Top Customer Service Trends in 2014

Sabio, a customer service technology systems integrator, has highlighted its top 10 technology trends that it believes will drive best practice customer engagement in 2014.

Building on major industry shifts such as mobile, social, cloud and Big Data, Sabio emphasized the transformative role that technology needs to play in improving service performance levels as well as unlocking real operational savings within customer service operations.

Here are Sabio's top ten technology trends for 2014:

  • Mobile apps set to bypass traditional IVR processes - Today's smartphones and mobile apps give users the chance to bypass traditional IVR processes and start interactions straight away. 2014 will see mobile apps combine with services such as callback and web chat to make engagement even easier for customer.
  • Web-enabled omnichannel engagement – Consumers are more demanding than ever, using 'always-on' multiple digital channels to interact, connect, share and shop. Organizations that provide consumers with a seamless, omnichannel delivery will have an advantage in 2014.
  • Equipping agents to deliver social media support – While voice remains the primary touch point for many, organizations are increasingly relying on the contact center to manage other contact channels such as social media. The key to success here is making sure agents have the tools in place and the training to resolve issues quickly.
  • Putting Big Data to work –Today's contact centers generate essential Big Data feeds including ACD data, CRM systems, call & screen recordings, customer feedback, speech analytics outputs, and social media inputs to external databases. Technologies such as Web and speech analytics will unlock the value inherent in unstructured contact center data.
  • Virtual Agents – When it comes to successfully challenging contact centre demand, one innovation set to have an impact is the use of virtual, task-oriented assistants for enterprise. Unlike personal assistant technologies such as Apple's Siri, enterprise personal assistants can offer real domain expertise thanks to close knowledge base integration.
  • Optimized 'contact us' strategies – In 2014 more organizations will challenge demand levels by deploying embedded service solutions on their websites to streamline engagement. The goal is to pre-qualify queries – ideally resolving them with relevant information, removing the need for formal contact. Adopting such an approach requires a well-integrated customer contact infrastructure, but the benefits are significant in terms of challenging demand.
  • Seamless contact center security – Contact centers are often caught in the middle of the growing conflict between the compliance and customer service functions of a business. The application of innovative technologies – such as voice biometrics and speech analytics – can help achieve compliance goals while still delivering a level of seamless customer service.
  • Acting on customer feedback – Capturing customer feedback is great, but it's what you do with it that really distinguishes an organization. There are multiple ways of collecting feedback, however it's essential not just to collect scores but also capture customer comments to gain a sense of what customers actually think.
  • Knowledge Management – Effective knowledge management plays a critical role when it comes to addressing customer queries online – particularly when it's powered by near real-time knowledge base updates from the contact center. Look for more organizations taking this approach in 2014.
  • More effective call steering – Bad IVR systems can undo multiple productivity gains – often leading to increases in transfer rates of up to 10 percent. Anything to streamline the experience by applying intelligent routing to each stage of the process will contribute directly to an improved customer experience

"With digital now the default starting point for many consumers, it's essential for organizations to have a single, integrated view of customer engagement across multiple channels. However, the reality is that there's a growing gulf between customer expectations and service providers' ability to deliver," said Sabio founding director, Adam Faulkner, in a statement. "2014 needs to be the year that organizations actively close this gap, and they can start by taking advantage of the opportunities presented by our top ten technology trends."