Tech analysts have announced their top technology trends to watch in 2022. So what are the biggest takeaways for contact centres and customer service teams?
Analysts say this year will be all about digital-first customer experiences, with virtual assistants and video exploding onto the CX scene. A few familiar technology trends will also be making a comeback…
Here are the five trends you need to know about right now.
1. Cloud technology
Cloud technology has played a critical role in helping businesses to stay open and operational over the past two years. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to send workers home in 2020 and continue operating throughout the lockdowns that followed. So why is cloud still a technology trend in 2022?
Because in the race to transition to homeworking, many businesses underwent a quick ‘lift and shift’ migration to the cloud. That means they simply picked up their legacy workflows and placed them in the cloud. However, as these workflows weren’t initially designed for the cloud, they’re now more difficult to maintain and don’t take full advantage of the benefits. As a result, Gartner predicts many companies will switch to using cloud-native platforms this year.
Around 71% of contact centres in the UK currently use cloud-based contact centre solutions, according to ContactBabel. Business continuity, improved scalability and increased functionality are the top reasons companies choose to make the switch . Cloud solutions are also much more flexible than on-premise solutions, enabling businesses to react to the latest technology trends quickly.
If cloud technology was the superhero of 2020, video was its sidekick. Video conferencing apps, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, enabled us to continue meeting with our colleagues and collaborating on projects while working from home. GP practices, schools and gyms were also able to continue delivering their services through video.
This year, however, video will explode onto the retail and banking scenes. In the UK, big-name brands Currys and NatWest are already using video to serve their customers remotely, combining the best elements of face-to-face and digital customer care. Gartner predicts we’ll see more of this as businesses start moving to “virtual-first, remote-first” business models and customer service this year.
Forrester also believes ‘human-centred technology‘ will be one of the biggest drivers of innovation in 2022. Here’s what Sharon Leaver, their SVP of Research had to say: “Where will innovation come from? People. Your people. Leading firms will use emerging technology to unlock the creativity of their employees and drive innovation that focuses on outcomes, not just financial results.”
3. Total Experience
Total Experience (TX) was pegged by Gartner as one of the top technology trends to watch in 2021. This year, it’s made the list again with Gartner predicting 60% of large enterprises will use it to transform their business models by 2026.
The goal of TX is simple – to provide an all-round exceptional experience to anyone who interacts with your brand, including customers, users and employees. It encourages companies to stop thinking about multi-experience (MX), user experience (UX), customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) as separate disciplines or silos, but instead as key elements of their total experience.
Incorporating TX into your customer service strategy can therefore help you design a 360-degree experience that empowers and motivates your agents, reduces effort for your IT teams, and improves your customer service. This is especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the wellbeing of your employees and their ability to work efficiently and effectively at home or in the office is paramount. You can read more about Total Experience in our breakout blog here.
Omnichannel customer service was a ‘nice-to-have’ for many years. But it’s absolutely business-critical today.
According to Forrester, 8 in 10 consumers will see the world as ‘all digital’ this year, as so much of our lives now revolve around digital technology. We work online, shop through apps, and socialise on social media — so businesses that do not offer digital services or support channels will struggle to retain customers this year.
At the same time, digital exclusion remains a major issue in the UK. Research by Lloyds Bank shows that nearly 9 million people still do not have access to the internet and/or lack the digital skills to get help online . So while digital literacy is improving, voice is still vitally important for supporting vulnerable customers . Omnichannel customer service ensures you can serve and support people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
5. Automation & AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to drive exciting innovation in customer service — and this year will be no different! Gartner predicts that ‘hyperautomation’, ‘autonomic systems’ and ‘AI engineering’ will be the words on everybody’s lips in 2022. In short, businesses will be looking to automate as many processes as reasonably possible to improve efficiency, the quality of their work, and increase agility.
In the customer service world, self-managing systems that can learn from their environments and modify their own algorithms, such as AI-powered virtual assistants, are predicted to boom in popularity. In retail especially, Frost & Sullivan sees a big future for digital assistants in helping brands to drive revenue through personalised digital shopping experiences. A survey of 1,000 UK consumers we conducted in July 2021, found 76% of shoppers now expect a personalised customer experience, connected across all channels .