Heightened customer expectations are here to stay and are having a huge impact on technology in contact centres. Ed Creasey at Calabrio shares a forward-looking plan for the “new normal”.
The pandemic is reshaping the world of work with social distancing and local restrictions now known as the “new normal”. In contact centres, more employees than ever are working remotely while customer expectations have risen to their highest levels since Internet connectivity and the smartphone revolution first transformed our lives. In fact, when Calabrio interviewed over 300 contact centre professionals at the beginning of the current health emergency, 51% of respondents said they believe the customer service experience (CX) will impact brand loyalty even more than prior to the pandemic.
Looking closer at the survey results, 57% of contact centre leaders in the UK predict that ‘increased empathy’ will be a part of customer expectations of the future. In the US changes in customer expectations was even higher, with 69% citing emotional empathy and 68% a need to be heard. However, one thing is for sure, “heightened customer expectations” are here to stay with UK contact centre professionals claiming customers now want ‘quicker response times’ (93%) and ‘human agent availability over bots’ (68%).
4 ways to maximise and future-proof your contact centre
Calabrio’s latest Evolving World of Work report revealed that more than half of contact centres have maintained Quality Management (QM) levels while one third have actually increased their QM evaluations during the pandemic. According to our research, 44% of operations are using predictive analytics and automation to enhance interaction evaluation.
To thrive in this “new normal” world contact centres will need technology that matches the requirements of their virtual workforce and in turn their customers. Therefore, it is time to review:
• Workforce flexibility – invest in remote working solutions including video conferencing tools, because the many organisations which have moved to home working during the pandemic, have no intention of going back. Having enjoyed the benefits of enhanced employee satisfaction and productivity along with reduced office and facilities costs, companies plan to maintain a long-term flexible work environment.
• Blended Workforce Management (WFM) and Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) – likewise, as more organisations recognise the chain that links workforce engagement management with employee satisfaction, performance and CX, investment in the latest workforce engagement (WEM) solutions is the way to go. They are the perfect motivational tools for contact centres looking to engage with their virtual teams to maintain productivity and recognise employee engagement as a two-way street.
• Omnichannel CX – expectations around omnichannel service have significantly risen during the pandemic. Contact centres will need to invest in multiple communication channels and focus on building an omnichannel infrastructure (which also includes video conferencing tools) to meet and exceed customer requirements.
• A blend of self-service and human interactions – over this year, we have seen increased spend on self-service tools. Brands know they need to find the right balance between cost optimisation and CX. Customers want convenient self-service options, but they’re also looking for the empathy, personalisation and complex support only humans can provide. It all boils down to customers wanting ‘human agent availability over bots’.
For more insights and inspiration on how to future-proof your contact centre operations to meet the needs of customers in this “new normal” world, download the full results of Calabrio’s latest survey entitled “The State of the Contact Centre: Embracing the Evolving World of Work”