We will see an ongoing march towards self-service – Back in 2011, analyst Gartner predicted that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human. We have no reason to disbelief this projection. It’s clearly the direction of travel. Yet, we would estimate that currently about 85% of customer interactions are still run through the contact centre or through traditional communications means. There is a profound shift in approach taking place, which we foresee gathering pace throughout 2017 and is likely to continue accelerating over the next decade or so.
Real Time Speech Analytics will come of age – Today, speech analytics is perhaps most closely associated with voice recognition and its use in verifying ID within the financial services sector. Yet, it’s worth remembering that speech recognition is an enabler for more complex speech analytics solutions across all business sector. Over the next year, we expect to see real time speech analytics, in particular, increasingly used for applications such as the self- training of agents; ensuring compliance through close monitoring of scripted calls and measuring the emotional content of calls to drive customer satisfaction.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be more important – Robotic technology is already driving many contact centre applications from auto agents to text-reading machines and that capability is increasingly freeing human agents to concentrate on complex interactions with high-value customers. AI will be playing an even more important role by the end of 2017. It’s being fuelled by twin drivers: the vast processing power most organisations have at their disposal today; and the corresponding data management and analytics capability the average consumer now has in their pocket in the shape of their smartphone and other mobile gadgets.
Social to become an ever-more powerful driver of customer engagement – With estimates indicating that more than two-thirds of internet users have active social media accounts, no customer-facing business can afford to ignore social. Traditionally businesses have focused on interaction through popular channels like Facebook and Twitter. Through 2017, however, we increasingly expect to see savvy organisations leveraging social forums and empowering customers to support and help other customers. These businesses are tapping into a huge knowledge base, effectively a free resource, capable of providing faster, more accurate support and advice to end-users than anything the business could deliver alone.