2016 promises an increased focus on call center technology trends like mobile broadband, M2M (machine-to-machine), cloud-based call center systems and OTT (over-the-top) services. But no matter which trends lead the telecommunications industry this year, there’s one trend that is most definitely here to stay: big data management.
Today’s call centers have access to more customer data than they may even know what to do with. Through online and telephone surveys, social media monitoring, speech analytics and more, call centers are able to collect a substantial amount of information from their customers.
With so much data floating around, figuring out how to analyze it and use it advantageously can be overwhelming. In addition to harvesting as much information as possible, it will be equally as important to invest time and resources into analyzing the data and using it to improve the customer experience.
According to Information Management, “Data analytics remained one of the most important areas of technology investment throughout 2015, and industry analysts agree the same will hold true in 2016.”
So 2016 may be the year that more centers start utilizing this powerful information to delight customers and give them the experiences they’ve come to expect.
What Do Customers Want?
“Digital contact—in the form of email, web chat, social media, and self-service channels—continues its explosive growth as the most popular engagement method.” The data suggests that customers’ preference to interact with customer service reps digitally rather than over the phone will increase significantly in the next couple of years.
Customers today often prefer using phone apps, web-based live chats, social media communication, instant messaging tools, and other digital forms of communication as opposed to traditional voice communication. Customers under 40 in particular, prefer to use social media and web chat versus the more traditional ways of communicating with a customer service center.
In fact, according to Gartner, Inc., “By 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” Any call centers who haven’t invested in digital communication technology, will definitely need to start in 2016.
Big Data to the Rescue
Let’s break big data down into simpler terms. Big data is essentially a thorough analysis of information collected through various mediums, and for different periods of time, all related to a particular topic or category within a business. The analysis of this data is then used in order to increase the efficiency with which the business operates.
For example, a call center might use the analysis of customer satisfaction surveys to improve the way agents handle customer calls. Other data might be used to lower costs, improve processes, and optimize operational decisions in general. Some of the specific advantages related to using big data are:
Customer Platform Preference
When it comes to digital interactions, you’ll need to determine which platforms to use to connect with your customers over email, instant messaging, apps, and social media. Customer preferences and your company’s specific needs will play a big role in choosing the best platforms to help your agents with these more personalized solutions for connecting.
In order to create and maintain a successful marketing campaign, a business must understand the needs and desires of its customers. By collecting data around what customers are looking for, your business can better determine what problems customers are trying to solve, or what products and services they are looking to purchase.
Knowing When to Call
Although voice calls are less popular than they used to be, there are still a large number of customers who would rather be contacted by a live person via telephone. Knowing which customers prefer specific methods of communication will help increase the level of connection between your company and potential customers.
Cloud-based Call Centers
In addition to leveraging big data to increase operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, another strong trend in 2016 will be the switch to cloud-based call centers. Remote call centers, or cloud-based centers, not only lower business costs but they can also be set up quickly and are easy to manage, both from a physical hardware and IT standpoint. Cloud-based call center technology offers businesses the flexibility to recruit employees from different locations, and allows for flexibility in scaling when the business climate requires an increase or decrease in operational capacity.
A study by Gartner, Inc., indicates that “in 2016, more than half of the Global 1000 companies will store sensitive customer information within the cloud.” While many call centers have been hesitant about going virtual, 2016 will likely be the year that many of these businesses finally make the switch to the cloud.
Summing it all Up
In 2016, call centers will focus on big data management in order to increase productivity by providing contact solutions that are centered around the needs and preferences of customers. In addition, cloud-based call centers will provide a less expensive and more flexible alternative to traditional call centers.
New and innovative technology trends are also likely to emerge throughout 2016 and beyond, bringing new and better ways for customers to interact with contact centers through a variety of digital platforms, while traditional voice contact will lessen.
For more information on how technology can help your call center run more efficiently, check out our Top 10 List When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution whitepaper.