Top 10 Call Center Trends for 2013

Posted by Omar Zaibak on January 16, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Top 10 Call Center Trends 2013The call center is going through an exciting and speedy transformation, quite unprecedented in its long history. Emerging technologies, changing consumer behaviors, and fierce competition present new challenges and exciting opportunities for managers.

Read the following call center trends that will help shape your support strategy in the coming year and beyond.

1. Cloud

Cloud-based infrastructure is the fastest growing area in the call center industry, which DMG predicts will almost double between 2013 and 2015.
The proportion of call centers seats in the cloud will reach 18% by this time, up from just 2.2% in 2008.

Initially, the recession drove financially-pressed companies to embrace the cloud because of quick deployment and great value. Now that the functional gap with premise-based solutions is narrowing, cloud-based infrastructure is not only a viable alternative to more call centers – but a more logical one.

Some of the leading vendors in this space include Fonolo, Interactive Intelligence, Five9, inContact, and Contactual. We expect to see more acquisitions in the coming years from companies looking to enter the cloud game or reduce the number of competitors in the space.

1st United Services Credit Union2.    Smartphones

Global smartphone shipments are expected to jump this year by 25% according to Digitimes Research, By 2015, IDC expects more US consumers will access the internet through smartphones than PC’s.

Smartphones’ potential to improve the call center experience, combined with their widespread adoption, resulted in a flurry of mobile customer service product releases in 2012:

Forrester reports that 68% of call center decision makers believe mobile integration is a high priority for the long-term success of their customer relationships. They predict this trend will grow the number and sophistication of mobile customer service vendors in 2013.

Gamification3.    Gamification

Gamification promises to make the workplace more fun by applying game design elements to business processes such as customer support, and it’s quickly gaining traction. Gartner predicts that over 70% of Global 2000 companies will have incorporated some form of gamification by 2014.

Vendors are creating gamification software for the call center, to make customer support more enjoyable for agents. Whether this trend will become mainstream is up for debate, but these pioneers are betting it will:

We expect the number of vendors and sophistication will increase in 2013, and more call centers to give gamification a try.

4.    Customer Feedback

When it comes to improving customer interaction, a whopping 38% of call center managers say that measuring results are one of their biggest challenges. Call centers are notorious for implementing many different technologies, which can make reporting difficult, convoluted and time consuming.

Managers want to tackle this challenge head on. Over 40% plan to upgrade their customer feedback surveys within two years, more than any other customer interaction upgrade.

As the customer experience becomes a top priority, timely and accurate feedback becomes an absolute requirement. According to Gartner, customer feedback surveys are “especially important for learning about end-user dissatisfaction before it gets escalated.”

5. Video Support

Video is making its way to the call center; thanks to the amount and detail of information it provides customers. In fact, 18% of managers plan to introduce or upgrade this emerging technology in the next two years.

The following companies have embraced video support, IKEA just recently, and are reaping the benefits:

  • IKEA – How To Assembly Videos
  • Verizon – Frequently Asked Questions Videos
  • iRobot – Videos Related to Roomba Vacuum Cleaners

We expect more call centers to introduce video into their support strategies to give their customers a better service experience.

6. Intelligent Call-Back

Call-back technology is finally getting the mainstream acceptance it deserves. In fact, 75% of consumers said they would be likely to use it according to a Forrester study, more than any other emerging call center technology.

It gives customers their time back by eliminating their need to wait on hold, which is one of the three biggest complaints in the call center. It is easy to see why it is becoming so popular, especially when 66% of people say that valuing their time was the most important thing a company can do for customer service.

7. Social Media

Social media has fundamentally disrupted the call center. When customers are frustrated with a phone support experience, 16% will share it on sites like Twitter, which can be disastrous to a company’s brand.

According to RightNow Technologies, “Contact centers can embrace social media to get closer to customers, spot trends, identify influencers, and create customer advocates.” Social media is possibly the biggest challenge in today’s call center, as it keeps evolving much faster than the pace of business.

Some aspects such as social monitoring are relatively easy to implement however, and provide organizations with a great way to measure the sentiment of their audience and identify problems as soon as they appear.

Want to read about all 10 trends? Download the full report below!