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Contact Centres trends in 2022 - the return of the customer relationship

Wed, September 29, 2021

Contact Centres trends in 2022 & the return of the customer relationship

For years, the end customer experience (CX) has been at the heart of companies striving to achieve customer journey excellence. Is it time though to make this redundant? Customer needs and expectations have moved on significantly during the pandemic. The customer journey will need to be different for 2022, and companies that don’t make the change could fall by the wayside.

This is not to say goodbye to customer experience, but rather hello again to customer relationship. Here are our top trends for contact centres in 2022.

1.Customer Service

There have been changes in consumer expectations from brands. People have been isolated and this has impacted what they need and want from companies. Companies are no longer just a place to buy from. Contact centres are extensions of a brand and create personal connections for customers who now often look to ensure a brand lines up with their values and beliefs before they purchase. They want the human connection.

2. Brands will start going back to basics

Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots and robotic process automation (RPA) are the current vogues, with everyone wanting a piece of these technologies. However, many organisations rushing to deploy the supposed latest and greatest tech frequently have poor customer relationship management systems or data management capability and don’t understand the customer journey or the desired customer service levels and outcomes.

Without these basic building blocks, AI, chatbots and RPA may add little benefit or indeed may damage the customer relationship. In contact centre trends in 2022, we expect to see many organisations returning to the basics to get the foundations right. Highly personalised relationships and a customer-first strategy should be at the heart of any great business.

3. The continued growth of natural language bots

Many organisations aren’t at this stage yet, but the use of natural language bots will continue to grow in 2022. Put simply allowing customers to use voice commands linking to machine learning to predict what they may want whilst also driving immeasurable value by programming bots to invoke API’s, will allow multiple and more complex issues to be resolved quickly.

4. Proactive service model

As part of creating a customer relationship, becoming proactive in engaging customers will be an essential ingredient for brand success. These initiatives need careful planning to ensure they bring you the results you need. Having a deep understanding of your customers, and their preferences will ensure that you create something that delivers for you.

For example, a train operating company may want to proactively contact a customer to update them of a service disruption rather than wait for the customer to make contact.

5. Enhanced Data management

This is not just because of GDPR and the potential fines associated with it, although these tend to focus attention, data management is becoming ever more critical to running a successful business. Data is one of the most important assets an organisation can possess and the better it’s used to predict customer behaviours and requirements, the better the customer service will be. Undoubtedly, we will see a greater focus on the importance of data within all organisations.

6. Brand values

Brands are already revisiting and reshaping their core values as the world has changed in the last two years. Requirements and expectations are different and are reflected in customer service trends for 2022. How people want to receive information and the type of information has changed in many cases. Ensure your brand is agile enough to adapt to the new world. For example, faster delivery, quicker responses and added value.

7. Voice of the Customer (VoC)

Although this may seem obvious, a good VoC programme will give you real-time insight into your customers’ experiences. As brands further invest in customer relationships, VoC will be increasingly central to strategy as it relays information on customer needs, expectations, understandings, and product improvement.

8. The Brand Promise

The brand promise will tie in closer with the end customer experience and ongoing customer relationship. Brand image has always been important to organisations, but it’s rarely been transferred to the CX. Authenticity and transparency will be key for the coming year, with consumers continuing to gravitate to brands with social and sustainability values for example. Next year, companies will start to combine brand image and promise with a more ‘joined-up’ approach derived from better CR practices.

9. Analytics will continue to be important

Contact centres are differentiated by many things, a key one being analytics. Understanding the customer and being able to predict future behaviours is key to growing the business. Many organisations only have basic insight from the contact centre. This will change as voice and text analytics become more widely adopted in 2022 as key measuring customer communication methods. At the other end of the scale, companies that have already adopted complex analytics functions will move more to machine learning and predictive analytics.

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The path is clear for these predictions to come true in 2022. It will be interesting to reflect on contact centre trends in 2023 to see what changes the industry makes.