5 Top Trends in the Call Center Industry
August 23, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The call center industry is one full of dynamic and exciting change, with trends emerging on a consistent basis that create new challenges and exciting opportunities. And, while listing all of the trends in this industry would be difficult to do in a limited amount of space, focusing on the top five allows us to journey closer to the action and more thoroughly examine the results.
Social Media A recent Enterprise Apps Today report explored these trends, focusing first on the presence of social media in the call center. What was once an environment of calls, faxes and later e-mails has now evolved into one that includes completely open channels.
Customers have the opportunity to use social media platforms to influence brands, research products, reach out to the company and express opinions. As a result, agents are not only fielding calls, they must also monitor social media channels to connect directly with customers to extend the quality of experience.
As consumers become increasingly mobile, companies want to explore the latest innovations to reach out with relevant offers and opportunities for interaction on the go. Today’s call center must be able to serve the mobile customer and according to a BearingPoint survey, 44 percent of companies plan to allow CRM access through mobile devices. In fact, more customers demand the ability to interact with customer service via mobile devices to gain information, locate stores, receive value-added services, register products, and more.
Knowledge ManagementThe call center creates the perfect opportunity to gather information. At the same time, agents must be able to answer customer questions, regardless of the complexity. With knowledge management software in place within the call center, a central repository is available for housing institutional information, answering customer questions, customer service representative training and even tracking social media interactions.
The Move to Outbound
Traditionally speaking, the call center industry has largely been focused on answering inbound calls. In fact, available software solutions focused on channel management, monitoring and improving the performance of agents as the volume of incoming calls mounts. Today, proactive outbound communication campaigns are growing in popularity, whether to notify customers of bills due, changes in a bank balance, or a reminder for a scheduled event. By allowing customers to select their preferred method for receiving these updates, inbound call volume is reduced and customer satisfaction gets a comfortable boost.
SaaS Goes Mainstream
Forrester Research (News - Alert) suggests that SaaS is no longer an anomaly in the marketplace and the call center is increasingly adopting solutions beyond salesforce.com to improve performance, integrate key capabilities and ultimately save money. Key players have entered the SaaS (News - Alert) segment, extending robust solutions to smaller companies that couldn’t afford enterprise-grade solutions in the past. As a result, the smaller call center is better able to compete.
While we simply touched on call center trends, this area is one complete with changing excitement and consistent growth. As new opportunities continue to emerge, trends are likely to shift, creating both new challenges and excitement.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo