Consumers have raised their service expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many enterprises are turning to contact center providers to keep customers coming back, according to a report from technology research and advisory firm Information Services Group (ISG). This article is copyright 2022 The Best Customer Guide.

The report, entitled “2021 ISG Provider Lens’ Contact Center – Customer Experience Services Archetype Report”, found that many enterprises across the globe are now seeking help from contact center providers with customer analytics, conversational AI tools, and customer data security.

“The contact center industry is evolving to address future consumers, and its enterprise clients are beginning to realize they need to embrace new technologies,” said Jan Erik Aase, partner and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. “Brands face challenges in delivering the best customer experience with more personalization to ensure brand loyalty and high retention rates.”

The report sees several contact center and customer experience trends: Conversational AI adoption is growing, stringent security is increasingly important, and customer analytics is the new lifeline for business survival.

The contact center industry is increasingly using both AI and machine learning, along with automated personas, in customer-facing roles, the report adds. Many enterprises are using chatbots to serve customers for basic queries.

In addition, providers are investing in real-time performance dashboards that create a direct connection between managers and agents. These dashboards include automated coaching for performance improvement, sentiment scoring, analytics scoring for agent performance, and gamification with performance comparisons and customized avatars, which can keep agents motivated and focused in remote working or gig-worker situations.

Enterprises and contact center providers continue to allow customer service representatives to work from home, because of ongoing challenges created by the pandemic, the report says. In response, the contact center industry is hiring remote agents and transitioning to a remote working model.

Enterprises are embracing asynchronous messaging to engage with customers, because of work-from-home-related connectivity issues, the report says. Contact center providers are also taking steps to deal with the security, background noise and other challenges created by the work-from-home model. Some contact center providers are adopting facial recognition, auto screen locks, voice biometrics and virtual private networks to strengthen security for work-at-home customer service agents.

In addition to traditional contact center services, many enterprises are also focusing on social media as an important channel for communication with customers, the report adds. Customers are leveraging social media to raise complaints and make purchases. Companies must be agile to manage social media channels, because brand damage can happen quickly.

The ISG Provider Lens’ Contact Center – Customer Experience Services Archetype Report examines three different types of clients, or archetypes, that are looking for contact center services. The report evaluates the capabilities of 27 providers to deliver services to the three archetypes:

  1. Automation Embracers
    These enterprise buyers are still low on the digital maturity curve but are looking to embark on an automation journey. Full-time equivalent employees will continue to play an important role. Channel adoption has matured to chatbots that go beyond regular voice, email and text options. Buyers in this archetype have made digital solutions a priority and are seeking a healthy shoring mix. Cost savings are a priority, and these clients use automation to reduce overhead costs.
  2. Digital Connoisseurs
    These buyers are digitally mature or have made digital tools their top priority. They have explored multiple channels and automation. Familiar with technology and its implications, enterprises in this archetype are looking to scale digital transformation and automation to have a larger impact on customer experience. They have leveraged multiple channels to enable better connectivity and communication.
  3. CX Evangelists
    For these buyers, transformation is the highest priority. Driving superior customer experience by leveraging technology-driven insights is the prime focus. These buyers are looking to leverage analytics services to bring about improvements at every stage of the customer service lifecycle. Having highly skilled, domain experts as agents is critical for these buyers. Their transformation goal is long term and strategic and steers clear of point solutions or quick fixes.

Original Source – used with permission