As we move into 2022, contact centers are facing unique challenges that include both tactical and strategic decision making. The tactical decisions pertain to specific needs or technology applications, such as how many agents to hire or what use cases your chatbots will be built around. Contact center leaders must also be thinking about strategic decisions, such as how the contact center is going to evolve or what CX will need to look like in 2022.
These strategic decisions will be driven by two meta-trends that impact all facets of the contact center, including your tactical decisions – digital transformation and artificial intelligence (AI). While these trends are inter-related – and are occurring across the organization, not just in the contact center – they should be considered separately when formulating your strategic plans. This post will focus on digital transformation.
Your digital transformation strategy should focus on ongoing change and the transformational shift from analog to digital. Legacy, premise-based contact centers have many analog elements, and while they still serve their intended purpose well, they cannot fully adapt to the way contact centers will need to operate in 2022.
The same goes for being able to provide the kinds of experiences and interactions your customers are expecting today. Addressing these gaps may seem highly disruptive for legacy-based contact centers, and you will need some degree of digital transformation to get there. That said, the path forward will be more manageable with a strategic approach to digital transformation. Here are two factors to consider.
Digital transformation will be an ongoing part of your long-term strategy.
Regardless of how far you are on the digital path, your digital transformation will not be complete in 2022. This will be an ongoing process to digitize analog operations and adopt new digital capabilities. There is a lot of promising innovation in this space and all of it is digital.
This isn’t to say you need to make a wholesale switch to digital. Digital technologies are more flexible and adaptable than analog technologies, making new integrations and configurations easier. These capabilities help lower the barrier to adopting new technology, allowing contact center leaders to think of digital technology as enhancements rather than replacements for what’s already in place.
As such, your digital transformation strategy should be viewed as asset protection, where you can continue deriving value from analog solutions and go digital at your own pace, much like you can do with cloud migration. This does not have to be a rip-and-replace scenario where you must go all-in with digital to realize the benefits. No matter how far or fast you move with digital transformation, it is really never finished so the strategy needs to shift from the fixed-life model for premise-based equipment to one where the evolution of digital technologies is ongoing.
Think about CX becoming digital CX.
The state of CX in 2022 is no different than what goes on inside your contact center operations in terms of becoming digital. Digital natives, especially Gen Z, are now a major economic force and, for them, CX needs to be digital CX. According to a report from Oxford Economics for Snap Inc., Gen Z will play a huge role in the labour and economic markets in the coming decades, accounting for 11% of household spending across Australia, France, Germany, The Netherlands, the UK and the US.
Part of your digital transformation strategy should include understanding what constitutes “digital” CX, and how contact centers must adapt, not just to provide digital CX now but to enhance it for the future. Nobody knows what comes next, but CX will certainly evolve, and you’ll need digital operations to keep pace. The strategy should not be about trying to fully define digital CX, but to understand the basic drivers and build out your contact center to support that.
For your customers, digital CX will mean using digital channels to engage with agents and do business with your company. They will prefer messaging to voice, mobility to fixed lines, synchronous to asynchronous, always-on to being on-demand, virtual to in-person, and even bots to humans. As the world becomes more digitized, more variations like this will emerge. For 2022, digital CX remains a work in progress and contact centers still have time to catch up.
Contact centers will also have to keep in mind that personalization is another aspect of digital CX, and every customer will have their own mix of preferences for digital engagement. No contact center can catalog all these preferences with analog tools but with a core set of digital capabilities, agents can at least provide a consistent experience for all customers. As noted earlier, digital transformation is an ongoing process – both for customers and contact centers – and to provide digital CX, you’ll need to start with a basic set of digital tools.
Learn more about Upstream Works’ digital solutions here.
Guest post written by Upstream Works. To learn more about this and other critical CX topics, register for Execs In The Know’s Customer Response Summit Clearwater .