Enterprises worldwide are partnering with service providers to adapt contact center operations to new work modes and customer behaviors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new research report published today by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a global technology research and advisory firm.
The 2022 ISG Provider Lens™ Contact Center — Customer Experience Services global report finds the pandemic has increased demand for digital customer experience (CX), leading to significant growth in contact center services outsourcing. Companies are moving contact center operations to the cloud, adopting new technologies and making better use of data to remain competitive as requirements change.
"The online shift during the pandemic shook up how consumers engage with brands and how contact centers work," said Scott Furlong, partner and leader of ISG Global Business Services. "Once consumers experience and like a different engagement model, they are unlikely to want to go back. This creates new demands on the entire CX ecosystem."
Enterprises are taking a cloud-first approach for many reasons, including having the agility to respond to future crises, the report says. AI is playing a growing role in contact centers, especially in the form of bots for automated customer service. Analytics tools are transforming both employee and customer experience, making more knowledge available as customers talk with agents. Companies are even finding use cases for the metaverse, which ISG predicts will cause a major change in customer and employee experiences.
As more consumers reach out to enterprises digitally, companies are finding they need to engage with customers on a growing range of platforms, the report says. For example, while some generations still prefer voice calls, many younger consumers call out brands on social media and expect quick responses.
"Enterprises need to offer omnichannel experiences that follow customers from one channel to the next," said Jan Erik Aase, partner and global provider, ISG Provider Lens Research. "Service providers can help them turn social media into a platform for support and engagement, with analytics to gauge customer sentiment."
After being disrupted by the pandemic, contact center operating models have changed for good, ISG says. Providers are offering more flexible working conditions, including remote and hybrid work modes, contracting and gig work, to attract and retain talent in a tight labor market with high attrition. The new flexibility is expected to help contact centers scale operations up or down based on current needs and maintain business continuity in the event of disruptions.
The report also explores other global trends in contact center customer experience, including the rise in nearshore centers and the growing need for security measures with remote work.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
ISG supports private and public sector organizations to transform and optimize their operational environments through research, benchmarking, consulting and managed services, with a focus on information technology, business process transformation, program management services and enterprise resource planning
Published: Friday, October 21, 2022
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