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Trends and shifts in contact centre operations for 2021 and beyond

While contact centres became the lifeline for many during lockdowns, the new normal exposed the prevalent contact centre strategy when a majority of the workforce were confined to their homes. About 90% of the contact centres were ill-prepared to manage virtual contact centre scaling and remote work forced upon them by the pandemic. This increased customer frustration and resulted in loss of brand loyalty and trust.  A recent survey showed that:

  • During the pandemic, 53% of the consumers waited on call for more than 30 minutes compared with 26% before the emergence of COVID-19.
  • One out of 4 customer queries and problems remained unresolved during the first time of reaching out to a contact centre.

Now more than ever, consumers are likely to recommend a company based on a positive contact centre experience. And, contact centres need to sustain positive experiences in this new paradigm shift, with lesser staff, remote work, new policies, and other uncertainties.
Here’s looking at how modern contact centres need to adapt to new demands and trends that will enable them to stay on top of things in 2021 and beyond.

Five trends driving paradigm shift in contact centre operations

  1. Enabling distributed contact centre operations

  2. For years, businesses have toyed with the idea of flexible remote contact centres. With COVID-19, the transition to remote (work from home) operations became mainstream and is probably here to stay. With flexibility and convenience, businesses will now go beyond the usual brick-and-mortar model and consider using a remote hybrid model of work, either due to compulsion or due to necessity.
    Therefore, investments in cloud technology infrastructure will be the new criteria, which will also lower overhead costs as office spaces shrink.

  3. Delivering a mobile-first, digital CX

  4. Businesses must emphasise and focus on improving mobile experience for better customer experience (CX). With a decline in desktops, businesses are investing in being mobile first to meet customer expectations.
    Leveraging and investing in technology such as AI-powered chatbots, digital assistance, and cloud-based systems can take CSAT numbers and business outcomes several notches up at contact centres.

  5. Offering a truly connected experience

  6. While many contact centres have jumped on the omnichannel bandwagon, a few have actionable data to understand their customers better. Today’s customers not only want high-quality services, but expect empathy from brands through a truly personal and connected experience.
    Integrating multiple channels and communication modes will ensure a consistent voice across all platforms, offering a hassle-free and unified brand experience. Enabling real-time multimedia sharing and modern authentication methods — such as face ID, thumbprint verification, and pattern recognition — are part of new CX improvement strategies.

  7. Taking a pre-emptive approach to crisis management

  8. The year 2020 witnessed challenges in contact centre operations in the form of budget cuts and inefficiencies, as well as dynamic shifts and try-outs with previously untested solutions in remote work and meaningful digital transformation.
    As we advance, businesses will need to rethink technological infrastructure and focus on more cost-effective, automated processes for a resilient future. Being prepared for the next big crisis will involve breaking down data silos, aligning goals, restructuring teams and retooling, delivering seamless remote working options, implementing flexible staffing models for quick contact centre scalability, and offering meaningful customer engagements.

  9. Training contact centre agents

  10. As employees shift to remote work environments, they will expect a more unified back-end process for smoother collaboration. It is imperative for CX leaders and businesses to invest in content management, better knowledge management systems, online training portals, and real-time training delivery for employees.

    A combination of gamified learning, AI-driven learning, and personalised training (with self-paced learning and assessment) will ensure that teams stay engaged, effective, and productive while they work from home.

The future of contact centres

In the recent past, it seemed like the voice channel will become part of history. However, lockdowns around the globe have demonstrated the importance of the voice channel yet again. Instead of trying to look for permanent alternatives, it is essential that we find ways to deliver a consistent, humanised contact centre customer experience.

How can Infosys BPM help?

As a seasoned contact centre consulting service provider, Infosys BPM has proven itself in digital operations and AI and analytics in a global customer experience services report.
We bring together industry best practices, tools, and methodologies that enable our partners to align contact centre processes with strategic objectives.

  • Customer care maturity assessment:

    This includes strategy development, assessment, solution design, and implementation.
  • Customer care optimisation

    : This includes optimised core operations, from call, email, and chat handling to SLA management.