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Five Contact Center Trends to Follow in 2017 - GCS - Blog

Five Contact Center Trends to Follow in 2017

“The easier it is to get fast, convenient customer service, the more consumers will engage with customer service. That higher level of engagement will remain essential to building the long-term loyalty that businesses depend on for stability and continued growth.”

A new year means new possibilities.  Since your looking to improve your contact center this year, let’s examine the trends driving our industry now. Here are some “hot button” issues that forward-thinking contact center professionals will be facing in the next few years.

First, the very good news for the industry at-large: we are growing. A recent Forester Research report found that, more than ever, consumers are reaching out to customer service organizations. They’re using every channel available to them, including video chat, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Twitter, online communities and other services. In fact, the easier it is to get fast, convenient customer service, the more consumers will engage with customer service. That higher level of engagement will remain essential to building the long-term loyalty that businesses depend on for stability and continued growth.

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As a result, many customer service organizations are spending more money on staffing. Forrester’s data shows that “51% of contact center decision-makers project their contact centers to grow in size as measured by number of agent seats by 5% to 10% next year, and 13% project a growth of more than 10%.”

Forrester cautions that adding agents isn’t the cure-all for handling higher contact volume. Which brings us to our first hot trend for 2017 and beyond.

Trend #1: Self Service and Digital Engagement


As the number and variety of customer service channels increase, customers are using self-service more frequently. Self-service can offer significant ease and speed when it comes to resolving less complex issues. Contact centers “must make the move to self-service and digital engagement smartly and keep customer expectations for service squarely in their line of sight.”

Forrester analyst Kate Leggett adds “customers don’t want to wade through a laundry list of answers; they want self-service sites to serve up the one right answer to their question.” Businesses have to up their knowledge management programs to make information easy for agents to find and put into context with the customer’s request. “They must use modern knowledge solutions with learning and analytics to measure and optimize the value of content.”

Trend #2: Open Up Low Friction Channel

Forrester’s data also found that, when it came to choosing customer service channels, “in the past 12 months, 84% of US online consumers used web and mobile help or FAQs, 83% used the phone, 76% used email, 65% used chat, 56% used communities, and 43% used Twitter.”

The popularity of Web chat is expected to rise because it is a “low friction” way to interact with an agent. Forrester notes that in the US, the number of adults using online  chat for customer service has boomed in recent years, up from 43% in 2012 to 65% in 2015. “Organizations can quickly connect customers to an agent with the right skills to answer the question without them having to navigate an arduous interactive voice response (IVR), they can succinctly resolve questions in near-real time, and agents can leverage customer behavior on the website to move the conversation forward instead of rediscovering information that has already been communicated to the customer.”

The way consumers use the phone is changing fast, too. Customers are now more likely to try to resolve service issues using self-service or web chat, but they still prefer live agent interactions to solve complex issues or requests.

This means that although the rate of telephone usage has dropped dramatically as the first point of contact, live agents must be equipped to perform at their absolute best, providing the clarity, ease and simplicity that consumers are demanding. That’s why this third trend may come as a surprise.

Trend #3: Higher Levels of Service From Contact Center Live Agents


Live agents are becoming more important than ever when it comes to building and nurturing customer relationships. The use of technology in the contact center has actually created a greater need for well-trained live agents with excellent soft skills. (If your agents need to improve their soft skills, take a look at our online training program.)

A 2015 article in the Harvard Business Review stressed that the need for soft skills will continue to grow. In fact, nearly all job growth in the US since 1980 has taken place in sectors that require solid social skills. Researcher David Deming found a simple reason for this: computers are bad at simulating social interaction.

There’s no doubt that computers are becoming more agile, but there’s still a very long way to go before artificial intelligence will replace humans in the contact center – if ever. Emotional intelligence and the ability to develop and refine interpersonal skills are purely human – and an absolutely essential part of a well-rounded agent’s skill set.

As consumers have been given more contact channels to choose from, they’ve been gravitating to the easiest, most direct path to the information they want, and that’s not going to change. They expect to find answers that are relevant, complete and as uncomplicated as possible on demand. That’s why consumers expect customized experiences from the live agents they interact with.

In addition to speaking to someone who listens well and communicates clearly and who doesn’t waste their time with meaningless or redundant conversations, consumers expect live agents to have thorough knowledge of their account.

Trend #4: Knowledge and Speed in the Contact Center


Because consumers will be using self-service and low friction channels as their first path to rapid, accurate information, expect them to insist on a higher level of speed and knowledge from live agents. If they can’t get an answer through zero-touch methods, consumers will push past that level of frustration to speak to a person. Realistically or not, those customers will look for an above and beyond service experience at that point.

This underscores the need for innovative training and coaching programs to address any gaps in hard or soft skills agents may have. Keep in mind that, no matter what your center’s ASA goals are, the person calling in wants to be cared for as quickly as possible.

Trend #5: Higher Levels of Professionalism (see trends 3 &4)

Increased demand increases tension in the contact center. Supervisors, managers and agents must be able to navigate complex questions with care, enthusiasm and empathy while keeping the company’s business objectives at top of mind. It’s a lot to juggle on the best of days. Customer service organizations must invest in training and ongoing professional development to survive.

“If you haven’t addressed these trends you’re already behind the times.”

Big Changes Are Coming to Contact Centers: Here’s How To Prepare


There are several aspects of the market that we expect to change dramatically over the next three to five years. But before we dive in to market shifts, let’s take a quick look at the potential dollars and cents impact of great  – and not so great – customer service on our economy.

The economic benefits of customer service can be measured in three ways:

  • the willingness to buy again,
  • how likely a customer is to abandon you for a competitor,
  • and how likely a customer is to recommend your products or services to their network of family, friends and colleagues.

According to a recent Forrester Research report, Transform the Contact Center for Customer Service Excellence, “the revenue impact from a 10-percentage-point improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion.”

The same report offers some sobering data on the costs of poor customer service.

  • 53 percent of adults making online purchases in the US will abandon the sale if they can’t find a quick answer to their questions
  • 69% of these consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails
  • The necessary service costs for online retailers due to channel escalation are estimated to be $22 million on average.
  • Of 2.5 million customers who say they are unlikely to come back to a site that doesn’t offer great service, only 2 percent complain to the contact center. Forrester estimates that at $100 apiece, this lack of action costs retailers $250 million a year in lost revenue.

The barriers to providing a great customer experience that companies will be struggling with in the immediate future include:

  1. Access to data

 As Forrester put it, “customer service agents often use multiple disconnected applications when resolving a single customer issue. This lack of a standardized discovery process hinders agent consistency and productivity, increases agent training times, and leads to a higher level of agent turnover due to frustration with the tool set.”

  1. Compliance

As regulations become more complex in finance and healthcare, Forrester found that “few real-time processes in customer service organizations audit agent actions against policy requirements, leading to higher service costs due to incurred penalties.”

  1. People

 “Today, customers resolve straightforward customer service interactions via self-service, leaving complex issues like account closure, booking a complex multicity set of flights, or an explanation of smart metering billing policies for a phone conversation,” writes analyst Leggett. “These questions often take longer to resolve and are opportunities to build positive customer relationships with an end goal of increased customer loyalty. They also demand a higher caliber of agent for effective issue resolution.”

  1. Process

The rise of blended departments and shared duties and roles will require tighter controls on process management. As customers embrace self-service options more fully, expect the focus on first call resolution and next call avoidance to become paramount.

  1. Technology

 On the consumer side, service apps are popping up every day. From telematics in insurance and healthcare to virtual agents that can find fast remote answers, customer service apps will continue to flood the marketplace.

On the contact center side, self-directed coaching and training apps will gain in popularity. Center managers benefit from improved analytics on the floor, and corporate marketing managers can gain faster, more accurate insights and improved process management through predictive analytics.

  1. Workforce management

 The days of using spreadsheets are over, or they should be if you’re serious about the success of your service operation. Investing in tools to optimize your workforce management can help contact centers save money through more precise scheduling, better resource management, and the availability of robust analytical tools.

  1. Better case management

Many firms have yet to integrate the customer data that they collect at from phone, email, chat, and web self-service. This failure leads to inconsistent service, which raises the cost per transaction as well as decreasing customer satisfaction rates. Expect this to change rapidly over the next few years.

In conclusion, there’s another big trend that we’ve seen, and the researchers at Forrester agree:


Forrester describes the optimized customer service experience as a win-win. “Customers are satisfied because companies deliver service efficiently, in line with expectations. Companies are satisfied because they contain costs, as this type of service minimizes handle times and customer re-contacts and maximizes first-contact resolutions.”

So why don’t companies deliver the level of attention that consumers want and the customer capture and retention rates that their bottom lines depend on?  One of the biggest reasons is lack of bandwidth: effective contact center administration and management is multilayered and extremely complex.

Outsourcing is an excellent option for firms ready to face the future. The right contact center vendor will meet and exceed the highest deliverables, and have the resources, expertise and management ability to ensure your service operation excels.

At GCS, we have the services, tools and intelligence to get you ahead of customer experience trends. We don’t just hire the brightest agents – we hire nice people who are temperamentally fit for customer service and train them in the hard and soft skills they need to succeed.

You don’t have to overhaul your existing center to develop one of your greatest assets – your agents – we have an innovative, intuitive online training and coaching program to help build and reinforce interpersonal skills. It’s making a difference at centers around the country right now, and it can be that valuable assist your managers need to improve your center’s performance. You can access a demo of Say This… Not That, Most of the Time, here.

We have the people, processes and technology that can make your contact center more productive, effective, efficient, and we’re here to help you reach your most ambitious goals. Together, we can leverage these industry trends to satisfy your customers and meet your revenue requirements.


Publish Date: January 4, 2017 5:00 AM

2021 Buyers Guide Dialer Solutions

Acqueon Technologies Inc.

Acqueon's AI-driven conversational engagement software enables sales, marketing and service organizations to engage in emotionally connected dialogs with customers via their channel of choice for significantly improved results. The Acqueon suite adds multichannel campaign management, contact center analytics, desktop, and CRM connectors for your contact center software of choice, including Amazon Connect, Cisco, Nice inContact, and Twilio. Acqueon conversational engagement software leverages the Acqueon IQ platform to aggregate data from the various applications, assemble rich customer contexts, and drive next-best-action using powerful statistical and predictive models.

Avyukta Intellicall Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

Dialer CRM VoIP CTI Cloud Solutions
We are a single roofed solution for Dialer / Hosted Dialer / VoIP / CRM and CTI Solutions . With 300+ call center clients in above 9 countries and recent features such as :

Dynamic custom agent crm popup

avatar module

10+ Custom Reports

Cloud Telephony with/out "Host your Trunks" option

and End to End CRM on the cards we are supposed to grow exponentially within the next 6 Months

Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.

You can see the full list of features here:

ComSys S.A.

CList for Outbound Campaigns Management
CList by Comsys is an application that helps contact centers enhance the performance of their outbound campaigns. It accomplishes that by enabling the planning and execution of sophisticated communication strategies. Additionally, the AI-powered module of CList extends the possibilities of outbound campaigns delivering unprecedented results.
Comsys is a provider of οmnichannel customer engagement solutions that assist companies around the world in delivering unique customer experiences. For the last 15 years, Comsys designs and implements complex projects for clients from the outsourcing, financial services, telecommunications, and retail sectors. Comsys enjoys strategic partnerships with t...
(read more)

Consilium Software

Consilium UniCampaign™
Reaching the right person with the right information on the right channel at the right time is a tall order. That’s the power the new Consilium UniCampaign™ has been adding to Cisco outbound contact centers, easily tripling or quadrupling results, from improving digital customer acquisition to managing post-sale customer relationship. Delivering proactive outbound engagement in a game-changer product, Consilium UniCampaign™ is an omnichannel List and Campaign Management (LCM) solution which complements the strength and robustness of Cisco's Outbound Dialer with the implementation of multichannel (voice, email, and SMS) outbound contact strategies. The new 7th release of UniCampaign™ is des...
(read more)


Dialer software that makes customer contact pain free, so your team aren’t worried about complex technology and can focus on what they do best. Dramatically increase agent productivity using a variety of dialers, combined with AI, leveraging data-driven contact strategies to ensure the right agent is contacting your customers at the right time.

Take control, and ensure your team are on-message by designing the perfect agent interface with a drag-n-drop visual WYSWYG editor.

Rotate CLIDs, and auto-wrap certain calls to ensure maximum agent productivity and performance.


Genesys PureConnect
Genesys PureEngage

Cloud IT Services GmbH

Companies of all sizes rely on the cloud-based call center platform Dialfire and its powerful predictive dialer. Dialfire is ready to use within minutes and easily personalizable. From small ad-hoc to large multi-step campaigns, Dialfire offers high scalability. Adapt customer masks and automate workflows per mouse click. Integrated scripting and APIs ensure a smooth connection with external systems.


With Megadialer you will get a customized call center software. With the creation of personalized questions, surveys and sales script you will have the information you need from your customers quickly and efficiently. Improve the performance of your agents with a 100% online contact center, real-time analytics and predictive dialer to optimize the time between one call and another.

All rates include:
Instant Call Reports
On-Demand Recording
Call Supervisor
Call Layout after Completion
Your Own Caller ID
Call Monitor
Automatic Re-Calls
Automatic sending of Mails
Incoming Call Management
Real-time Activity Panels
Call Lists for Agents
Different Levels of Administration


Advanced outbound solution including predictive dialing, featuring patented technologies such as Live Person Detection (LPD™) and SNoDrop™ using Artificial Intelligence to deliver compliant & effective predictive dialing with 0% abandoned call rates. The solution includes its own CRM system as well as visual campaign creation and management as well as automated data import and export capabilities. The package comes with highly visual and open call scripting technology and an SDK (Software Development Kit) is also available for embedding the dialer into your own user front end.

Nuxiba Technologies

Discover Nuxiba's all-in-one dialer solutions. Either predictive or automatic, our software adapts to your business needs with a powerful and easy-to-use system. We offer TCPA compliance options, so you never have to worry about issues with the law and PCI Data Security so you can protect your cardholder's data information during every call.

Stop worrying about technicalities and focus on the most valuable aspect: giving the best service and customer experience with our intuitive features. All of our features and modules are fully adaptable to any business needs.

Obtain the benefits of using software fully tailored to your business, start saving money, and boosting your productivity.


Reach more contacts, in less time with PhoneBurner. Powering thousands of client and millions of calls, our cloud-based software eliminate repetitive tasks so agents have up to 4x more live conversations. Unlike other dialers, PhoneBurner delivers 100% delay-free connections with no awkward pause. Conversations start off with promise, not hangups.

- Call 60-80 contacts per hour, per agent
- Instantly leave voicemails
- Send 1-touch emails
- Automate workflows and call logging
- Record and transfer calls
- Access reporting and analytics
- Intelligently distribute leads
- Dial from local Caller IDs
- Get free white-glove onboarding

Scales to any size team with no contracts, no setup fees, and no per minute charges. Start a free trial without a credit card.


Predictive Dialler
A predictive dialler is an outbound call system that automatically dials from a list of telephone numbers. Also known as Power or Auto dialers it will automatically help agents make more calls, generate higher rates of connections, increase conversions, manage voicemail, no-answers and disconnected numbers.

We’ve made it easy to get started, we offer packages to best suit your needs and don't tie you into long term contracts. Don't take our word for it take out a no-commitment free trial!

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
The InterDialog Dialer is an independent & intelligent auto dialer software that controls the outbound calls using various algorithms. This call center dialer works as Predictive Dialer Software, Progressive Dialer Software, Preview Dialer Software or Power Dialer Software based on the requirement of the process. It allows the system to create groups/caller lists and then dials out to multiple calling groups/lists at the same time, thus helping target a wider market segment in a shorter period of time.

The predictive dialer software and automatic dialer algorithms used by the InterDialog Dialer are designed to improve efficiency by lowering the wait time, the number of dropped calls and t...
(read more)

Tru29 Outsource Solutions Inc.

Custom Outsourced Solutions
Tru29 Solutions tailor fits a dialer solution that will truly suit your needs.


Voiptime Contact Center
Our contact center solution allows processing the high volume of client requests from different channels (voice, webchat, email, web callbacks), running massive outbound dialing campaigns, and makes all call center operations visible for management. Voiptime Cloud Contact Center is a professional calling solution for outbound and inbound calls. It’s a plug-and-play software that immediately increases the productivity of your call center department. With the help of our solution you are able to:
- Automate lead prospecting and have 4x more live conversations daily;
- Increase the agent occupancy up to 80-90% with the help of the fastest Predictive dialer;
- Smooth out the peaks of calls by...
(read more)

View more from GCS

Recent Blog Posts:
Contact Center Best Practices: 10 Areas of FocusFebruary 15, 2017 5:00 AM
Top Contact Center Industry BenchmarksFebruary 1, 2017 5:00 AM
How to Develop a Contact Center Improvement PlanJanuary 19, 2017 5:00 AM
Five Contact Center Trends to Follow in 2017January 4, 2017 5:00 AM
Call Center Outsourcing Services: How to Choose the Right Contact Center VendorDecember 8, 2016 5:00 AM
16 ROI-Proven Ways a Consultant Can Help Your Call CenterNovember 11, 2016 5:00 AM
Five Things to Ask a Contact Center Vendor Before Hiring ThemOctober 13, 2016 5:00 AM
Five Ways A Consultant Can Help Fix Your Contact CenterSeptember 9, 2016 5:00 AM
How Does Your Contact Center Vendor Measure Up?August 17, 2016 5:00 AM
Interpersonal Skills Training for Contact Center RepresentativesJuly 27, 2016 5:00 AM

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