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Social Media, AI, and More! A Brief Look at the Contact Center of the Future

Technology is always changing, and it’s transforming faster today than ever before! Systems we use now will likely be outdated in just a few years (but, hopefully not!). So, what does that mean for the contact center of the future? What technologies will shape the way we provide customer service?

Here are some key trends and predictions:

Social Media Becomes a Contact Channel

In the past, it was enough for companies simply to have a presence on key social sites. As long as you had a page, and you occasionally posted a cat meme or shared a customer’s comment, you were building awareness. Now, customers are using social media more broadly, and they expect to have service-related conversations online.

That means there can be no more half-hearted social media scanning as a way of managing your online presence! Instead, your team should be overtly engaged — regularly monitoring the traffic on your social channels, so you can control or correct information, respond to specific questions or issues, and participate in the conversation.

Chatbots and AI Boost Efficiency

Chatbots and more complex artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming the way the contact center of the future functions. In doing so, they are improving the experience for both customers and agents.

Many call centers are already using automated chatbots to provide initial triage or to vet contacts. For instance, chatbots will collect the name and email of the customer, and then pass along that information to a live agent to handle the actual question.

In some specific cases (where answers are simple), chatbots can handle everything from the initial triage to the actual answer itself, and can help customers without there ever being an agent involved. Right now, this typically only happens when someone wants to know store hours, locations, or some other simple question. Usually, however, chatbots cannot handle the entire transaction from start to finish. This is particularly true for calls involving sales or complex support.

Combining chatbots with full-system integration gives agents the knowledge they need to further assist customers without missing a beat. Agents can be more efficient because they have instant access to the chatbot’s “conversation” with the customer and the preliminary information the chatbot gathered. That speeds call resolution and impresses customers — both of which are key goals for every call center.

Cloud-Based Technologies

Today, more and more call center technologies are becoming cloud-based. Legacy systems were expensive and slow, and it has always been difficult to integrate multiple channels in that environment. Now, cloud-based systems are designed to support multi- or omni-channel contacts within a single platform. As contact centers find themselves dealing with customers across an ever-growing number of channels, this single platform approach is crucial.

Adopting the latest technologies, like an integrated CRM, customized agent interface, and legacy technology integration software enables contact centers to provide the best possible customer service. And there is another benefit: Technology that makes the agent’s job easier and more effective just plain makes employees happier! In today’s environment, where hiring and retention are tough, taking steps to improve employee experience can be critical.

A Better Experience for Everyone

Nowadays, customers value a good experience almost as much as the product or service they're buying. From social media to chatbots and other innovative technologies, companies that hope to outshine the competition are putting the call center of the future into practice today.

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