4 predictions for customer service in 2022
What changes will the contact centre see in 2022? To find out we asked a selection of Enghouse experts to look into their crystal balls. Here are some of their top predictions for customer service:
1. Making customer service more visual with video and AR
Alex Black, Chief Technical Officer at Enghouse Interactive
I’ll start with a recommendation. There is much focus on AI as a leading technology in the contact centre market, and with good reason. However, for AI to add value in certain use cases, there is a need to have a strong knowledge base underpinning it. This is an area where I believe people need to spend more energy on.
We have become more used to video interactions during the pandemic. I predict that we will see more use of the technology in certain customer interaction scenarios. Particularly in retail, where people are looking to purchase items which are higher value or require a more consultative approach.
I used to think that using augmented reality to help supervisors in the contact centre was likely the first use of the technology in this environment. However, I now think the most likely initial uses will be to help agents in the retail or certain helpdesk type of scenarios. The rumoured entry of Apple more deeply into the AR space will likely accelerate the adoption of the technology.
2. COVID-19 is no longer an excuse
Astrid Pocklington, Head of Corporate Content & Communications at Enghouse Interactive UK
At the beginning of the pandemic both consumers and agents understood that lockdowns and homeworking were going to impact their experiences. They were prepared to be patient and accept a lower level of service or more challenging working conditions.
Two years later, businesses can’t use COVID-19 as an excuse anymore. Customers demand the same – or more likely better – service than before the pandemic began and will vote with their wallets if they don’t get the experience they want. The same goes for agents – the pandemic and hybrid working have dramatically flattened the world, opening up new opportunities. Essentially you can now work virtually from anywhere. After all, it doesn’t matter where your employer is based if you never visit the office. Both of these factors mean that businesses need to redouble their efforts to improve the customer and agent experience if they are to retain revenues and skills going forward.
3. Why the future of the contact centre is hybrid in three key ways
By Jacki Tessmer, VP Product Marketing at Enghouse Interactive
Hybrid isn’t just a reference to a cloud application delivery model; I predict that it’s also going to be central to how great customer experience is delivered and how staff work in 2022.
In 2022 hybrid will be the most common cloud model for the contact centre with everything more seamlessly integrated and more interconnected than before. Enterprises will have a mix of deployment models, depending on their technology and where they are in the transition to cloud computing service. This hybrid approach will bring together public cloud, private cloud and on-premise applications to create a new customer experience delivery paradigm as 2022 unfolds.
Customers will be serviced by AI driven bots (especially for straightforward, can occur any time of the day or night interactions) and by humans in the contact centre, when the interaction is more complex, of high value and needs a high touch experience. This hybrid customer experience will deliver the right balance of efficiency and empathy to help companies meet more demanding customer needs in 2022.
We know that going forward staff will work from anywhere. In the contact centre office, from their home office, or a mix of both. What is needed for long-term success is a flexible, hybrid approach to underpin these new ways of working. Applications, processes, and strong management will all need to support this flexibility. A hybrid work approach will allow companies to deliver great customer as well as staff experience in 2022.
4. AI expands to the contact centre back-office
By Steve Nattress, Product Director at Enghouse Interactive
The role of AI in the contact centre will continue to grow as its capabilities expand, focussed around three areas:
Customer facing solutions such as AI chatbots are the first option for most businesses when they consider AI. Improvements in Conversational AI mean this area will continue expand, with older chatbots replaced with more capable solutions. Improvements in supporting technologies such as speech-to-text and text to speech means that voice driven conversational AI will also grow.
Agent assistance with renewed interest in solutions that improve the agent experience such as automatic answer suggestions and script guidance.
Back-office activities and business insight. This is the area where I predict AI will have the most growth. Over the last few years use of Robotic Process Automation for agent activities has taken off. I believe in the next 12 months we’ll see more options to support supervisors. Especially through automated agent evaluations and AI backed insights into customer experience.
2022 promises to be another busy and challenging year for customer service teams. Particularly as they shift to a more hybrid world, with all the change that this brings. To help, we’ll be sharing best practice advice for your contact centre strategy and tactics through our blog. Check back every week for the latest posts from our experts and leading guest authors!