What does 2018 have in store for contact centres?

04 January 2018 by Anita Matthews

Key trends for contact centres in 2018

Yes, it really is that time of year again! After the parties and fireworks, it looks like it’ll be another busy year for contact centres. Statistics show that social media use is expected to increase 125% over the next two years (Deloitte 2017 Global Contact Centre Survey). This means more customers will expect service on their favourite social platforms.

Social media channels are continually changing and evolving which means customer service teams need to be constantly on their toes to ensure they are reaching and responding to all customer enquiries.

75% of people now expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with brands – be it through social media, mobile, or even in person (Salesforce)

So if you’re considering social media as a customer service channel in your contact centre, here are a few key trends you need to be aware of:

#1. Increased focus on social customer satisfaction scores (CSaT)

CSAT and NPS scoring are tried and tested mechanisms for measuring customer experience on other channels such as email, voice and chat. Did you know you can now do this automatically via the Sentiment app Twitter integration?

Simply ask your customers how you did and they score your performance post interaction. Add these metrics to those you already benchmark from your engagement app (usually internal KPIs). This will give you valuable insight on why customers give the scores they do and will enable you to make informed decisions on how to make things better and keep doing what works well, or improve any areas that need attention.

#2. Instagram will become an increasingly important social platform for retailers

70.7% of businesses used Instagram in 2017 (nearly double those that used it in 2016) and nearly 80% of Instagram accounts follow at least one business.  Businesses can now use Stories Highlights to showcase stories on their account pages and increase user engagement.

This increased engagement means customers want the flexibility to contact businesses online for customer service enquiries and Instagram has made this a whole lot easier by rolling out a contact button as part of its new suite of business tools. Now, with the click of a button consumers can use prompts to connect via phone, text or email, or get directions to a physical store. The natural progression on this would be to take conversations to Direct Message to stay in channel.

Ensure your social customer service app has a unified social inbox to allow agents to engage and respond across all your social channels, keeping customer communications in the channel of their choice.

#3. AI and chatbots will push the customer service frontier

Despite recent leaps in the sophistication of AI it’s still not ready to replace human interaction for complex conversations.  It can however play a valuable part in helping businesses manage incoming messages and route them to the right team.  In this situation think of it more as a triage assistant, helping customer service teams sift through large volumes of incoming messages to get to those that require assistance and a personalised response.

This frees up agent time to enable them to have more productive one-to-one conversations with customers.  Chat bot technology can also be used to point customers to more self-service information and find the answers they need.

#4. Customers will demand service on social messaging apps

Many predict this is the future. People are increasingly using just one app, like Messenger, to connect and pick up threaded conversations in real time with the same agent when they need assistance.

Businesses without a strategy for social messaging apps risk being left behind and will miss out on unprecedented consumer reach. Activate predicts that within a couple of years, 3.6 billion people will have a messaging app installed. They are more popular than social networks and consumers increasingly want to connect with their favourite retailers via these apps. Conversations are private and one-to-one and online shoppers especially could see chat apps as a quicker, more convenient solution to waiting for web chat teams to get back to them.

Read our guide to social messaging apps for customer service.

#5. Data will drive the customer experience

Social data provides a huge range of useful information about customer behaviours and the decision-making process.

Brands that invest in technology to understand and overlay data from multiple customer contact points, beyond voice and text, and integrate this data with their CRM, will have powerful analytics to understand why consumers make the decisions they do.  With the right information to hand, agents can personalise the customer interaction, driving a speedy and efficient resolution.

A social customer service app like Sentiment provides detailed analytics to ensure you get the full picture about how your social programme is performing.

Here’s a few common metrics you’ll want to monitor.

  • Buzz volume - the number of inbound comments about your brand. This will help you gauge when your customers are most active to resource support. The metrics will also provide a baseline for you to benchmark other KPIs. Make sure you have a comprehensive monitoring strategy to listen to comments outside of official pages. You can only measure what you know about.
  • Response rates - the total number of customers you reply to in a specific timeframe. Don’t forget, the quality of response is important as being able to reply and automated replies to everyone will not cut it with your customers.
  • Response times - the average time it takes for your agents to respond / action a comment.
  • Completion time - the average time it takes an agent to complete an action.
  • First post resolution - the number of comments which are resolved on first contact. Tagging functionality in an engagement tool will help you keep track on these.
  • Flush rate - posts which do not require a response or action.
  • Sentiment conversion. Customers will often start off angry but effective engagement and resolution can turn a negative into a positive.

Try us for free to see how social media can be integrated to your contact centre to save you time and money.

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Tags: Social customer service in the contact centre, social trends