What contact center trends could mean for your business
Author: Rose de Fremery
Today, customers demand a customer experience (CX) that is personalized, relevant and available on their preferred digital channels. If a company can't or won't provide it, customers may be likely to soon turn elsewhere. In response, businesses are embracing contact center technology trends like hyper-personalization, omnichannel customer experience and digital journey mapping. Here's how these contact center trends open the door to CX success.
Contact center trends that help enable a great CX
Hyper-personalization, omnichannel customer experience and digital journey mapping are among the top contact center technology trends that businesses are adopting to ensure continued business growth.
Customers want personalized care, and they reward the businesses that provide it. According to Zendesk's CX Trends 2023 report, 70% of customers will spend more with companies that offer personalized, fluid and seamless experiences, and 62% of customers think companies could improve their personalization efforts. Hyper-personalization offers businesses an especially effective approach to achieving this outcome.
Hyper-personalization leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and near real-time data to give customers highly relevant and timely content, delivering precise messaging at the right moment for maximum effect. While customer profiling or segmentation groups customers into categories or groups, hyper-personalization zeroes in on the individual involved and uses all the information about their tastes and preferences to provide what they find most useful or appealing in that instance.
Hyper-personalization is an example of assessing and responding to contact center automation trends that can help improve the customer experience in multiple areas while potentially helping the bottom line. For example, chatbots that track customer conversations in real-time can relay crucial contextual information, including a customer sentiment assessment, to human contact center agents when needed. Equipped with these enhanced insights, the agents can then provide the right level of empathetic care and tailored support that is required to bring the issue to a successful resolution. A chatbot could also analyze the sources of customer data available to determine what a specific customer is looking for and proactively reach out to them with a tailored offer or discount at the moment when they are most likely to make a purchase.
A personalized experience becomes especially important in an omnichannel environment, where businesses engage customers on the same channels where they keep up with friends and family. Stilted, impersonal messaging can fall especially flat in typically relaxed and intimate digital settings such as messaging apps and chat windows. For this reason, businesses that embrace contact center trends like hyper-personalization have a better chance of creating authentic relationships that lead to long-term customer loyalty.
Omnichannel customer experience
Customers rely on social media, SMS text messaging and apps to stay up to date with the people in their lives. Having become accustomed to the convenience and speed of these channels, customers see no reason why they shouldn't be able to engage brands there, too. Digital natives like Generation Z especially appreciate the efficiency of self-help tools like chatbots, which offer quick answers on a 24/7 basis. Customers of all ages became more comfortable with video communication during the early days of the pandemic when video chat became the primary way to attend school, conduct telehealth appointments and socialize with others while isolating at home.
If a business only offers voice or email as options for getting in touch, or if it fails to integrate all of its customer engagement channels to provide a consistent experience on every touch point, today's digitally savvy customers will soon switch to the competition. In light of these accelerating contact center trends, businesses are increasingly embracing an omnichannel strategy for customer engagement. According to NICE, 96% of customers expect companies to make transitioning among communication channels easy without the need to repeat information.
A cloud contact center with omnichannel capabilities is one particularly effective solution, enabling agents to engage customers on their preferred channels and seamlessly switch from one channel to another without losing crucial context about the conversation. The omnichannel contact center also offers handy self-service options, giving customers an option to connect with a human agent when the situation calls for it. While an omnichannel strategy focuses on digital communications, it can also expand to encompass brick-and-mortar experiences, facilitating a seamless and satisfying customer journey even in the physical realm.
Digital journey mapping
Businesses use digital journey mapping (or customer journey mapping) to better understand their customers' needs and provide a responsive customer experience. A customer journey map spans multiple touch points, illuminating the instances of friction that may cause customers to become frustrated or abandon their journeys. Equipped with proper insight into what customers encounter along the way as they attempt to complete a purchase, businesses have a far better chance of reducing cart abandonment, increasing customer retention and attracting new customers.
Digital journey mapping extends to the contact center in several ways. For example, some businesses use it to better understand what customers experience when they reach out to the company for support on various channels. Upon identifying moments where customers run into difficulties or bottlenecks, companies can adjust the relevant workflows as needed. Businesses can also tap this best practice to ensure a smooth and consistent omnichannel customer experience in specific scenarios, such as when customers switch from text to voice communications.
Although many companies initially use digital journey mapping to eliminate points of friction in the customer experience, they also often find this approach helps them improve internal collaboration, embrace a customer-first strategy and enable customer experience innovation.