Aberdeen Research: 3 Hot Contact Center Trends to Watch in 2015

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By now you've heard the buzzwords—gamification, omnichannel, WebRTC, and workflow optimization—but over the course of the next several months, those technologies and strategies are likely to evolve from pie-in-the-sky ideas to see real adoption in by contact centers.

Smart Customer Service sat down with Omer Minkara, research director, contact center and customer experience management, at Aberdeen Group, to gain insight into what to expect in 2015.

Smart Customer Service: There's been a lot of talk about gamification, that is, rewarding employees for a job well done based on productivity and sales. As more contact center vendors release gamification solutions, do you think this will stick, or is it a fad?

Omer Minkara: More end users are looking at gamification—looking is the key word—and I think with agent productivity and performance remaining as key objectives for many contact centers, there's greater interest in it now than several years ago. A lot of companies are talking about it, but implementation hasn't fully caught up yet.

Our research shows that companies that do incorporate gamification within the contact center workforce optimization activities enjoy more than gains in agent productivity. They retain more of their high-performing agents year-over-year as they are more likely to foster employee engagement in the contact center. These improvements are to the tune of 6.3 percent annual increase in agent retention rates, compared to 1.8 percent by companies that lack gamification within their contact center.

SCS: Omnichannel strategies and related technologies have been in the news—do you think that this will take off in 2015?

OM: A lot of companies are talking about omnichannel, but when it comes to practice, how many of them—end users—have an exemplary omnichannel infrastructure? I think 2015 will be the year where we'll hear more conversations on "how" to implement omnichannel, rather than "why," as the latter has been discussed extensively over the past two years.

It's no surprise that we expect companies to seek more guidance on how to implement omnichannel customer care programs successfully, rather than why. Customer interactions come in many different combinations. I might use a smartphone to interact with a business via its mobile application. I might also use my tablet to access the company's Web site. Omnichannel means that companies not only deliver a consistent message across all these touch points, but the look and feel customers have at each touch point remains similar. This is crucial as it helps companies maintain their brand awareness 

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