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Contact Center Modernization: 5 CX Trends for 2021

In my last article, I touched on how Millennial and Generation Z technology and communication preferences require customer service to move beyond omnichannel. And that’s just what we need to do to catch up to modern consumer behavior and expectations. Companies looking to truly differentiate and compete on experience must stay ahead of the curve — and the consumer.
With that in mind, here are five trends we’re seeing at UJET that will be shaping customer experience (CX) for years to come.
Embeddable Experiences
Whether through a phone call, text message, or an app, consumers are predominately connecting with brands today through their smartphones. As such, we’re seeing massive demand for embeddable experiences that blend channels and communication modes across digital and voice — and across marketing, sales, and support — for a more unified brand experience.
This, in turn, has contact center leaders increasingly asking about smartphone biometrics, real-time multimedia sharing, and modern authentication methods like face ID, thumbprint verification, and pattern recognition.
Embracing the Remote Consumer
One of the biggest global themes and challenges in 2020 was remote work, as the global pandemic forced businesses to accelerate the decentralization of workforces, including contact center admins, supervisors, and agents.
As businesses began to dust off and update their long-standing digital transformation requirements, they realized not only that CX was now at the heart of their strategy, but that the technology needed for their remote workers had long been the mainstream for their remote customers. Now, with this sudden refresh cycle, businesses are rapidly embracing the digital-first, mobile-centric consumer, and making significant investments to cater to their modern lifestyles.
CX to Drive Digital Maturity
Consumer behavior has always been ahead of, and thus the driving force for, business technology innovation. But while sales and marketing have had significant investments in R&D, the contact center has fallen far behind. That’s because while we all talk a lot about customer-centricity, we then go right on ahead prioritizing the needs of our agents, departments, and businesses. If we are going to be customer-centric, we must actually (finally) put the needs of our customers first.
The challenges of 2020 brought this realization to the forefront, and as a result, CX is getting substantial, hands-on focus and prioritization from enterprise executives.
We’re hearing “digital transformation” more than ever before — but what’s most telling is that the contact center and CX requirements are carrying much more weight and urgency relative to other areas of the business. Chief experience officers don’t just have a seat on the bus — they’re it, investing in technology that holistically modernizes experiences for customers and employees.
Data Privacy and Unification
Security and compliance are not new areas of focus for the contact center, but they have become extraordinarily more complex in a world of disparate technologies and data. This is in large part due to a battle between CRM and contact center vendors over which would provide the system of record.
The result of this battle is redundant data, excessive storage, fragmented reporting — and much greater complexity, effort, and risk associated with data management and security. But now global enterprises are overwhelmingly seeking to unify their customer data into a single source of truth — their CRM. By eliminating data redundancies, organizations can radically reduce the effort required to ensure data security and maintain much greater agility and elasticity to operationalize across borders.
Level-Setting AI Expectations
Artificial intelligence continues to evolve and will certainly improve customer interactions and outcomes over the years to come. The renewed focus on digital transformation and CX, however, has quickly deemphasized the sweeping mandates to use AI for cost-cutting, and replaced them with requirements for more practical automation and self-service options that can move the needle today.
While use of AI continues to grow, organizations are already switching focus to intelligent automation for operational efficiencies, CX, and more. Predictive routing, automated after-call work, and data-driven agent-assist functions are being rapidly requested and adopted and will only accelerate in 2021.
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