Six Ways Call Centers May Change in 2014

retail-technology-cloudCustomers’ needs are constantly changing, and call centers are no longer simply “service centers.” Call center agents need to be prepared for multi-layered interactions with customers, potential customers, the media and everyone in between. While we can’t predict the future per se, we can predict where call centers are heading in 2014 and best methods to adapt to changing technologies and customer behaviors.

1. Heads in the Cloud

Just like the clouds in the atmosphere above us, “the cloud” seems endless and pervasive. In fact, statistics show that call centers continue to become more cloud-centric as time goes on. The initial security risks posed are becoming less and less relevant.  Rather the cloud is looking “safer than on-premise systems” because investors won’t have it any other way, according to Matthew Lautz of Wired Innovation Insights. The cloud opens up a whole host of other options for your call center, but we’ll get into some of the other changes below.

2. Big Data, Big Service

The goal of the call center is shifting toward improving an individualized customer experience. While it may sound taxing, it’s becoming more and more important for customer retention. But in reality, the amount and types of data at your disposal makes this process easier than ever. For this reason, call centers are shifting toward predictive analytics. It’s more personalized with much less hassle and more efficient call routing. This adaptation is particularly important for credit unions and requires the know-how and proper use of metrics in order to garner brand loyalty and satisfy members as best you can.

3. Operation: Unified

Unified operations systems are becoming more and more common in call centers everywhere. The integration of call center solutions and operations solutions is a major step toward cutting out time and sidestepping many technical difficulties in your call center. Consumer’s needs are more immediate, and technology is only feeding this rapidity. From combined reporting to pop-up data on customers, the integration of system operations offer opportunities for agents to track behaviors while attending to customer needs.

4. See What Your Competition’s Up To

One popular advertising tool is proving better than ever at seeing you and your competition through the customer’s eyes: social media. An anonymous review can make or break a customer’s decision to go with your company. Using the information the customers themselves put forth can offer you a serious competitive edge in the next year. Be online and be aware!

5. Ditching the Desk Phone

mirialBetween mobile phones and voice-over-IP services like Facetime and Skype, landlines are fast becoming a thing of the past. Call centers are making the switch to softphones as well as using mobile phones to reduce costs. (Call center agents more than likely own mobile phones of their own). It’s also proving more convenient because employees can just as easily work from home to increase agent availability. Many customers are making the switch, too, to shop, search, and make requests from their homes.

6. Everyone’s Excellent Experience

I’ve mentioned a few times that experience-based solutions are the new way to go, but that goes for customers and employees. Your representatives need to feel like they’re in an empowered, not an efficient, environment.  With the right incentives and team culture, which has always been our philosophy at Robert C. Davis and Associates, your employee performance can excel and their experiences will be apparent in the improvement. Customers are also putting experience over efficiency in 2014. Customer service is seeing a shift away from the “4 P’s” (product, place, price and promotion) and toward doing whatever you can to improve customer experience, especially since reviews are becoming their own incentives or deterrents for businesses.

My executive team’s experience and process can make these changes as smoothly as possible for your call center. We base our entire training system on changing the call center culture to accommodate the experiential-based metrics ever growing importance. Don’t get left behind! Contact us today for a free strategy session.