Illustration by Eric Jackson

January was a month of looking ahead, so it’s no surprise that four of the Top 5 most-read posts in recent weeks were about trends, planning and predictions. Check out the links below to read more about the important trends that industry experts see impacting contact centers in the near future, as well as a quick-tip video revealing a common, everyday word that your agents may be using which has a negative impact on the customer experience.

A Look Ahead: 17 on ’17 (Part 1)
The last few years have brought constant change and evolution in customer expectations, technology, digital channels and how contact center leaders and solutions providers see the future of service delivery. Each year, we see new trends emerge across all areas of the business—some that become game-changers for the contact center industry, while others just seem to fade into the background. For our January 2017 feature, we asked 17 industry experts to share their thoughts on what to keep an eye on in the upcoming year.

The Year Ahead for Remote Working
During the course of the past decade, work at home for contact centers has evolved from an alternative staffing strategy to what is now a mature, proven, high returning core business model. Eighty percent (80%) of contact center organizations in the United States utilize home working today. Why? Results are compelling and consistent.

New Year’s Resolutions for Contact Center Managers
These seven New Year’s resolutions will give you a head start in making 2016 your best year ever! No. 1: I will remember that customer calls are not “call volume,” “talk time” or an “expense.” They are the reason for our existence. Customers pay our bills and keep us in business. When a customer calls, it is a good thing. It gives us a chance to help them, save them, right-size their account and increase their loyalty.

Looking Ahead to 2020
Top-tier contact centers prepare for the future. It is one of the key ingredients to their performance success. They will be the first to tell you that they are not always right, and can point to many instances where the future brought a surprise or two. But by considering all of the possibilities, they are rarely caught off guard—even when they are wrong. With the end of the decade now in sight, we thought this would be a good time to look ahead and identify three key trends related to people, process and technology that may impact our centers by 2020.

Quick Tip: One Word That Infuriates Customers (and You Use It Everyday)
Are your agents saying the right thing? If you are like most call center leaders, quality assurance requires a lot of your attention and time. How many times have you revamped your program in the last few years? Are your agents using the customer’s name, confirming their account number, repeating back the customers problem? It’s important to look for those words that they need to say to improve the customer experience, increase first call resolution, and diffuse an upset customer. And that’s not even considering the spectrum of the tone related elements of their customer interactions.