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Five contact center



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Author: Poornima Apte

The COVID-19 pandemic jolted business-as-usual complacency in all sectors of the economy and led to innovations in contact center technology as well. While a fair amount of this innovation in call center technology was already moving into place, the pandemic accelerated its adoption.

Looking into the future, customer experience (CX) leaders will see these movements cementing themselves and fundamentally changing how organizations do business and develop their workforce.

Innovations in call center technology and contact center technology: five trends to watch

Here are five innovations in call center technology and contact center technology to keep an eye on.

1. A digital-first approach

The drumbeat for digital transformation has grown ever louder, making it a must-have for businesses to maintain a competitive edge. 2020 saw the adoption of a "digital-first" approach to business as organizations that were further along in the path to digital maturity could adapt more quickly to workplace disruption. Expect digital transformation to accelerate and create more innovations in contact center technology: The overall digital transformation market is predicted to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 16.5% reaching $1,009.8 billion by 2025, according to Research and Markets.

Innovations in contact center technology that are a byproduct of digital transformation include garnering data such as customer interactions, call deflection, net promoter scores, customer churn and more—and understanding this data outside of individual silos so you can make more data-driven decisions for your business.

2. A remote workforce

Last year, PwC surveyed 669 CEOs and found that 78% agree that remote work is here to stay. That reality is affecting where employees choose to live and work. While this trend spans many industries, it affects innovations in contact center technology, too, as CX officers have to rejigger what remote work means for their operations and how they deliver customer experiences.

Contact centers will have to view each employee's remote work location as an extension of their operations and plan for supporting technology accordingly. CX leaders will also have to factor in remote onboarding, training and retention of employees and what that might look like in this new landscape. And, they need to ensure that the employees have the right tools to engage and respond to customer needs.

3. Distributed cloud

If it doesn't matter where your employees are located, your customers, too, can come from a wider geographic region. While most contact centers already work within this context, expect a shift in the underlying technology that supports it: a move from a centralized public cloud model to a more distributed one. Gartner identified the distributed cloud as one of the top technology trends for 2021, saying, "Distributed cloud can replace private cloud and provides edge cloud and other new use cases for cloud computing. It represents the future of cloud computing."1

Organizations will need to prepare for a cloud service architecture that enables calls to be routed even more quickly than before, with a corresponding decrease in latency. Operations can also become more resilient and agile as cloud distribution leads to a smaller footprint and helps route around catastrophic events such as hurricanes and other extreme weather events.

4. Hyperautomation

2020 showed us just how valuable human workers are. Gartner identified this momentum as another one that will gather strength in 2021, saying, "Hyperautomation is now inevitable and irreversible. Everything that can and should be automated will be automated."1 This automation will be used to augment worker abilities in the contact center as well.

Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) in the contact center are part of contact center innovations that move in this direction. AI can not only help customers find the answers to routine questions on their own, but it also alleviates the drudgery for the workers who have to answer the same questions over and over again. Behind the scenes, too, AI helps analyze customer calls to read patterns and flag problems proactively. Expect AI to play an even greater role in shaping innovation in call center technology.

5. Cyber security mesh

No longer think of cyber security as protecting one central fortress, but as a mesh distributed wherever your technology assets are located. The rise in remote work and the increasing number of potentially vulnerable device endpoints is accelerating the vision of a cyber security mesh. According to the Gartner report, "The cybersecurity mesh enables anyone to access any digital asset securely, no matter where the asset or person is located."1

No matter where staff is located, for example, each contact point for a call center will need to be part of this extended net. Expect chief information security officers to play a greater role in how contact centers manage data, especially given the volume of data handled. Privacy laws for data handling will also affect where you store it. Security and agility of operations will have to work together to realize the business goals of a contact center.

Taking advantage of innovations in contact center technology

The biggest change in the immediate future is not so much the technology itself but a mindset shift in how CX leaders approach it. Technology innovations will be front and center in calculations and will mold business in every sector—from human resources to the customer data platform. And with enabling technologies such as the cloud, contact centers can now be more resilient than ever before.

Learn how Verizon's cloud contact center solutions can enhance the customer experience for your organization.