Q & A With Industry Leaders About Their 2018 Contact Center Predictions
As the end of 2017 is winding down, it’s a great time to reflect on what’s happened over the last 12 months and what to expect in the industry moving into the new year.
As one of the fastest changing industries, there are many anticipated new technologies you’ll likely see in the contact center in 2018. Five9 sat down with our partner DIzzion, for a Q & A to discuss what technologies will change the contact center in the year to come.
Here is a sneak peak of Dizzion's VP of Product and Strategy, Brady Ranum, and Wendell Black, VP of Channels and International Business, at Five9’s discussion. See the full conversation here.
How will the role of technology grow for contact centers in 2018?
Wendell Black: Contact Centers have been a focus of innovation for the 30+ years I have been in the space. Customer interaction preferences have been driving these changes over that period of time as contact center managers strive to find more efficient and effective ways to address customer needs.
The move to mobile engagement will, in my opinion, be the big driver over the next several years in the contact center. While clients have made the move to mobile with the attrition of landline phones, contact center managers haven’t been able to keep up with services that adapt easily to the new mobile paradigm. I see companies like Five9 filling those gaps in customer engagement.
Brady Ranum: Cloud has been driving business flexibility, scalability and time to revenue for many years now and this has not escaped the contact center market. Contact centers will continue to expand from DIY, expensive, non-flexible and highly capital constrained applications and infrastructure to more cloud adoption. From cloud based ACD to WFM systems and beyond – that includes cloud delivered desktops. We are even seeing contact centers being created or shifting to only using cloud based technologies. No building, no offices, no data centers or servers. 100% cloud and work at home.
What job title/role is going to be most focused on bringing these tech innovations into contact centers?
WB: The titles around “Customer Experience” are likely to be the driving forces. The roles that own the relationship with end clients will be on the leading edge of these changes. Of course the execution of those plans will still be falling into the realm of IT and those members of the Customer Experience Team will have to embrace the changes that are coming their way.
BR: Multiple titles will be involved – from CISOs to Customer Experience, Human Resource Managers and even contact center coaches and managers – because the impact of moving to cloud solutions touches everyone in the business. CTOs and CIOs will be involved but much of the heavy lifting will move from internal to external partners. CISOs and security will also be tightly aligned to the project and capabilities of the service based on the ever growing focus on security and compliance.
How are “smart” contact centers using technology for a competitive advantage?
WB: “Smart” contact center managers are moving steadily forward and are not complacent with their technology. Consumers expect businesses to keep up and continue to push the engagement model forward to take advantage. The enabling technology has been around for many years. For example, I deployed my first contact center chat and collaboration application back in the mid 90’s. That’s 22 years ago. Why isn’t that adoption rate with mobile technology today 100% penetrated in the market? “Smart” engagement managers are doing it and looking for more technology to improve their customer experience.
BR: Contact centers are now starting to look at not only customer satisfaction, but also the agents providing the service. Contact centers that are fully embracing technology have said goodbye to the days of having 50% of agents on performance plans. Advanced contact center platforms and cloud solutions that provide better insight and easier management and coaching abilities have allowed these centers to optimize their workforces and gain a competitive edge by getting the most out of all of their teams.
The remote working model enabled by cloud solutions is also resulting in a competitive advantage. Work at home programs can allow for broader recruitment base, faster onboarding w/ BYOD and more satisfied agents, which all present overall cost savings for contact centers. In this industry, every penny saved is a competitive advantage.