Trends Worthy of Your Attention in 2016

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With the beginning of a new year fast approaching, your organization may be deciding where to focus its energy on emerging industry trends. As a starting point, we know from recent industry analyst research that a new market called “Customer Engagement Optimization” is emerging.

Essentially, this market represents the convergence of workforce optimization (WFO) and engagement management (EM).

In a just-published research note from Forrester, their data shows that “customer service technology investments are one of the top five most focused-on investments that companies are making.” Another new piece of recently published research from Gartner (Customer Engagement Center Workforce Optimization) states that: “By the end of 2018, 70% of organizations with over 300 customer engagement center agents will take an integrated approach to workforce optimization with their next round of technology investments, whether on-premises or in the cloud.”

These research notes point toward continued growth and investment in these core markets of WFO and EM—and also begin to foreshadow the emergence of CEO.

Yet what about underlying trends in these markets? Here are some trends that—no matter what industry you’re in—are ready to make an impact sooner rather than later on how you engage with your customers.

Digital disruption intensifies the focus on personalization

No doubt you know that digital technologies have empowered today’s consumers in unprecedented ways—totally disrupting customer service methodologies that have been in place since the call center entered the scene some 40 years ago.

Because technology will continue to evolve and carry customer expectations right along with it, digital disruption will only intensify in 2016. And, there’s more at stake than being able to conduct sales and service over multiple channels.

The rules of customer engagement are changing quickly, and the challenge will be creating service environments in which the customer interactions you deliver are more engaging, relevant, personalized and targeted than your competitors.

Expect self-service, online communities, and social customer service to gain strength as preferred pathways for customer service. The goal will be making it easier for customers—and the employees who support them—to get things done efficiently and painlessly.

This means balancing service and personalization. The latest research we conducted showed that people were suspicious about the use of their data. While customers want information to get things done quickly, they don’t want to trade off effort for risk. Also, in the world where everything is connected (the Internet of Things), security and privacy are going to have to be part of the fabric of everything we do. Innovations in security, such as biometrics, will help deliver this balance in 2016.

Engaging customers and providing them with rich and satisfying experiences means being able to deliver personalized service using the context of that customer’s interactions with your organization.

If you’re looking for the Next Big Thing, look for customer engagement optimization to play the role—enriching customer interactions, improving business processes, and optimizing the workforce.

No doubt other trends will rise in importance in 2016. However, these have already proven they are going to be major players.

 

 

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