Yes, I know how pointless it is to try and figure out what things will look like in the future. No one can predict the future because things are always changing in ways that we do not know or anticipate. No one has perfect vision and no one can have the awareness of the disparate ideas that are formulated everyday. With that disclaimer said, there are still a few things which I believe will be in the future of contact centers.

Automation, Multichannel, and AI Oh My!

To focus this discussion (yes I would like this to be a discussion because more eyes and brains are always better when addressing the limitless breadth of ideas the future holds) I am going to set forth a few of the key components of the contact center future:

  • Multichannel – Forget just working with voice, email, and chat. In the future contact centers will extend to social media, video, instant message, and other channels. In addition, communications won’t be siloed ans separate. One customer will create multiple communication tied with different channels and businesses will be able to track what they say on each, giving customers the best experience and agents complete information no matter where the contact point is.
  • Mobile – It’s no big secret the people are getting more mobile. Half of America owns a smartphone. Remote and home working is becoming more accepted. Trends like cloud computing, mobile technology, virtualization, and software-as-a-service are converging to take the traditional office into obsolescence. Mobile workers and a distributed office are coming closer to becoming a reality. Already there are some outsourced call center BPO’s that use home or remote workers as the bulk of their workforce.
  • Collaboration – With the development of many different technologies such as cloud, file-syncing, social media, and more, collaboration with more people over greater distances has become easier. The ability to share information, knowledge, and data has become much easier as the world migrates toward the cloud. Videoconferencing, instant messages, web-based presentations, and other technologies are enhancing communication to a near sitting-in-the-same-room experience. With all of these capabilities, collaboration and team-based problem solving should become much bigger parts of contact centers of the future.
  • Cloud – There isn’t much that needs to be said about the cloud. The tech world is moving into the cloud. Even the government, according to recent news, is migrating their data into a cloud model. More call centers are moving towards cloud-based on-demand software-as-a-service software solutions. These solutions promise the latest technologies, available anywhere, on a cost basis that scales with demand. What’s not to like? Granted cloud infrastructure is still being built out, but within several years cloud models may become so accepted and mainstream that they will become the expected rule.
  • M2M support – Automation is the big word in all business software fields. CRM and ERP are some of the big automation markets, but soon the line between vendors and clients will be blurred by machine-to-machine support. What do I mean by that? I’m imagining a future where computers intelligently communicate with each other to resolve problems, without any human intervention. Crashes, glitches, and errors will be proactively monitored by a vendor’s “AI client supervisor” which will talk to the client’s “AI for company software management” whenever any exceptions are noted. These two intelligent mechanisms will work out the solution within milliseconds, automatically adapting a solution without human employees or users ever knowing anything happened.

What do you think the future of the contact center will look like? Where will technological developments take place? How different (or similar) might the contact center of tomorrow look? Is your company beginning to implement any of the above? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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