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6 Major Call Center Tech Trends for 2021!

Back in the day, call centers often featured rows of weary agents, relentlessly dialing numbers, connecting — often very briefly — with people who didn’t want to be on the phone. Today, innovations in the industry, including call center software, have transformed the 21st-century call center. These trends not only involve advances in technology but also procedures that empower call center agents and consumers alike to provide an enhanced customer service experience. Here’s how.

1. Rising Utilization of Artificial Intelligence

Many reports focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) take on a dystopian tone, referring to threats that machines and AI will ultimately replace much, if not all of the human labor force. However, AI trends in call center software are more oriented toward enhancing the efforts of human-staffed call centers. The result is often a significant increase in customer service satisfaction. In particular, chatbots powered by AI can often resolve simple customer service concerns, while providing valuable information for more complex issues that are referred to as human agents.

2. Acceleration in Social Media Engagement

Years ago, if a company did not have a website, that company did not exist for a large segment of its potential customer base. Today, a website is still an essential element of a company’s online presence, but it is hardly sufficient. Especially among younger consumers, social media engagement is mandatory rather than optional. Quite simply, social media is the online engagement of choice for consumers under age 35. However, as late as 2017, almost 30 percent of all companies had no social media presence at all. That number has improved in the last few years, but it still isn’t 100 percent, which is what it should be.

3. Transition to a Collaborative Call Center Environment

Many call center agents operated from a strictly dictated script that allowed for little or no deviation. Agents were discouraged from seeking guidance from other agents, let alone draw on individual judgment to resolve customer issues. The result was a highly competitive atmosphere that led to high turnover rates and low customer satisfaction. By contrast, call centers that encourage collaboration among agents and leverage the expertise they have gained from their customer-facing experience significantly improved performance, including an error reduction rate of 25 percent compared with call centers that insisted on using the old-school script-based model.

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4. Growth in Analytics

A popular truism states that it’s impossible to change what isn’t measured. Advances in call center software technology include the development of robust data analytics to measure the effectiveness of call center agents and identify areas that require attention. In particular, Unicenter call centers are becoming increasingly common, with dashboards being made available to call center agents as well as their managers.

5. Increase in Self Service Tools

Many consumers only turn to call centers after exhausting all of their self-service options. Self-service resolution options are often strongly preferable if they are available. In other words, call center agents often deal with consumers who are experiencing a high level of frustration. One solution is to develop robust self-service call center software that can resolve many consumer issues while providing call center agents with high-level training to equip them to handle the more complex or challenging cases that require human intervention.

6. Evolution of Call Center Technology

In 2020 and beyond, old school call center strategies and technology simply won’t cut it. Today’s tech-savvy consumers are accustomed to interacting with chatbots and other forms of AI, and even prefer self-service solutions when available. Social media engagement is becoming increasingly necessary, especially to reach a younger customer demographic. Finally, allowing agents to use their customer-facing expertise to provide customers with a more satisfying call center experience — and increase their own level of job satisfaction.

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