In the last few years, call centers have experienced an awakening with pandemic-driven remote work models, increased demand for service, and rising awareness of the benefits of delivering a good customer experience. Companies are investing in their call centers to differentiate and personalize their brand and improve overall operational efficiency. And as with most things, all roads lead to technology.
What Is Call Center Technology?
Call center technology can refer to any tool that contact centers use to improve productivity, manage staff, deliver better service, or cut costs. Advanced call center technologies go way beyond handling incoming or outgoing calls. They can leverage software to offer customers conveniences like Interactive Voice Response (IVR), mobile functionality, and a range of self-service tools. They can also deliver efficiencies to call center staff like Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions that manage customer and business data. Management can benefit from strategic tools that help them analyze key metrics and performance indicators that allow the call center to continuously improve efficiency and cut costs.
5 Innovative Call Center Technologies in 2022
As 2022 gets underway, new technologies are emerging that are helping call centers boost their service levels while still keeping a firm eye on their bottom line to ensure business continuity in a challenging economic environment. Let’s look at some of the most dominant call center technologies making inroads in contact centers this year.
In today’s digital age, companies can get a 360⁰ view of customers by accumulating data from the various touchpoints that a customer may use to contact a company. This data can then be tapped to determine customer patterns or trends to better target their marketing offers and enhance their relationship with customers. Using AI-driven predictive analytics tools, companies can draw insights from end-to-end customer data to track, predict, and personalize the customer’s journey, with the ultimate goal of boosting brand loyalty.
Commitment to Social Networks
With 56.8% of the world’s population using social networks, call centers recognize that consumers view social media platforms as viable channels of customer service. With this in mind, forward-thinking brands are using social networks to demonstrate their excellent customer service skills. Whether it’s promoting two-way conversations, responding to complaints, or posting proactive notifications, enabling customers to reach you from where they are “at” has proven an effective use of technology as a business tool.
Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – a form of business process automation technology – can cut costs and bring greater efficiency by helping call centers manage their back-office operations and the large volumes of repetitive and rule-based processes. By streamlining the execution of simple, labor-intensive, and time-consuming procedures such as basic troubleshooting, billing, data entry, workforce management, and order fulfillment, RPA frees call center staff for higher value-add work.
According to Google, 27% of the global online population uses voice search on mobile. Consumers’ rising preference for voice has resulted in call centers focusing on making voice interactions more intuitive by combining voice and screen-based call center technologies. Technology will be used to analyze live audio streams, recorded voice files, social media engagements, emails, or chats, storing this customer data to personalize the CX. Traditional text-based chatbots will give way to smart bots powered by voice recognition, and predictive speech analytics will be increasingly utilized to identify customer service opportunities and deliver an improved experience.
Computer-Vision Powered Self Service
Image-oriented knowledge bases represent a massive conceptual change for call centers, eliminating the need for customers’ text-based input or the agents’ ability to understand the customer’s explanations. Computer Vision AI-powered bots can more easily understand the customer’s issue and provide customers with clear and accurate instructions for self-service, enabling them to fix the problem themselves. Using its massive repository of learned inputs of matching relevant issues with resolutions, AI-powered visual bots can optimize the entire customer self-service process from start to finish.
Customers want to feel acknowledged and understood, and more and more companies will be taking customer emotions into account in 2022 and beyond. Machine learning can be trained to recognize the embedded emotions in language and determine the customer’s mood. Analyzing these emotions can be used to understand a customer’s experience with a company product, new packaging, or interaction with a company representative and to uncover any weak links that cause negative customer reactions, with the ultimate goal of improving relationships with customers.
The Evolution of Call Center Technology
We’ve come a long way from the 1950s when groups of housewives worked from home selling baked goods over the phone to earn some extra pocket money. In the 1960s and 70s, more sophisticated dialing technology was developed, including the toll-free 800 number that necessitated a new position — the inbound call center agent. Fast forward to the 90s when the Internet began to play an integral role in transforming the call center into a contact center – mainly using email at the time.
Call centers are now the backbone of many businesses for customer support. Many offer omnichannel support, which means that customers can interact with businesses through a wide range of integrated call center technology channels, including email, SMS, chatbots, live chat, and multiple forms of social media. Yes, we’ve come a long way from the days of managing piles of index cards with phone numbers.
Where Are We Heading?
Today’s call centers are a core part of any organization’s customer service strategy. Businesses recognize that the most effective way to modernize and advance their capabilities is by investing in a wide range of call center technologies. Research indicates that 55% of support leaders plan to increase their spend on technologies in the coming year. Whether these call centers choose to invest in data analytics, social media presence, RPA, voice, computer vision, or emotion analytics, they are putting their best foot forward toward the digital transformation that will ultimately bring about success.
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