As we near the end of 2023, it’s time to reflect on the predictions we made at the beginning of the year about the Contact Center industry. Did we hit the mark, or were we off course?
While it is hard to predict, some things never change in the contact center world. Companies are always looking to increase productivity while reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction. So how did we do? Let’s look at how we thought 2023 would shape up, and what our grade was.
Our prediction: The labor market would drive a shift towards both automation and outsourcing.
This prediction was for the most part spot on. Throughout 2023, we’ve seen a significant uptick in companies embracing both automation and outsourcing in the contact center. While some view those as separate strategies, for companies to drive true efficiency these need to be seen as complementary forces.
The blend of these approaches has been crucial in navigating the labor shortages, and indeed, enhancing customer satisfaction. Companies that adopted this hybrid model reported improvements in customer experience and agent retention, aligning with our insights.
While other conversations were more at the beginning of the process introducing them to the idea that they can work together. While we had ambitions that this would be a universal concept, we can’t say that it was a true trend within the industry. More of a seedling of an idea that will grow over time.
Our prediction: Companies would focus on extracting maximum value from their current contact center technologies.
Again, we had high hopes, and this is in the category of “you can’t win them all”. This year, many companies moved away from the frenzy of acquiring new technologies to optimizing what they already had. The focus shifted to unlocking built-in functionalities and leveraging analytics. The result? Better operational efficiencies and a more strategic approach to tech investment, precisely as we anticipated.
The industry is still largely pushing a “rip and replace” model of blowing up the previous system and replacing it with new technology. Which we do not agree with being the only option. However, with an influx of investment comes an influx of sales expectations on the large players’ sales force to acquire new customers.
The rush to technology during the pandemic caused many companies to buy bazookas when they needed a slingshot. Instead of working with companies like InflowCX to optimize those platforms, some were convinced to switch to another platform. While this is sometimes a viable option, it is often positioned as the only option.
Speaking with Austin Culp, Director of Sales for InflowCX he had this to add: “Working with customers to help them understand that we can help them optimize their current contact center platforms, or add in a few additional touchpoint solutions versus rip and replace is something we saw great success with. The time and financial savings have been very eye-opening for those customers, and we will continue to have those conversations into the new year.”
Our prediction: AI would become a more strategic and integrated part of contact center operations.
We want to point out this prediction was made months before anyone knew what ChatGPT was, so kudos to our team for this Nostradamus-like prophecy! This one hits a little differently for our team however as the narrative in the contact center versus what is happening in the contact center is worlds apart.
While the industry would have us think AI’s role in contact centers has evolved from a buzzword to a fundamental tool, it has also caused some paralysis by analysis. Start-ups and smaller companies are benefiting from automation, while larger companies are wondering where to start.
Companies have started to harness AI’s full potential, particularly in areas like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Virtual Agents. The proactive use of AI in anticipating customer needs has been a game-changer for those who have taken the first step.
The impression that “AI is everywhere” in the contact center has led leaders to feel not only FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) but FOMU (Fear of Messing UP). We will have a focus on this in the new year with a lot of guidance on what AI is and isn’t, where to start, and how to harness it.
Our commitment: To continue with our customer-centric approach.
We proudly upheld our promise! Our focus on understanding each business’s unique needs and goals has remained steadfast. This approach has strengthened our relationships with clients and industry partners alike.
In addition, we have added a few members to our growing family showcasing our commitment to our customers and to understanding their world. By adding innovative companies like NetFore, expanding our managed services offering, and listening to our customers, this trend will continue in 2024!
As we close the chapter on 2023, it’s easy to see why we love this industry and the customers we serve. The commitment to customer experience in the contact center is a never-ending quest, and we enjoy the journey to help contact centers get there.
What lies ahead in 2024? Stay tuned for our next set of predictions. In the meantime, if you have FOMU or FOMO, or just want to learn more about how we help, contact our team who is ready to tackle your goals, any time of the year!