The teleservices industry finds itself in the unique position of being buoyed rather than crippled by the global pandemic. A 2020 telecom industry report from Grand View Research estimated the worldwide value of the industry at $1.74 trillion, with expected annual growth of 5% between now and 2027.
The growth is largely driven by “escalating consumption of digital media” as well as a “shift in customer inclination towards cloud-based technology and mobile devices.” In layman’s terms, more people are spending more time on their smartphones.
The soaring demand for and increased adoption of digital consumption is good news for telecom service providers, but the ballooning growth also comes with its share of challenges: shrinking margins, sky-high customer expectations and an ever-increasing number of service channels, to name a few.
These obstacles mean telecom companies must place a greater emphasis on controlling costs while finding solutions that can scale with a growing and increasingly savvy customer base. Here are four of the biggest challenges facing teleservices providers in the year ahead and some suggestions for how firms can harness technology to alleviate the biggest pain points.
The Top Challenges in Teleservices for 2020
1. Demand for Fast, Personalized Customer Service
Modern customers crave immediacy, but COVID-19 has limited their ability to go to a physical branch and get an instant resolution when a service need arises. This has pushed more and more customers to phone and digital channels for customer service, which creates higher volumes and longer wait times. These, in turn, lead to frustration.
The pandemic isn’t the only force driving the increased demand for on-the-spot technical support. Even before the rise of COVID-19, customers displayed a growing call for personalized, omnichannel service. When there’s an issue, they want it solved in a single interaction rather than being passed off between multiple agents.
Telecom providers can respond to these increasing demands by employing an omnichannel service solution that meets customers on their platform of choice in real time, be it voice, SMS, email or chat. Intelligent call routing directs inquiries straight to the most qualified agent, while instant access to the customer’s profile and full history of support tickets saves time and allows for more personalized customer experiences. Employing a convenient callback request feature allows customers to skip the hassle of waiting on hold, instead receiving a return call in the order their inquiry was received.
2. The Move to Remote Work
Contact centers are, by nature, busy places. Space must be optimized to accommodate a sufficient number of agents, while round-the-clock service means there’s little downtime for deep cleaning.
Though perfectly acceptable in pre-COVID times, this kind of work environment is far from passing muster with current social distancing guidelines, and adding the proper safety precautions like plexiglass barriers and spaced-out workstations is costly. Telecommunications providers can reduce overhead costs while keeping agents safe by switching to a remote or onsite-remote hybrid model.
With cloud call center software, it’s easy to implement a work-from-home-friendly agent desktop that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Automatic call and screen recording capture all interactions for quality control, while PCI-DSS and SOC II certified systems keep data secure.
3. Customer Preference for Automated Options
Consumers’ preference for instant service doesn’t only apply to actual agents; they also want convenient self-service options, especially for issues where it doesn’t make sense to invest a lot of time waiting to talk to a human. More than six in ten consumers say self-service tools like live chat or voice response are their platforms of choice for simple inquiries, like questions about billing or switching to a new service package.
The good news is, this consumer demand dovetails nicely with the organizational need to control costs, and automation solves both challenges. Less costly than live agents, automated service channels like interactive voice response (IVR) and webchat can be a valuable tool for fielding low-level inquiries while routing more urgent matters to human representatives.
Thanks to artificial intelligence and speech analytics, virtual agents can handle increasingly complex issues and get smarter over time, boosting customer satisfaction while increasing your operational efficiency.
4. Costs of Evolving Technology
The telecommunications industry relies heavily on a network of infrastructure–miles of cable, physical servers, wireless networks, regional service hubs and more–all of which comes with an enormous price tag to update. Traditionally, these costs are passed onto the consumer, but today’s price-shopping customer doesn’t stand for unnecessary fees.
A platform-as-a-service telecom solution eliminates the need for pricey ongoing maintenance and complex integrations, with new features spanning across channels, CRM and WFO systems. Shifting to the cloud can dramatically reduce costs in terms of capital, infrastructure, reduced downtime and even energy savings, which can then be transferred to the consumer.
61% of IT leaders say cutting costs is the number one reason for moving software to the cloud, making cloud adoption a trend we can only expect to continue in the year ahead. If your organization is looking to reduce expenses, keep pace with cutting-edge technology advancement and adapt to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, adopting a next-generation contact center platform is a practical solution.