Some 32% of organizations were running their contact centers with cloud technology at the end of 2020. And within the next two years, 75% more companies expect to make the move.
Whether your contact center intends to go back to the office or stay remote, the acceleration of digital transformation projects and jumps to cloud technology will continue. Modern tech makes virtual work easier – fundamentally changing how your business operates. And, it increases the value you can deliver to customers, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends to get ahead of the game.
I’ve gathered a few trends we’re seeing in cloud technology and digital transformation. Read through so you can advocate for the best of the best tech in your contact center.
Trend One: Stay Agile with Remote Workforce Management
In spite of the bumpy start to the pandemic where workers were forced home (without their desktop computers and hardwired phones), many contact center leaders successfully pivoted. According to Deloitte, 77% of service organizations are either adopting or accelerating their work-from-home programs. It’s time to look to the future. Lay down the foundation for better remote management in your contact center. Remote work has many benefits for your employees. And, it also benefits your company, allowing you to find and keep better talent at a lower cost.
But it’s nearly impossible to manage a virtual contact center without the right technology to support your team. Cloud technology is essential to a successful remote operation. As you and your IT team discuss what’s best for the future of your contact center, find technology that aligns with sticky trends.
Your action items for supporting better remote work:
- Invest in cloud technology that’s available anywhere at any time. If you haven’t already, it’s vital to have cloud technology that keeps your data safe and makes your customer information accessible anywhere with internet access at any time. Cloud contact center technology allows your team to route and deliver interactions to remote agents across any channel. Plus, with cloud technology, you can drive agent engagement, performance, and productivity no matter where your agents work.
- Find technology that restores team performance and productivity. Invest in platforms that make collaboration and customer management easy. With remote work, you can’t rely on a conference room with a white board to map out plans. You don’t have the ease of stopping by an agent’s desk to talk through an issue as you would in a shared office. So, find a platform that allows your employees to talk to each other, access customer information, and see important metrics all in one place. Better collaboration tools are the future.
- Look for technology with targeted coaching and personalized remote training. Working from home can feel isolating. Without frequent feedback and training, your agents can feel insecure about their performance. Your agents need to feel empowered to handle customer needs from their home office. Look for cloud technology that makes it possible for you to coach agents remotely so you can give frequent, focused feedback.
Trend Two: Prioritize Cybersecurity to Protect Your Data With Cloud Technology
In the early months of the pandemic, Chief Information Officers were left with a massive responsibility. How do you maintain the same level of data security and keep your customers and employees well supported virtually? McKinsey & Co. released a report that recognizes these challenges, giving CIOs an action plan to weather the COVID pandemic and anticipate future contact center needs.
As you can see, improving cybersecurity is near the top of priority lists. It’s right behind improving remote working capabilities. It’s vital that your cloud technology is secure. Over just the past year, major data dumps and ransomware attacks affected companies as big as Microsoft and Twitch, even preventing populations in the US from obtaining gas to travel. Be proactive about cybersecurity and use the following suggestions to get your team started with a more secure cloud technology solution.
Your action items for investing in secure cloud technology:
- Educate employees on cybersecurity risks. RiskIQ says businesses across the globe lose $17,700 every minute because of phishing attacks. Many of which target a company’s employees. Set clear security policies for existing and new employees. And with employees using home networks, be transparent about the need for these policies and why agents need to adhere to them. Explain to employees the gravity of security. Implement multi-factor authentication on all platforms, increase messaging regarding security, and open communication with your security team so employees know where to turn if security is breached.
- Work with your IT team to beef up key processes. As you improve security training and messaging, your employees need new processes for the added precautions. Work with your IT team to establish new processes for onboarding and helping employees as they adjust. For instance, create a process for the IT team to help remote employees install and set up new security tools.
Then, create a process for onboarding new employees. What technology will they need? What will they need to install to keep their information secure on their home computer? Or, will you give them equipment to use from home? Set clear policies and make them accessible so your team can stay secure from wherever they’re located.
Trend Three: Expanding AI and Automation for Better Workforce Management
With remote work increasing nationwide, it’s critical to maintain productivity without fueling burnout. Automation and AI are popping up in every conversation about cloud technology and digital transformation. In fact, 79% of contact center leaders plan to invest in greater AI capabilities in the next two years.[Watch Meagan Thai’s full episode of Unlocking Customer Service]
Customers want faster, personal, and more accessible help. Automation can help you deliver. It can help you maintain cybersecurity, support your remote workers, and engage your agents. What’s more? It helps you help your customers, too.
Automation has been used for years – it’s woven into your live chat, IVR, and in self-service tools. But as the industry shifts and customer needs grow, more companies are turning to automation. Yet, they also want to keep interactions between customers and the company feeling personal and human. It’s a tricky balance to use automation and maintain a personal customer experience.
Murph Krajewski, CMO at Sharpen, describes in Forbes how to find the balance between automation and empathy.
“When you get rid of the mundane tasks slowing your people down, you can help your customers faster (and more effectively). But over-automating isn’t the answer. When you hand off too many tasks to the bots, your employees may feel like they’re living in their own version of a science-fiction movie. It removes humanity from their roles and can make your team feel like an extension of a bot instead of making bots feel like an extension of your team.”
Murph Krajewski, CMO of Sharpen, for Forbes
For example, to listen to our friend Murph’s advice, consider a few areas where automation and AI can support your contact center moving forward.
Your action items for finding cloud technology with automation:
- Make your future more personal with cognitive technologies. Technologies like speech analytics and process automation offer a smoother customer experience that’s personal, faster, and intuitive. Even better, these tools make it possible for your employees to handle more complex issues and automate simpler customer requests, so you ward off burnout.
- Make sure your cloud technology platform lets you automate workflows. Your day is busy enough. When you add in all the little tasks it takes to properly run your contact center, like sending coaching reminders to agents, digging through call and chat transcripts, and data mining through reports, you’ll be working overtime every day. Use automation to relieve some stress. With tools like speech analytics, intuitive reporting, and triggered coaching messages, you can simplify your day-to-day work more efficiently. And, when you’re more efficient, your whole team serves your customers better.
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