It’s been two years (!) since the pandemic began, and customer service organizations have managed the impossible: moving thousands of agents home practically overnight and rapidly deploying new digital channels, all while supporting millions of COVID-19-stressed customers. Our world has changed, and customer expectations have changed with it. Customer service leaders must shake off decades of legacy thinking and take the opportunity to build resilient and lasting strategies for technology, data, and culture.
Forrester sees three trends shaping the customer service landscape in 2022:
- Future-proofing the technology stack. The tech theme for customer service in 2022 is all about flexibility, agility, and connection. Organizations are moving away from monolithic vendor suites and toward modular building blocks, allowing them to adapt to ever-changing customer needs. In response to the hybrid online-offline nature of our lives these days, brands have increased their focus on asynchronous messaging — especially on first-party channels like websites and mobile apps. Similarly, the convergence of unified communications and contact center solutions will continue to accelerate, collapsing the number of vendor touchpoints and enabling internal collaboration.
- Tapping into “dark” data to drive customer experience and employee experience initiatives. It’s time to bust down company silos and activate the data languishing in cross-departmental databases. The pandemic showed us that these silos are not as rigid as they once appeared, and we can get a lot more done through collaboration than disunion. Companies will unlock unstructured data to accelerate AI programs across the organization, with a significant increase in agent-facing use cases in the contact center. Gone are the days of bolt-on AI applications. Forward-thinking companies will infuse AI across the employee workflow, facilitating greater collaboration among humans and their machine counterparts.
- Building a human-centered contact center. Forrester has been banging this drum for a while now: Service delivered by human agents (not robots) is what drives positive customer outcomes. The pendulum is finally swinging back from hyper-automation to human-led conversation, but we’ve got some work to do. This year, organizations will embark on a journey to change the culture of their contact centers. To create the opportunity for human-led service excellence, companies must address agent burnout, advocate for agent career development, and transition from cost-centric KPIs to customer-centric KPIs.
Read more in our newest report on 2022’s customer service trends.
If you want to talk to us about these trends and how they will impact your business, get in touch at email@example.com, or reach out via inquiry.
Written with Senior Research Associate Hailey Colin