitor the impact of all changes by simply measuring the KPIs like agent attrition and CSAT.

Trend #4 – Expansion of CX Self-Service

The essentiality of self-service heightened after the sudden growth of emergency issues, including the pandemic. The number of deflecting call volumes also improves with smart IVRs, online FAQs, automated chatbots, and enhanced knowledge bases. With this, agents are stress-free from invaluable work and can focus on other crucial tasks.

Customers will get relevant information on time with the same units of labor. Service capacity will expand even without forcing everyone in the organization into the voice channel. As per the studies, around 91% of customers prefer self-service options for their problems to other communication modes.

Trends #5 – Speech Interfaces Integration

The use of voice to control computers, devices, virtual assistance, and IVR systems are more commonplace now. It enables people to interact with a voice application by giving commands and asking questions. Call centers are advancing voice applications by fusing speech recognition into interactive voice response (IVR systems).

Integration of Speech Interface will give callers the benefit of sorting their queries irrespective of devices. It is slowly taking a substantial part in the contact center industry, following its benefits of supercharging the agents to provide top-notch customer support. It will reach the target audience and close the door of confusion with appropriate instructions to respond.

Looking Forward

The future of contact centers is heading in a positive direction, and it is plausible that the organizations are migrating to the cloud. Now, the managers will strive to bridge any gaps in 2022 and beyond. Also, to recover from the impact of COVID-19. The trends highlighted are an overview of how things will unfold in the upcoming year. Companies must figure out how to align their business with trends and evolve with technology.

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