Technological advancements are continuing to shape and improve the contact centre set-up, but how will tech evolution impact the role of agents in the coming years? In this article, we explore four key shifts the future could have in store for contact centre agents.
From contact centres to experience centres
We’re seeing signs of this already, but the role contact centres and agents play will continue to evolve as teams move towards a more “experience centre” approach. The aim will be to manage the reputation – and in turn success – of a company, as well as day-to-day customer communications and transactions.
In a world where reviews can make or break a business’ brand, agents will take on a ‘bigger picture’ role, where specialists will increasingly be tasked with ensuring customers have a flawless experience with a brand, and a company goes ‘above and beyond’ where appropriate.
We’ll always need a human touch
While AI innovations are revolutionising contact centre functionality through automation, the question has been raised as to whether in the long term it will render the human touch obsolete. However, this is unlikely to be the case. When it comes to customer service, often all a customer wants is to engage with another human – one that understands their needs, frustrations, and appropriate solutions.
In the near future, we’d expect AI automation to continue to bolster efficiencies by removing time-consuming manual tasks for agents and improving the management of transactional inbound exchanges that can be solved quickly. However, the knowledge, empathy, and problem-solving skills that agents can offer in sales and support will never be replaced.
In Deloitte’s 2021 global contact centre study, 32% of respondents reported running cloud contact centres at the end of 2020, with the figure expected to increase to 75% by 2023. With these numbers in mind, in years to come, it’s likely agents will expect full-time home working – or at least hybrid – to be the norm. Alongside this, we’d expect to see input and agent ownership over shift organisation within their contact centre roles, with the industry becoming a truly flexible landscape for employment options.
Cloud-based customer experience software will be essential in enabling this, as well as workforce optimisation tech and tactics to ensure the appropriately skilled team members are always available to support customers, at any time of the day.
Increased motivation through gamification
Gamification in contact centres is already in high demand, as agents and team leaders alike can see the benefits in terms of team motivation and performance. However, in the future, it’s likely agents will want gamification elements tied into all aspects of the job.
It not only encourages staff to perform to their best ability, but also makes what can sometimes be mundane and repetitive actions more exciting and invigorating. For example, AI could be used to create incentives when a team is falling behind goals, instantly launching a competition to hit a target AI has detected to boost morale.
Companies implementing the latest gamification tactics will likely see the highest quality of output from team members and achieve higher retention rates, making it a no-brainer for businesses in the next five years.
What’s clear is that tailored solutions are required for every company to fulfil individual customer engagement and interaction needs. Keeping up with tech evolution and trends can be a daunting task for any contact centre head. Nevertheless, there’s no better time to start improving set-ups than today.
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