Contact Centre Predictions for 2020

Frank Sherlock

New Year 2020

Microsoft’s Richard Peers predicted that by 2020, 85% of all customer service interactions would be handled without the need for a human agent. Although his prediction was not completely accurate, there has been a significant move in that direction. This means that contact centres need to be integrating new technologies into their organisations in order to stay ahead of their competition. Here are my predictions on how the contact centre will evolve in 2020.

1. Analytics Emerges as a Barrier Buster

Many organisations are challenged by a siloed approach to customer communications. The lack of a cohesive channel infrastructure often ignites customer frustration as it forces customers to hop between email, chat and phone. They expect a seamless experience but inevitably end-up with disjointed interactions.

Interaction analytics supporting voice and text-based communications will increasingly be used to bridge siloes of technology and interest for more organisations in 2020. An ability to capture conversational data across existing communication systems and then correlating insight within a common analytics platform offers a cost-effective means for blending omnichannel insight. Resulting data can be applied to inform contact centre agents of previous customer journey touchpoints to optimise customer experiences with an informed “outside-in” perspective.

We will also see more sharing of insight from omnichannel analytics across the organisation in 2020 to leap barriers of attention. Interaction analytics that crosses communication channels will spark awareness beyond the contact centre to encourage accountability and drive action.

2. As the Nation Gets Angrier, So Will the Calls to Contact Centres

The frustration and anger with current politics and Brexit will provide real challenges for call centre agents. In fact, new findings from analysis of over 82 million calls to contact centres indicate that this anger is already spilling over into the way we communicate with each other. The data shows that callers are increasingly using offensive language to verbalize their anger and frustration. This is only likely to get worse in 2020 if call centres aren’t prepared to handle it correctly. Smart organisations recognise that angry and offensive calls last longer, negatively impact agent wellbeing, performance and loyalty and, leave the customer questioning their relationship with the organisation concerned. I predict that the brands that will deliver a better response to the swearing problem, by adding offensive language as a call centre KPI, will get a competitive advantage in 2020.

3. Predictive Analytics Will Drive a Better Customer Experience

I believe that predictive analytics will drive a better customer experience in 2020. Advanced contact centres will activate the oceans of unstructured data they collect by using AI-fuelled analytics to predict customer behaviour. For example, by analysing historical interactions, it will be possible to identify how customers respond to different situations. As a result, brands will be able to predict customer reactions to marketing campaigns, or to product or service issues if they arise. This will enable call centres to be resourced appropriately. It will also mean customers with specific problems can be automatically routed to the agents who are proven (through the analytics) to handle those problems in the best way.

This immediately increases the likelihood that they will be satisfied with the interaction. It also increases the potential for converting more sales, retaining more customers and ensuring better customer satisfaction.

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