Customer Service Predictions for 2019

It’s still January, which means we’re still sifting through articles all over the internet offering tips, strategies and predictions for the coming year.

While many seem to agree we are in the midst of a sea change in how customers will choose to engage with companies, there is little agreement on how quickly we’ll reach the point where today’s contact centers will no longer resemble the next iteration.

Here is another roundup of what may (or may not) be coming soon.

Is this the year that digital channels surpass the telephone?

While Gartner predicts that phone conversations will comprise just 12% of service interactions by 2022, the telephone has proven surprisingly resilient up until now. Younger customers are more inclined to go online as their first option, but not every issue can be handled that way. Still, every company should have some form of real-time digital customer channels in place by now.

Is self-service really service?

It should be – the more companies can provide answers to questions and allow basic transactions through a self-service channel, the more contact center agents can focus on the types of issues that require person-to-person communication. But if your self-service efforts fall short of expectations, you may lose those customers for good. Make sure what you’re doing is having the desired result.

The need for speed

Customers want their questions asked, orders taken and complaints addressed quickly. That means little to no time on hold, keeping the “please confirm your identity” questions to a minimum, and achieving a successful resolution without having to call back later. How is your contact center doing on KPIs such as average speed of answer and first-call resolution? Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots can also play a role in expediting some engagements, but the industry is still in the early-adopter stage for this technology. Gartner predicts that three years from now, just 15% of customer contacts will be handled by AI. Start kicking the tires on this is if you haven’t already, but now may not be the time to buy.

Merging channels

Webchat, social media and messaging will do what they can, but when it’s time to switch to a phone call, the companies that make this transition most efficiently will gain a competitive edge.

The cloud keeps growing

“More contact centers will move to the cloud” has been an industry prediction every year now for close to a decade. And it’s a prediction that always comes true, and will do so again in 2019.

Why is the cloud the right choice? Read our free whitepapers:

Cloud vs. Premise vs. Hosted: Differences, IT Costs and Benefits

The Convenience, Cost Savings And Customer Service Benefits of Cloud-based Workforce Management