2020 was a big year for contact centers. COVID-19 forced contact center agents to work from home, and the subsequent rise in e-commerce and entirely digital customer interactions served as a crucible for many needed innovations in the contact center industry. Many contact centers around the globe adopted cloud technology and digital solutions to enable at-home agents, and many non-contact center companies recognized the value of an elevated customer experience (CX) – and how subpar contact center and B2C communication capabilities can negatively impact CX.
What does 2021 have in store for contact centers and B2C communications? Below are some predictions from myself and Alok Kulkarni, CEO of Cyara, which address what we expect to see in the contact center world in 2021.
AI will not displace human beings
When you look at the use of AI in consumer-facing operations today, it’s mainly used in AI-supported chatbots and customer personalization features. If we look at how consumers have taken advantage of AI-supported features during the pandemic, we can see that they’re actually using them to resolve issues faster through human agents. Companies like Bank of America, which has a consumer-facing AI-powered chatbot named Erica, saw consumers using Erica to find the best course of engaging customer support teams. Rather than asking Erica questions to fix any issues directly, customers simply asked Erica how they should go about reaching out to the customer service team to rapidly resolve their problem with the appropriate human agent.
Agents are never going back to the office
Following the pandemic and re-opening of markets across the globe, contact center agents will permanently remain at-home or remote. Now that contact centers and agents have realized the advantages and have jumped through technology barriers with cloud-hosted solutions, they are just as productive as being in the office.
Rise of contact center agent onshoring
When workplaces began closing in Asia and Europe, many of the contracts for customer service communications were broken because agents could not execute their jobs outside of the contact center. Now that contact centers have begun cloud migrations to enable remote work during the pandemic, there will be no need to congregate all agents in one place for cheaper overseas real estate as well as access to onsite hardware and software. Because of this, we will see more and more companies engaging onshore agents for customer service to have a better control of their contact center agents’ availabilities, as well as to provide smoother customer experiences thanks to eliminating time zone or language barriers.
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A wave of litigation regarding at-home agent and consumer privacy is coming
As more contact centers migrate to the cloud and enable remote agents to execute their duties outside the controlled environment of the Contact Center, there is also increased risk regarding security and privacy protocols. In 2021, we will see at least one catastrophic security breach – either from a malicious bad actor or carelessness – that will cause a wave of new litigation regarding consumer privacy for at-home contact center agents.
Tech Giants Will Gobble Up Contact Center Companies
The major tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon will begin to acquire contact center technology companies as customer experience becomes the cornerstone of how businesses are run. Contact Center platforms are one of the most significant pieces of the enterprise software puzzle not controlled by the major players. Contact centers possess a treasure trove of consumer data and a rich understanding of customer needs and demands, since they are positioned as a window into a business’ interactions with customers. Large enterprises want to know who their customers are and exactly what they want. Identifying those details and serving their customers in an effective way is one of the biggest challenges posed to customer service departments today. This is also one of the most significant entry points for AI/ML to ‘get smarter’ as the billions of customer phone calls each year are an opportunity to exercise the AI. Pivotal place for the major software companies to play.
Video Is the Standard
Pre-COVID, people were generally averse to video communications, because they were concerned about their appearance on camera. This has been shown by Zoom studies, which examine where a person’s eyes tend to look when they are on a Zoom call. Spoiler alert: they look at themselves. Post-COVID, people have become accustomed to conducting work and social meetings over video and are less resistant to the idea of video communications becoming standard. Video was already becoming the standard in certain industries, such as car rental agencies, and some banking and financial institutions. COVID has made the public comfortable with video communications, and customers will begin to expect organizations to offer the medium of communication with which they are most comfortable.
Debut of Real-time Company Rankings
If customers are going to continue to make purchasing decisions primarily through digital channels, then the customer experience will be one of the key factors driving those decisions. While industry customer ratings such as NPS and CSAT exist, they only reflect the sentiments of customers who took the time to respond – customers who tend to be on one or another extreme end of the customer scale of satisfaction. In addition, these metrics do not provide information on CX performance in real-time. At best, NPS is essentially a trailing indicator of whether you are doing well serving your customers.
Currently, there is no objective way to accurately compare the customer experience of one company with that of its competitors in real-time. Independent CX benchmarking, by way of synthetic Net Promoter Scores (NPS) provided by an established third-party organization, will provide a universal rating system that consumers can use to evaluate the customer experience provided by competing companies. Unlike current NPS, synthetic NPS will be accurate in real-time.
The most challenging part of this initiative will be standardizing an agreed-upon CX rating system, and what aspects of the customer experience contribute to a company’s rating. However, technology solutions such as automated CX validation have made it possible for a third-party organization to efficiently gauge the customer experience capabilities of a company from the outside in. So, once standards are agreed upon, it will not be a logistical challenge to test and rate companies’ customer experiences.
Code is the new English
English is the must-know language to conduct business around the globe, although other languages like Mandarin are becoming equally important. Several hundred years ago, the lingua franca of the day was Latin. Soon, the must-know global language will be code.
Companies are beginning to apply DevOps and coding practices, such as continuous testing and analyzing production data to improve future product designs, to other business operations to identify how those processes can also be improved. The adoption of these practices across the enterprise, known as Business Ops (BizOps) will speed up the innovation process and offer significant improvements to customer personalization in contact centers. More and more organizations are requiring that C-suite-level leaders possess an understanding of coding and DevOps practices for this very reason. As more and more services and products become fully digital, companies will make the previously predicted shift towards leveraging their data to drive revenue. To do this, understanding coding and the flow of data between applications is vital.
Fail, Adapt, Succeed
While 2020 was a trying year, it’s critical for businesses to learn from the upsets of the past year and implement any necessary changes to their contact center strategy to avoid those upsets in the future. Only the companies that adopt solutions to ensure and validate positive CX, despite any unexpected events that can negatively impact brand image, will be able to continue effectively selling and marketing products to their customers.
Cyara Solutions is helping Fortune 500 companies around the world redefine their customer service through a better contact center experience. Cyara is a pioneer of next-generation premise and cloud-based solutions for simulating, testing and monitoring IVRs, voice biometrics, outbound dialers, voice callback and contact centers. Cyara performs automated load and functional testing and production monitoring of contact center infrastructure and application components, testing companies’ end-to-end contact center customer and agent experience in a repeatable, automated manner.
Published: Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.
Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.
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|2.)||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.
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Execute automated actions based on words spoken by your customer.
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Listen in on and highlight common patterns in order to execute triggers to initiate a new action or workflow, such as emailing a manager if the word “cancel” is spoken on a call. You can also set up to automatically redact content from a transcript, such as sensitive health information transmitted on a call.
Daisee builds technology that empowers people to solve problems by making interactions simple and smart so they can have a more significant impact, be more productive and be better at what they do. We believe incremental improvements carry huge potency and provide exponentially greater change for the better.
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Advanced speech recognition and natural language expertise that routes callers by simply asking ‘how can I help you?’. It allows customers to use their own words to ask for what they want and steers them to the right place.
Menus are eliminated altogether and contact centres can use a single inbound telephone number.
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InTone Suite - Emotion Detection via Voice Analysis
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|8.)||Voci Technologies Incorporated|
V-Blaze Speech to Text
Our GPU-accelerated, AI-based technology enables you to deliver greater insights to the contact center by transcribing audio into analyzable text.
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Voxjar is your one-stop-shop for driving better phone calls with your customers. We're a modern Conversation Analytics and Call Coaching Platform.
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All of these together provide the holistic, easy-to-use software that you need to manage a modern call team and create better con...