2022 was another year packed with shifting trends for the contact center, and 2023 shows no signs of changing course. With renewed focus on agent experience, ever-advancing AI capabilities, and the embrace of omnichannel solutions, contact center leaders face an exciting opportunity to best serve their customers in 2023. Read on for a sneak peek of what we’re excited for.
Agent empowerment is one of the top trends in the contact center space for 2023. Empowering your agents means equipping your teams with the tools, trust, information, and freedom they need to make decisions when customers need it the most. With an increased emphasis on agent empowerment, your teams can feel increased confidence and morale, and provide an improved customer experience.
One cheat code towards empowered agents? Involve them in the script-writing process. Agents develop an ownership mentality towards processes and projects that they are involved in; for both higher job satisfaction and script adherence, bring them into your thought process and organizational efforts as much as appropriate.
Agent experience (AX) is similar to agent empowerment, but with important distinctions that are worth examining ahead of 2023. While agent empowerment is about making sure your teams have all the tools they need to help customers quickly and feel bought-in to company goals, agent experience focuses on the well-being of your teams themselves. That can include financial and mental well-being, working conditions, and more. Here, it’s a look at the totality of the day.
Ultimately, ensuring your contact center agents do not feel disposable is essential. Executive perceptions have downstream effects on the agent experience: leaders who felt that their contact centers were a necessary drain on resources, rather than value drivers, had the highest churn overall as a group at 48% on average. Working to improve the overall agent experience can sometimes start from the top down.
In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has dramatically impacted our lives in various ways, and the contact center space is no exception. Many contact centers have incorporated AI tools to help shape the future of their organizations; AI can provide representatives with real-time guidance and coaching while on customer calls. Rather than supplanting agents, it will support their workflows and help them achieve more.
At the end of the day, humans aren’t going anywhere. The Conversation Excellence Lab asked over 360 executives which channels will be most used in ten years and the results were voice calls, live chat with a person, and email — all human-driven experiences. AI adoption will serve to streamline and bolster, but not to replace. Read more about what experts foresee for the contact center of 2030.
Omnichannel Remains Vital
Omnichannel options will remain vital to a complete contact center suite in 2023. Sample methods for omnichannel communication include:
- Text messaging
- Email support
- Live chat
- Social media
- Instant messaging
Customers appreciate flexibility. When it comes to omnichannel communications, the more of them you have, the greater the chances your customers can reach you via their preferred contact method. Omnichannel is all about reaching customers exactly where they are.
“I think that organizations will be far more responsive to customers than they are today. By responsive, I mean offering the customer’s choice of interaction channel. Omnichannel, you know. It will become much more of a reality in the future. We’re already starting to see it become a reality today, but only in a very small minority of situations and organizations.”Stephen Yap, Director of the Call Centre Management Association
However, remember that it’s vital to ensure your team responds to clients quickly across all platforms to help maintain higher CSAT scores. Having additional channels doesn’t help clients if they’re not being closely monitored, and too many channels run the risk of agents being spread too thin.
More Self-Service Options
While voice remains in tier one, self-service is the name of the game for those easy wins. A customer shouldn’t have to call you to check the status of their package, place an order, or find out your store’s holiday hours.
The focus will be on automation processes, not people. “Especially coming out of COVID, [people] crave human interaction, and I don’t think that’s going to go away. There’ll be more AI mixed with self-service and a focus on how to get people moving through the contact and center and to a resolution a lot faster than they are today.”Annette Franz, Founder and CEO of CX Journey
Adequate self-service solutions lower the demand on your contact center, so wait times are lower and your agents can focus their energies on the more difficult stuff; the complex or high-impact calls that require elevated emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills.
How Balto Can Help Your Organization Keep Up with Industry Trends
Balto has developed industry-leading software that can assist your organization in keeping up with many of these 2023 contact center trends. Specifically, our software can help you improve agent experience and empowerment and adopt the power of AI to provide you with ample amounts of real-time data, coaching, and guidance.
One of the best ways to see how impactful Balto’s AI-powered software can be for your organization is to request a free demo. If you’d like additional information, we’ve assembled a resource hub packed with helpful e-books, case studies, and other blog articles.