- Leading Contact Center Technologies in 2023
- What Does 2023 Hold For Call Center Technology Growth?
Call centers are the backbone of many businesses for customer support. After nearly three years of work and life upheaval, call centers have experienced a revitalization with the encouragement of remote work models, increased demand for service, and the necessity of delivering a good customer experience. Now that we are heading into a year of belt-tightening, companies are carefully investing in their call centers with new features to differentiate and personalize their brand and improve overall operational efficiency. An investment in technology that improves efficiency will (a) result in a higher per-headcount performance, reducing total expenses in the coming year and (b) set up your call center for scalable success this year and in the long term. Here are some innovative call center technology advances that should be considered in 2023.
Leading Contact Center Technologies in 2023
Expanded Support for Digital Channels
To create a seamless customer journey, call centers must offer omnichannel customer support and improve communications coordination they receive from these channels. People want to interact with businesses through the channels they prefer, which can include email, SMS, WhatsApp, chatbots, live chat, video, and multiple forms of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. This list can be expanded to include WeChat, LINE, Telegram, Apple Business Chat and Google RBM. At the present time, integrating more channels successfully is still an ongoing process. While their customers appreciate having their contact center vendor support a variety of digital channels in addition to voice, call center multichannel integration lacks coordination at present and often operates in silos.
Incorporating Video in Call Center Interactions
In the last five years, call centers have begun integrating video into their service processes with outstanding results. Expansion of broadband service, increased consumer adoption of video applications like Zoom and Facetime, and call center staffing shortages allowed video to gain wide acceptance as an important tool. For organizations seeking to minimize on-site repairs, video has been a windfall. The first time resolution rate can be increased dramatically when video is added to the interaction. An example would be directing a customer verbally with eyes on a piece of equipment, pointing out which switch to press, guiding them by drawing arrows or circling the item that needs attention.
With video providing visual assistance to customers, call centers have been able to reduce average handling time (AHT) and increase first call resolution (FCR) by solving issues faster. As a result, many companies are offering visual assistance technology. Companies will certainly examine their investments carefully in 2023 and need to go with a recognized leader rather than take on a smaller supplier. Look for a supplier that has a proven ability to drive adoption, can operate at scale, and is able to integrate AI technology into their features as potential differentiators.
Increasing the Quality of ChatBot Interactions
Customers want to feel acknowledged and understood, yet many companies offer a chatbot as the first line service provider before you get to a real human at a call center. Since 89% of customers report that they don’t trust that their problem will be resolved when speaking to a chatbot, we have a ways to go to improve this aspect of service automation.
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Hundreds of companies that are currently working on better chatbot/virtual assistant technology because the stakes are high. Paying live agents billions of dollars to repeat the same scripts over and over again makes the business case for automating call center interactions a lucrative one. But the technology isn’t ready yet for prime time and won’t be for a few more years, according to Gartner. They estimate that only by 2031 conversational chatbots and virtual assistants will manage 30% of interactions that would have otherwise been handled by a human agent, up from 2% in 2022.
Available now, call centers can provide their customers with smarter self-service automation and continuity by collecting visual information such as pictures taken from a smart phone while that person is waiting for an agent to free up. This can create a seamless transition to a live agent who has all the customer information collected during the self-service session at their fingertips. Giving the customer a way to move the process forward while waiting on hold is pro-active and creates a more positive atmosphere for the impending call session.
Integrating Vision and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Computer Vision is the technology that enables computers to see, recognize, and process images in the same way as humans. Computer Vision-powered systems can zero in on objects within stills or video, isolating them from the background. Backed up by sufficiently large data sets, vision systems recognize the category of a given device, identifying the manufacturer and even the exact model number. Automatically extracting and analyzing data from both stills and video, Computer Vision gives machines the power to derive meaning by interpreting the visual data according to sophisticated algorithms built around previous experiences.
Computer Vision AI-powered bots can more easily understand the customer’s issue and provide them with clear and accurate instructions for self-service, enabling people to fix the problem themselves. Using its massive repository of learned inputs of matching relevant issues with resolutions, AI-powered visual bots can optimize the entire customer self-service process from start to finish, as in assisting with unboxing. When vision technologies are successfully integrated into service automation in the coming years, we will be having far better call center interactions.
Call Center Technology For SMB’s
While large enterprises have created their own call centers for customer support, small and medium businesses are relying on CCaaS solutions to fill their support needs. A growing part of the industry, Gartner says that CCaaS licenses will represent over 49% of all contact center agents by 2026. The reasons for the CCaaS expansion for SMB’s include:
- A greater number of customer interactions can be handled remotely and more professionally using a CCaaS provider
- Higher labor costs for customer service operations can be reduced through the optimization offered by CCaaS solutions
- The CCaaS providers themselves are responsible for testing and incorporating new technologies (i.e. vision and AI) into their offerings, saving SMBs the research and development costs.
What Does 2023 Hold For Call Center Technology Growth?
The coming year is expected to see tightening budgets for many companies. Though innovation is always happening, spending on technology is not expected to grow in the short term. What’s the plan? Companies that can increase their scale and customer base through optimization strategies will find themselves in a better position when the recovery inevitably comes around. It’s not the time to experiment with untested technology, so do your due diligence and look for solutions and technologies that are taking customer service to the next level through successful, impactful innovation.