It is that time of year: egg nog, vacations, holiday music in Starbucks—and predictions for the year ahead.
When it comes to contact centers, four trends stand out for Omer Minkara at the Aberdeen (News - Alert) Group, include the necessity of understanding the customer, agent productivity, cloud infrastructure, and customer service as the new marketing.
“Predictive analytics and real-time customer data capture and reporting are two key enablers helping businesses differentiate themselves in the ‘last-mile’ of customer analytics, and our research shows that we’ll see more businesses integrating these two core capabilities within their technology portfolio over the next 12 months,” according to Minkara in a post at the Aberdeen Group blog.
Having a complete understanding of the customer has always been a core data management competency for top contact centers, but predictive analytics and real-time reporting are usually considered “nice to have” capabilities for most companies.Only 18 percent of businesses surveyed in Minkara’s January, 2012 survey reported using predictive analytics. Another 28 percent indicated they would be deploying them in the next 12 months, but that still means only 46 percent of the industry is using them. This will start to change in 2013.
Using technology for increased agent productivity is another trend for the year ahead. Roughly 90 percent of survey participants indicated they would be tackling agent productivity, noted Minkara. “We’ll see more businesses looking to establish and nurture technology tools and business processes that help them accomplish this objective in 2013.”
For all the hype about how the cloud is changing the way business is done, it turns out that the cloud is, in fact, making a big impact. This will continue in the coming year. Roughly 34 percent of contact centers already use cloud-based infrastructure, reported Minkara in his blog post. “This is expected to increase to 63 percent over the next 12 months based on the adoption plans indicated by end-users participating in our study,” he added.
Finally, 2013 will be the year that customer service becomes the new marketing.
Much has been written about how social media allows customers to voice their pleasure or frustration with contact centers. But this year contact centers will start to pay attention as it becomes even more real. “We’ve heard it numerous times in 2012,” according to Minkara. “Right after a customer hangs up the phone, they can go on numerous social media portals to share their experience with a broad audience. In addition to amplifying the voice of the customer, this trend means that an unsuccessful customer interaction today has direct and huge impact on brand image and perceptions.”
So get some egg nog and don’t forget to check your company’s Twitter (News - Alert) account to hear what customers are saying about your agents.
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Edited by Peter Bernstein