It’s been more than a year since the CDC officially deemed COVID-19 a ‘pandemic.’ After a year of lockdowns, call center closures, and business disruption, our industry is at a crossroads. Brick-and-mortar contact centers may soon be reopening. Some consumer behavior may slowly return to the old “normal” as more things open up, but some things won’t ever be the same. The customer service industry, meanwhile, is forever changed and must adapt to prepare for the next major disruption.
A new report from Forrester, “The Three Customer Service Megatrends In 2021: Post-Pandemic Customer Service Excellence,” details three “megatrends” that the analyst firm believes will define the remainder of 2021 — and beyond. All of these trends have a common thread — more flexible, scalable approaches to customer service models are in progress.
The report also features an introduction on the importance and benefits of investing in alternative (human) labor models that are more flexible — and scalable. While many companies switched to a remote workforce model and/or invested in self-service tools, it’s only a start in building a resilient support model for the future.
To be truly resilient, companies need a scalable network of “on-the-go” highly-experienced agents. Because when times are tough, we still need knowledgeable and empathetic (human) experts to serve at the core of our customer service systems.
3 key takeaways for CX leaders
Highlights of the report include:
Digital channels and AI fuel customer service transformation
AI will have an important role in delivering improved customer service experiences — powering automation and self-service solutions, and also determining customer intent. Predictive routing systems will help determine the next best course of action for users, providing a better experience and taking the burden off of overwhelmed contact centers.
Smart tools help human agents build trusted relationships
AI-infused tools that help call center agents — and on-demand network experts — have become critical to optimizing the outcomes of these crucial human connections with customers.
Customer insights, collaborative workspaces, agent guidance, and desktop automation reduce the cognitive load on agents and allow them to build trusted customer relationships.
Customer service systems must become more resilient
As we’ve written about here at Directly, resilience is the new customer service imperative. The customer service industry is investing heavily in AI technology. To go along with it, we also need more flexible labor models. Decentralized contact centers that modernize to improve agility will lead, while those that struggle to meet the demands of the altered economy will fall further, if not entirely, behind.
Directly delivers world-class customer service for leading Fortune 500 brands. Captive and outsourced contact center models increasingly can’t keep up with customer service demands, while self-service is only effective at deflecting simple contacts. With Directly, we help you troubleshoot a wide range of technical issues using on-demand experts and best-in-class AI technology. Customers like Microsoft, Samsung, and Airbnb partner with Directly to reduce contact center volume up to 40%, boost CSAT up to 20%, and save millions per year. Contact us today to set up a demo.