As social media continues to be a vital marketing channel, 2014 has been exceptionally influential because call center companies are taking into account the significance of customer satisfaction more than ever.
Surveys show that 59% of consumers are always ready to shift to a competitor to experience better customer service. In that same vein, 89% of customers have quit doing businesses with companies due to poor customer service. These critical factors have influenced the proliferation of new technologies and strategies that seek to improve the efficiency of call centers and the overall aspects related to customer care.
As we start to look forward to 2015, let’s first take a look back at a few of the top stories and strategies affecting the call center industry this year:
Quality and Performance Management
Compared to previous years, call center quality and performance has improved considerably thanks to enhanced performance management strategies. 31% of companies have been monitoring metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time, with most focusing on queue, service level, customer satisfaction, schedule adherence and first call resolution in that order.
Of these companies, only 8% receive their metrics in real time while 18% have to wait at least a couple of hours to access the data. The rest of the companies surveyed reported having to wait for at least four weeks to receive data on their respective agents and calls. To eliminate these delays, call centers have been adopting more efficient call center software that is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of metrics that are generated immediately.
Call centers have increasingly benefited from real-time feedback, with more than 66% of companies acknowledging the significance of real-time metrics.
In the past year, companies have embraced cloud-based call center technology for myriad reasons including flexibility, user friendliness, convenience, scalability, speed of deployment, built-in redundancy, increased uptime and unlimited storage capabilities. In addition, 57% have reported increased security as one of the primary benefits of cloud-based call centers.
In most organizations, cloud-based solutions have been integrated to include social media channels, mobile apps, and web chat, thus creating omni-channel customer care centers. These improved, streamlined operations are linked and facilitated by the cloud.
There’s been a shift in the workplace that’s seen many companies offer remote work options for employees. According to Customer Contact Strategies, the number of contact centers embracing this strategy has risen from 50% to 80% throughout this past year.
The National Association of Call Centers further suggests that more than 53% of companies in the United States have some percentage of their agents working remotely from their homes, and two thirds of those surveyed have been working on plans to increase this number.
This workplace trend has been largely influenced by cloud-based software that allows for the effective management and distribution of resources across remote stations. With state-of-the-art virtual call center software, you can now manage your agents and assign tasks remotely while still maintaining complete control over monitoring and coaching tasks.
Regarded as one of the fastest-growing call center tools, speech analytics is currently utilized by more than 24% of companies, predominantly finance, outsourcing and service organizations. Other sectors that have largely implemented the technology include retail, insurance and medicine.
The technology uses a comprehensive tool set to assess sentiment, talk/silence patterns and tone of voice to judge emotions and subsequently implement a predetermined set of actions. If implemented in your call center, it could largely influence call prioritization, task scheduling according to expertise and overall customer satisfaction.
Due to its efficacy in streamlining the call answering process, the technology has grown by 20% in 2014. With the current trend, more than 45% of call centers are projected to leverage it in the near future.
Along with phone calls, social media is considered one of the most popularly used contact channels, and 80% of social network users prefer Facebook when connecting with a business. As consumers become more inclined towards social sites, it’s become critical for call centers to integrate social media options into their service delivery options.
In the past year, the number of call centers that are finding ways to proactively connect with customers through social media has increased tremendously. Agents are now being trained to not only handle their calls diligently, but also extend those skills into social media when responding to customer requests.
Going by these trends, it’s safe to say that 2014 has been marked by myriad critical industry-shaping trends, and there’s no reason to believe that we’ll see these advancements in technology and commitment to integrated communications slowing down in the year to come.