The contact center market is continually changing and evolving. Small businesses are shifting their priorities, and new deployment models are presenting different ways to manage operation. This article will take a look at some of the latest buying trends and what companies seem to be looking for.
1) Hosted Services
The number of hosted contact centers is growing at a significant rate. This deployment model allows a company to do make and receive phone calls without the usual investment in onsite telephony service. It can also provide access to special features (caller identification, call recording, etc.) that are often considered useful for contact centers.
2) Social Media
Companies want to make use of social media as much as they can. This is leading to text mining software that carefully monitors Twitter, Facebook, and other websites. If a person makes a comment about the company or one of its products, the contact center agents can start up a conversation and answer their questions.
3) At-Home Agents
Telecommuting is on the rise at many small businesses. They seem to be looking for a contact center solution that allows their agents to work from home but still have access to real-time queue stats and other important information. Remote agents also tend to have a lower attrition rate, thereby helping a common problem among contact centers.
4) Going Green
More and more companies are looking for an environmentally-friendly contact center solution. They want to reduce their overall level of energy consumption and use as little paper as possible. This trend may also be connected to the greater desire for remote agents since they don’t have to commute to work every day (thereby lowering the carbon footprint of the worker).
5) Collaborative Tools
The employees of contact centers want better ways to collaborate with each other. Text and SMS is the most popular, but video conferencing and web-based interactions are sought after in increased numbers as well. Expect to see more collaborative tools with streamlined interfaces that are designed to smooth out the process.
6) Consistent Experience
Many contact centers have problems maintaining a consistent experience. One customer might receive quality service from a contact center agent, while another may get transferred numerous times to different departments or have to stay on hold for almost an hour. A 2011 customer survey by Frost and Sullivan shows that resolving this issue is a “very high priority” or a “high priority.”
7) Customer Satisfaction
Small businesses are looking for a way to improve customer satisfaction. They are therefore seeking contact center solutions that provide a way to go the extra mile and make sure all of the customer’s needs are met. The recent series of Avis commercials about helping out drivers are a example of this.