9 Contact Center Predictions for 2023 and Beyond

Contact Center Predictions

The contact center industry has seen a whirlwind of ups and downs, especially since the pandemic hit us. While many businesses started functioning “as before”, many lacked the understanding of what re-emerging should look like. Uncertainty continues to loom large even today, in the backdrop of “the great resignation”. The resultant talent shortage globally is thus bound to place new value on employees and a revamped perception of the value they bring to businesses.

Most significant trends for 2023

As CX technologies advance and businesses come to rely more on real-time customer data, there ought to emerge significant trends that might bring exciting changes to the industry altogether. Here is list of 9 such trends:

1. Virtual Customer Experience in Metaverse

What great impact can Metaverse have on the contact center industry in particular? Would CX be driven by Virtual devices in the future?

Customers today are on the lookout for environments that deliver highly personalized, intelligent, and immersive personalization and Metaverse fits right in as stats prove.

As per a Gartner report, 25% of people would be spending at least one hour a day in the metaverse for shopping, work, education, social, entertainment, etc. and 30% of the organizations will have products and services ready for the metaverse by 2026.

Let us consider a hypothetical situation to understand this-

A customer is interacting with a brand and finds himself wanting online assistance. Let’s assume his journey begins with chatting with a bot and thereafter escalated to a live agent. Now the customer can opt for a more interactive session with the agent- where both parties choose an avatar to interact in a virtual environment.

Seems like science fiction..? Well, so was Snow Crash’s Metaverse until Zuckerberg took fiction out of the word.

2. IVR is Here to Stay

Yes, IVR would continue to be relevant even in 2023!

Many contact centers offer some rudimentary level of self-service options owing to their 24X7 availability, cost-effectiveness, and instant query resolution imperative. But enhanced customer expectations warrant that self-service tools ought to serve a greater purpose than just deflecting customers from contacting your service team.

A report by Aspect makes a compelling case for self-service tools. The report found that 73% of customers want the ability to solve service and product issues independently rather than talk to customer service.

The emergence of AI has given a fresh boost to the existing technology through conversational AI. Apart from the routine task of routing customers to skilled agents, AI+IVR has created a more substantial space in modern contact centers via speech recognition in IVR. With AI, IVR is enabled to pull up information and historical data from the customer’s journey and enable agents to deliver a better and more personalized experience.

3. Advanced Analytics with Observable AI

The adoption of AI innovation is not something new in the contact center space. Then why are we featuring it as futuristic? The answer lies in the adaptability of AI intelligence that can be stretched to bring automation, personalization, and much more to meet the ever-growing customer needs.

Accenture predicts AI technologies to increase business productivity by up to 40% in the coming decade.

This productivity is likely to flow from an overlapping scenario of use cases including biometrics, augmented reality, and insights generation- that observable AI facilitates. Observable AI is a lesser-known technology that taps into customer interactions and enables the agent to understand the customer demands holistically, given the sentiment analysis it offers.

Going forward, it has the potential to revolutionize CX in the backdrop of virtual agents redefining their role in Metaverse.

4. Newer Channels Taking Center Stage

Consider one channel that offers your customers everything- from social networking to mobile payments and shopping platforms. This is how Elon Musk imagines Twitter to be in the future – an everything app- on the lines of the Chinese messaging platform WeChat.

A decade ago omnichannel strategy was about offering customers the ability to avail customer service- anytime, anywhere. But as more brands consider the potential of Metaverse and its associated opportunities, from virtual sale fronts to AI-powered store associates, the scenario is going to change. While many people predict these apps to morph into browsers over time, we believe there is still time for this. But businesses can and should prepare in advance for the future of consumer messaging and consider integration with such applications.

5. IoT: The Harbinger of a Smart Contact Center

The age of intelligence is here and IoT is leading it upfront. With advancements in sensor technologies and virtual space getting recognition, inter-connected devices have the potential to transform how customers engage.

But how would this play out for the contact center industry?

Smart objects generate a huge amount of data, which when scaled up can serve as the Big Data for businesses apart from refined customer support. These smart objects can make troubleshooting faster and smoother, thus cutting down the need to contact call center agents frequently and bringing down expensive call volumes across channels. When considering the option of integrating smart call center solutions for enhanced CX, IoT could be one of the options.

6. Voice Biometrics

Speech recognition technologies today are not limited to personal virtual assistants but can enable more interaction channels alongside the traditional text-based chatbot options. Most IVR systems already enable customers to avail of this technology.

A Gartner report highlights that by 2025, 40% of all inbound voice communications to contact centers will use speech-to-text technology.

But there is something more that these 40% of customers would want when they opt for such technologies – privacy. Most customer interactions contain sensitive information and data privacy does indeed play a significant role in ensuring customer trust. Having the customer’s voice enrolled and a voiceprint created and encrypted strengthens the security framework. Thus, voice authentication relies on a unique voice pattern that prevents fraud without troubling customers with security questions or PINs.

7. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Across the Organization

Neither RPA nor automation is new to the contact center industry. Close to 76% of contact centers are already implementing RPA at their company according to a Deloitte survey. From improving productivity to reducing costs by automating manual tasks, RPA technology has transformed the customer experience journey for the better in the past.

But would it have a redefined role in the coming years?

According to UiPath’s 2022 trends report, a hybrid human-digital workforce will be the new normal within the next five years, with people and virtual assistants working side by side.

Against the backdrop of the Great Resignation and the hybrid work environment becoming the new normal, RPA would continue to be important in sharing tasks and delivering seamless services to customers. Moving forward, the cutting-edge contact center will use unattended RPA bots to autonomously handle tasks from a predetermined queue. Further, bots can also be employed to train employees as AI permeates every facet of the contact center industry to drive up productivity.

Also Read | Why is Robotic Process Automation a Must for Contact Centers?

8. Sentiment Analysis Becomes the Norm

What distinguishes a good salesperson from an excellent one? It’s their ability to empathize with customers. Because an outstanding salesperson knows how to interpret the customer’s feelings and persuade them to buy a product or service.

Voice-based technologies like sentiment analysis are like assigning a star salesperson to help each of your agents to understand customers better. Aided by the cognitive capabilities of AI technologies like ML and NLP, agents can determine whether the data expresses a positive, negative or neutral tone.

As AI makes deeper inroads into the contact center industry, agents would be equipped with all the context they need to reach out to customers, which would mean an end to irrelevant emails, advertising, and messaging for consumers, thus shifting the focus solely on customer experience. By constantly checking the customer pulse through AI algorithms, sentiment analysis offers practical insights into the nuanced and contextual tone of the customer’s speech, thus driving faster resolutions.

9. UCaaS & CCaaS Work Better Together

The pandemic has accelerated some trends that were already underway: such as moving the infrastructure and software applications to the cloud. For organizations still using on-prem solutions, it is a question of ‘when’ and not ‘if’. UCaaS has become a pervasive option across such organizations where the threat of legacy systems becoming redundant looms large. The need for collaboration and communication even in remote working environments has compelled businesses to consider the two technologies- UCaaS and CCaaS- in tandem, and the trend is likely to continue in the future.

The rationale for UCaaS and CCaaS integration lies in their ease of deployment and maintenance. Aided by AI, this collaboration would offer the required flexibility and scalability to align with organizational needs. Going forward, with 5G and edge networking innovation making headways into real-time communication space, UCaaS and CCaaS integration is bound to undergo further innovation.

Wrap up

Some of these contact center trends have been gathering steam for quite some time now and might look familiar. But as data domination continues to influence the CX space, we will witness a change in how businesses work and interact with customers owing to automation technologies taking the world by storm in an increasingly divided world. Harness the power of these automated technologies in 2023 to offer context-relevant services at scale with NovelVox. Humanize conversations across channels and turn them into leads with AI-driven tools. Equip your agents with all the right information in a seamless unified environment and live up to customer expectations in an increasingly competitive world.

Redefine your contact center journey in 2023 with unified and automated contact center solutions from NovelVox!

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