The Future of Services: 3 Key Trends in 2016 Contact Center Technology

By Mike Crane, EVP of Services

With 2016 beginning, it's that time of year to reflect on how far we have come but also prepare for what lies ahead. Significant improvements lie ahead for the contact center industry including focus on the agent experience, shifts in corporate business roles, and the strength of remote service. Three key industry trends we see evolving from a Services' standpoint in the coming year include:

1. 2016 is all about the agent experience.

The agent will be able to provide a better intimate connection with a customer by having visibility into their environment. Today, when a customer calls in for support they are explaining a situation and background story to at least one agent. In the future, the customer calls in for support and the agent is already one step ahead of the issue. The agent has the tools to obtain the situation details before customer is left to explain. This next year there will be more in-depth customer awareness for an agent to provide personalized service. When the agent has knowledge of the customer's environment immediately, the resolution can be addressed in an accelerated time frame. By providing a more proactive engagement, contact center agents will be driving more customer loyalty.

2. Corporate adds IT roles to the resume.

Historically, IT has been leveraged as a cost center in driving technology decisions into the business. Going forward, the business side will need to take a more active role around technology decisions because of the impact it can have to its overall success, or failure. A business can no longer rely solely on IT to support technology because it has higher ramification in the business. The business side and IT must partner more closely together in leveraging technology to drive incremental business and improve top line performance. The bridge between the business and IT will become stronger as business leaders recognize they need to be more involved in the technology decisions. Just as its important to hire the right person for the right role, the business needs to determine the right technology that will differentiate their business or improve performance. Leaders can leverage technologies to impact customer satisfaction, increase revenue, or reduce the cost. The leaders who understand this principle will demonstrate business outcomes through the use of technology.

3. Best of both worlds: Onsite and remote.

Moving forward, technology will enable you to serve a customer just as effectively being remote as you can be physically onsite. Professional Service teams will have the tools they need to provide the same delivery capabilities leveraging a cloud-based software model as they would be on-site with the customer. For example, a deployment service in a premise-based model requires a resource to physically connect the hardware and install the software. Now through a cloud software model, the deployment can take place via the web and provide the same experience as if the resource was there directly. This saves time and money in deploying a new solution to a customer. While premise based solutions have a legacy of onsite requirements now that we are moving into a cloud-based model it is less of a factor.

The contact center industry has great potential for 2016 and Services are improving by following in line with industry trends. With leveraging technology allowing a customer to be served just as effective remotely as on-site experiences, agents have the tools to provide premium service, and corporate business will be more involved with technology decisions. We look forward to seeing how the contact center industry progresses and the observations we'll make a year from now.

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