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Thirty-nine percent of workers polled said they’d consider quitting if their employers didn’t allow for a work from home option.
July 20, 2022
8×8 has released a report outlining what the next decade or more will look like for contact centers. A major assessment of ” Contact Center Predictions for 2023 and Beyond” is that employee experience (EX) will dominate the decisions made by contact center leaders.
Janice Rapp is vice president of product marketing, contact center at 8×8.
“By 2023, employee experience will overtake customer experience, at least temporarily, as the leading ‘experience’ focus and investment,” Rapp said.
Why? The effects of the great resignation and the great reprioritization continue to influence contact centers. According to a recent Morning Consult survey, 39% of workers polled said they’d consider quitting if their employers didn’t allow for a work-from-home option. That figure was almost 50% for millennial and Gen Z workers surveyed. To keep workers happy, organizations must invest in the tools that engage employees and promote a culture of connectedness. The report also said that EX needs to be “backed by resilient and secure communication and intuitive, fully integrated, easy-to-use applications.”
To achieve this, the report’s authors suggest combining unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and contact center as a service (CCaaS) into one system for future operations. This can drive efficiencies for AI and machine learning; workflow automation will spread across multiple applications and use cases. Linking systems also means that agents do not talk at cross purposes.
As the report states, it’s “absurd” that employees should have separate communications platforms. This is especially the case when one considers the cost, time and IT resources needed to bridge the gap.
Beyond the prospect of combining UCaaS and CCaaS, other efficiencies will be implemented in the future. This is partially to address agent retention.
“Voice interactions may not be with a live human, but voice interactions (and authentication) will feel nothing but natural,” the report said.
And for the live agents on staff (who may take the form of gig-economy workers), customer data platforms and customer journeys will be visible to every employee across the organization. Contact center leaders will have more access to data to guide customers through their journey. Virtual agents will primarily walk customers through that experience. That said, human agents will address more complex questions or issues.
“To meet the full labor requirements using a more fractional workforce will require a higher number of workers,” the report said. These employees will work fewer hours per week, on average. Recruiting, training, coaching, scheduling and quality management will all go through a transformation. This will include a greater degree of automation and verifiable worker performance data.
Contact centers have shied away from using video with their remote employees because not every home environment should represent the company. The metaverse solves this issue by allowing agents to engage with customers in a virtual setting. This offers a sense of privacy for both employees and customers.
As accessibility to the metaverse increases and grows in popularity, it “creates extremely personalized, highly secure, immersive experiences.”
As for AI, there may be an even more nuanced approach to its application in contact centers. Customers seek personalization and AI, including machine learning and natural language processing, can do just that. It can customize each experience based on millions, or even billions, of past customer interactions, the report said. This is across a variety of verticals. By 2030, AI will drive verticalization in the contact center industry carrying customers on a personalized journey with every brand. Again, contact centers may utilize agents for more sophisticated problems.
Claudia Adrien is a reporter for Channel Futures where she covers breaking news. Prior to Informa, she wrote about biosecurity and infectious disease for a national publication. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and resides in Tampa.
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