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Where is the call center and call center technology going next year?

Consumers today expect and demand efficient, timely customer service. They want to be able to control their own narrative, use their preferred channel of choice, and if necessary, speak to a live agent who will understand them, know their history with the brand and be able to find a solution to their service query.
Let’s take a look at the top call center trends to watch in 2023.

Conversational AI Continues to Evolve

The conversational AI applications that brands have available today are a far cry from the simple chatbots and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems of the past. Steve Kezirian, CEO of Waterfield Tech, a contact center solution provider, told CMSWire that the adoption curve for conversational AI will accelerate in the year ahead as end users increasingly expect — and demand — this more human type of interaction with the businesses that serve them.

Today’s conversational AI has evolved to the point where customers are more comfortable using it, especially if it offers to solve their problems without having to speak with a live agent. “Think about conversational AI versus interactive voice response (IVR). Conversational AI is like an iPhone, with the myriad of functions it can provide. IVR is an outdated cell phone. Yes, it can make a call, but it’s otherwise limited.”

Kezirian believes that because of the experience many of us are having in our homes with digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, conversational AI will soon be table stakes for a company’s contact center. “It will allow for greater levels of customer self-service,” said Kezirian. “And in addition to providing a better experience for an organization’s customers, conversational AI can deliver richer and more relevant customer insights than what companies get today from other contact center technologies — helping to drive costs out of the business.”

Related Article: What Is a Call Center? A Detailed Guide

The Call Center Becomes Omnichannel

The customer experience is omnichannel, and customers expect to be able to use their preferred medium to interact with a brand, whether they are purchasing products, browsing a catalog, researching a product or contacting customer service. For the call center to be omnichannel, customer support data must be accessible to agents across all of a brand’s channels.

“When most people think about a digital contact center experience, they immediately think about replacing the phone,” said Kezirian. “That’s part of it, but what it really entails is the introduction of omnichannel customer engagement, helping to drive a consistent experience for a consumer regardless of channel.” Kezirian explained that the modern contact center often consists of a combination of phone, email and chat — but the value is in how a brand brings it all together to meet the customer where they want to be met across different channels. In this way, Kezirian believes that they “have that impact on the way an organization engages in other channels or in upstream marketing to create more effective communication.”

“We predict creating this omnichannel customer experience will increasingly be top of mind for decision-makers, all the way up to boards of directors asking their senior executives what they’re doing to drive it in their organizations,” said Kezirian, who suggested that although digital transformation was initially about getting rid of voice costs, now it has become a fundamental expectation as organizations are under the gun to be more competitive and meet the needs of their customers.

Chris Mina, head of Cybersecurity as a Service (CCaaS) products at Vonage, a cloud-based VOIP services provider, told CMSWire that customer experience teams have the incredibly difficult responsibility of keeping up with the pace of innovation that consumers demand — driven by new technologies and channels from device manufacturers, social media vendors and a vast array of consumer-based communication solutions and applications.

Like Kezirian, Mina reiterated that businesses that strive to offer great customer experiences have recognized they must meet their customers wherever they are, across all devices, channels and even locations and times.

 

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