The Future of Call Centers: 14 Must-Know Statistics and Trends

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For the last ten years, business process outsourcing (BPO) companies have sprouted in many countries. In fact, it is one of the fastest-growing and popular industries, reaching revenues of up to billions of dollars.  The industry has created job opportunities for many developing countries, thereby contributing to their economies. 

Most of these countries where BPO companies thrive are in Asia, including India and the Philippines. Meanwhile, countries in Europe, the Americas, and even Africa became the new outsourcing destinations in 2020. 

Outsourcing is a business practice that subcontracts non-core business operations and activities to a third-party service provider. A BPO company offers specialized services to perform business activities for another organization. 

These services include human resources, accounting, market research, customer relations and support, data entry, payments, collections and recovery, surveys, tech support, software development, trading, sales and marketing, real estate, finance, and e-commerce, including merchant services and e-commerce customer services—all of which are non-critical but labor-intensive. 

It is the BPO company’s responsibility to provide their clients with business specializations through trained individuals and teams who can do tasks for them and cater to their particular needs.

One of the reasons why companies outsource certain services to BPO and call center companies is for their employees to handle more specialized tasks and save time. By outsourcing these tasks, managers of those organizations can focus on more important tasks and goals. 

However, many people confuse BPO companies with call centers, though they are not the same. A call center is one of the services that BPO companies provide to their clients. It is an organization that primarily focuses on interactions between a caller (usually already a client or a prospect) and the agent through telecommunications channels such as calls, emails, chats, and instant messaging. 

Many call center companies focus on telemarketing, customer service, technical support, and collections for large businesses. 

Industry Trends and Statistics for 2021

That being said, there have been a lot of advancements in the industry since it was first introduced.

New trends and innovations are expected in the coming year, backed by statistics based on the industry. These call center trends and statistics are important because they are based on research studies conducted by companies and organizations to monitor the continuous growth and evolution of the industry.

The future of the call center will rely on these trends and statistics. Let’s check each one of them.

Chatbots

A chatbot is a software application that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to conduct online chats or conversations in lieu of verbal exchanges. Customers can address their concerns to the brand through messaging apps, allowing call center agents to focus on other tasks or calls. 

A study conducted by CCW Digital, a global online community and research hub, shows that customer satisfaction would remain a crucial metric, adding that about 73% of organizations think that customer service should be on the quality scorecard. 

Additionally, Business Wire reports that around 63% of call center leaders believe that virtual assistants and chatbots make it easier for consumers to get issues resolved. 

CCW Digital also reported that over the next five years, chat and messaging bots are expected to increase in importance, based on 84% of businesses they surveyed, while 68% highlighted the rise of social media as part of call centers’ digital transition.

More Advanced Data Analytics

Today, the world is becoming more data-driven world. Data analytics refers to the analysis of raw data needed to make conclusions about specific information, such as consumer behaviors, find incoming trends, and the like. 

More and more call center companies are relying on analytics tools to shape the goals of their businesses, and this will likely continue in 2021. Before, metrics like first call resolution, average handling time, and agent idle time were at the epicenter of call center companies. By using data analytic tools, these metrics are turned into meaningful feedback that quickens decision-making. 

For the new year, data analytics will continue to make predictions and provide recommendations for businesses to reduce customer frustration and instead improve satisfaction. Data collected by HubSpot shows that 89% of agents agree that customers are more likely to share positive and negative experiences. 

By seeing what needs improvement, they can adjust their approach to yield better results. 

Non-Voice Commerce

Non-voice means support jobs that do not require direct interaction or voice. This could be in the form of chat support, email support, or messaging apps. BPOs use these to interact directly with their customers while facilitating product inquiries. 

Non-voice commerce is changing how people communicate with businesses by allowing them to chat, buy, send queries, and receive help from companies whenever they need it and wherever they may be. 

Social Media Presence

Most people are on social media nowadays. In 2018, the number of global mobile social media users was recorded at 3.3 billion. What’s more, social media platforms have become an inseparable part of a unified communication system. 

For businesses to compete in the market today, they need to establish a social media presence. This serves to communicate, meet consumer needs, build trust, and develop a direct relationship with the consumers. 

The 2017 Global State Customer Service by Microsoft reported that on average, 66% of consumers use three different communication channels to get in touch with customer service. 

This is supported by a study conducted by Salesforce, which shows that 76% of consumers will use multiple engagement channels, including social media, to get quick responses and consistent experiences. 

Additionally, they expect to get answers to their inquiries and complaints within the day. If they don’t receive the same experience, 73% of the respondents said they would likely change brands. 

By establishing their own social media pages and support teams, businesses can tap onto more customers and foster brand communities. Today, there are platforms readily available that provide access to different social media networks, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and even messaging apps like Viber and WeChat. 

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the delivery of different services through the internet, including servers, data storage, database, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence, instead of using a computer’s hard drive. The “cloud” pertains to the internet, and using cloud-based services is now becoming the norm. 

Rather than retrieving files and other relevant information from hard drives, using cloud-based platforms is easier, more accessible, and more convenient to use. What’s more, subscribing to cloud-based tools can also be done on a pay-per-use basis. Unfortunately, over 50% of call centers do not use cloud technology and will only be using it by the end of 2020.  

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the topic of conversations for many years, especially as technology continues to advance. 

AI is the simulation of human intelligence in machines programmed to think like humans or mimic their actions. Most of the machines with AI exhibit traits of a human mind, such as learning and problem-solving. 

In the BPO and call center industry, AI is fast becoming an integral part and is no longer a novelty. This is because AI helps streamline call center and BPO operations by segregating the information shared by the caller and presenting it to the agent promptly. 

In fact, AI-based software and tools help increase an agent’s productivity and improve most, if not all, business operations because the technology gives customers the consistency that they want from all brands. 

In 2017, a survey conducted by Deloitte, a multinational professional services network, shows that 56% of companies in the technology, media, and telecom industries are planning to invest in AI because this will play a considerable role in shaping the experiences of customers and their agents, but without necessarily replacing their agents. 

The Future of the Call Center Industry

Customer service is vital. It can make or break a business. As a result, many companies have placed providing excellent customer service as their top priority. With the digital age continually evolving, companies and organizations have the responsibility to adapt to the latest trends and technologies or risk being left behind. 

As an owner, it is up to you how you want to differentiate yourself from others and stand out. Going above and beyond to keep customers happy and satisfied has always been challenging, but even more so now, when bad reviews can quickly spread online. In fact, many customers are expecting to receive the same excellent customer service from all companies. 

To be regarded as a leader in the industry, one must keep up with new ways to meet their customers’ expectations and compete in today’s fast-paced market, especially as it will be more data-driven and predictive. 

These trends and tools are meant to engage and support customers whose service standards have risen while providing ways for call center agents to be more productive and efficient with broader sets of skills. We can expect these trends and innovations to continue making significant contributions in the industry. 

While the global economy is still struggling due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, BPO and call centers are still expected to provide top-notch services to survive 2020 and continue business in 2021. 

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