Contact center technology trends are mirroring general trends in the tech sector this year, as automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and an increased focus on improving the customer experience dominate in 2017. Aberdeen recently released its report on the top four contact center and customer experience trends of the year, building off broader technology advances that impact pretty much all industries and markets.
Aspect, a company that specializes in contact center technologies and customer experience, examined the four trends as they relate to planning and investment for the contact center of 2017. Machine learning and AI are impacting industries across the board, with the IoT, smart devices and autonomous cars grabbing headlines and garnering major investments. Machine learning and AI offer a number of benefits for the contact center, in that they enable close examination of data to glean valuable insights about customer demands and preferences.
Along those same lines, chatbots are growing in number and becoming smarter. As they become a common component of the contact center, their role is still being defined. Far from replacing their human counterparts, chatbots can be useful as a first step in customer interaction, able to answer a slew of common questions and troubleshoot routine issues. Chatbots are only as useful as the humans who program them, and also require human monitoring and intervention as needed, so they are designed to augment, rather than replace human contact center agents.
Conversational commerce is another growing technology trend in the contact center space, creating service-based relationships between businesses and customers instead of interaction-based ones. That means customers can select how they want to communicate with a business and when, generating a truly omni-channel customer interaction. This trend also builds off of chatbot usage, as bots can collect valuable information about customer preferences and easily refer back to it in future interactions.
And knowledge management is the fourth major technology trend in the contact center space, empowering agents with the tools and information they need to be successful, all available from a single location. One of the most frustrating experiences for customers and contact center agents alike is the need to log into different systems to complete a process or troubleshoot a problem. Knowledge management breaks down those siloes and streamlines data, leading to better and more productive customer experiences.
The bottom line when it comes to focus and investment in the contact center space is automation, efficiency, centralization and offering an improved, omni-channel customer experience. The above technology trends will aid contact centers in achieving those goals while also helping them remain competitive and cost effective.