Select Page
March 14, 2022

Top Opportunities for CX & Contact Center Leaders in 2022? Eight Industry Experts Weigh in

Share this story

Contact centers have demonstrated a remarkable resilience and flexibility navigating through rapidly shifting consumer behaviors, skyrocketing call volumes, and severe labor shortages.
If there is one lesson that businesses can take from the past two years, it is that things can change quickly. Contact centers, despite a reputation for being change-resistant, have demonstrated remarkable resilience and flexibility navigating through rapidly shifting consumer behaviors, skyrocketing call volumes, and severe labor shortages. While change is not always easy, it often brings positive outcomes to organizations, like a greater emphasis on creating better customer and agent experiences. Many executives have indicated that CX will be the basis of their post-pandemic plans. It’s now up to CX and contact center leaders to maintain that momentum by engaging the entire organization in CX activities that will deliver a positive impact on customers, agents, and revenue growth. So what are the biggest opportunities for CX and contact center leaders in the year ahead? We asked eight customer experience and contact center veterans to share their thoughts. Read on for insights from industry experts Roy Atkinson, Nate Brown, Annette Franz, Sheri Greenhaus, Lynn Hunsaker, Bill Quiseng, Stacy Sherman, and Jeff Toister.

Elevate the contact center by sharing customer data to inform the business

Roy Atkinson CEO, Principal Advisor Clifton Butterfield, LLC

Roy Atkinson
CEO, Principal Advisor
Clifton Butterfield, LLC

Website: cliftonbutterfield.com
Twitter: twitter.com/royatkinson
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/royatkinson

The biggest opportunity for contact center leaders is to show the amazing value to the organization as a whole by tapping into the treasure trove of data in better ways. One of the best examples of this I’ve heard about was using AI/Machine Learning to plow through thousands of hours of conversations to pull out an answer to questions from sales: “Which of our competitors are customers talking about, and are they saying positive or negative things about them? What are our customers hearing or seeing from competitors that we can learn from?”

Providing good data on questions like these can inform the entire organization in ways that we were not previously able to do, elevating the reputation and function of the contact center.

Learn more about how AI-powered speech analytics can uncover valuable insights buried within your customer data:

Guide to the AI Call Center: How To Revamp Your Customer Service
Speech Analytics with LiveVox: Unlock the Voice of Your Customer

Embrace the rise of customer success: Be the customer’s trusted guide

Nate Brown Senior Director of CX, Arise Co-Founder, CX Accelerator

Nate Brown
Senior Director of CX, Arise
Co-Founder, CX Accelerator

Website: arise.com
Twitter: twitter.com/CustomerIsFirst
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/cxaccelerator

In my opinion, our biggest opportunity as contact center leaders in 2022 is to embrace the rise of “Customer Success.”

This concept has come in fast and strong… rooted in the quest to maximize customer value through positive partnerships.

The laser-focused approach on specific customers is where the magic resides. In Building a StoryBrand, author Donald Miller talks about the importance of understanding the customer’s definition of success and acting as a competent guide to get them there. This role of trusted guide has been tremendously undervalued in organizations today, and it’s exactly what a customer success manager can bring to the table. Someone who says, “I know you. I care about you. I have the tools and skills required to help you navigate this journey with confidence.”

Who wouldn’t want someone like that in their corner? It creates a far stickier customer relationship, paving the way for enhanced loyalty and expansion possibilities.

Call centers have the talent and capabilities to lead the charge in morphing the organization toward this proactive customer success mentality. We need to extend ourselves the freedom to think beyond “break-fix” and think about how we can leverage our amazing people to BE THE GUIDE throughout the entire customer journey.

Read how measuring customer intent can help you to understand what motivates your customers’ behaviors:

Understanding Customer Intent for CX Transformation

Be deliberate in designing a customer-centric culture

Annette Franz, CCXP Founder + CEO CX JOURNEY, Inc.

Annette Franz, CCXP
Founder + CEO
CX JOURNEY, Inc.

Website: cx-journey.com
Twitter: twitter.com/annettefranz
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/annette-franz

The biggest opportunity I see is to get the culture right. Partner with your peers in HR or in People & Culture to ensure that the culture is where it needs to be to put the customer at the heart of the business. The more I’ve seen, heard, and read about challenges when it comes to both employee experience and customer experience, the root of the problem lies in the culture. I’ve seen this with my clients. When they’re challenged to treat both employees and customers well, the culture is one that leaders have allowed rather than one that they deliberately designed, the one that puts the people at the center of everything—discussions, decisions, designs.

When the culture isn’t customer-centric, the work of customer experience professionals—and, quite frankly, the entire organization—becomes much harder. Culture = core values + behaviors. When core values aren’t defined, and the associated acceptable and unacceptable behaviors aren’t outlined for each, and if that information isn’t socialized and operationalized, it becomes difficult for employees to know what’s right and wrong when it comes to interacting with peers and with customers. I’ve worked with clients to update their core values to include at least one that is customer-driven. When we’ve done the work to socialize and operationalize these values, what a difference it’s made for employees and customers.

Learn how to put your customers at the heart of your contact center’s strategy:

Why Customer Obsession is the Key To A Strong Post-Pandemic Comeback

Get the basics right: Customers want their issues resolved

Sheri Greenhaus Managing Partner CrmXchange

Sheri Greenhaus
Managing Partner
CrmXchange

Website: crmxchange.com
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sherigreenhaus
Twitter: twitter.com/srgreenhaus
Facebook: facebook.com/CRMXchange

While driving in my neighborhood, I saw a sign that a moving company had printed on the side of their truck: “At least we show up.”

Do those five words sum up what the customer’s experience is today? Customers are feeling ignored and frustrated. How is this fixed? In the CX arena, it means going back to the basics:  Tell the customer what you are going to do… and do it.  

  1. If you have an 800 number, don’t keep the customer waiting forever before answering the phone. Either offer to provide a callback or answer right away. And once answered, give the support staff the tools and flexibility to fix the issue. Don’t hide your phone number. For many customers, that is their preferred way to communicate.
  2. Providing bad web chat is worse than providing no chat. Don’t put the customer in a box and force them to select from your menu a problem they are not having. If providing live-chat assistance, don’t ask the customer question upon question only to find out the chat rep can’t fix the issue.
  3. If self-service does not help and the customer needs to call, DON’T make them repeat everything. If the transfer is easy, it can save the customer. For example, after trying to order a pair of shoes from a large shoe warehouse, I noticed there was no place to enter a merchandise gift card. After 20 minutes with a chat agent telling me to click where there was no click available, I clicked “X” off the site. A few minutes later, my phone rang with a customer service rep who knew my issue and solved it in five minutes.
  4. AI has greatly advanced. Look at AI solutions for things like automating routine tasks, responding to common questions, and improving interactions routing.
  5. Use analytics to help analyze calls and predict the customer’s next order or problem.
  6. Data is the key to everything. Without good data, analytics and AI won’t perform the way you want it to.
  7. SMS is great. However, many companies are overstaying their welcome. If you have something important to communicate, text it, otherwise, it’s annoying. Look at your analytics. Are customers opting out after getting text after text with the same message?

In summary, sometimes providing just what the customer asked for is enough. The customer does not have to be delighted in every interaction. They just want their issue solved.

Find out how data analytics can improve first-contact resolution and overall service quality:

How To Use CX Data Analysis For The Biggest Impact
Why AI-Powered Speech Analytics is a Secret Weapon in the Contact Center

Restore trust in your brand: Customers expect better service now

Lynn Hunsaker, CCXP, RTP Chief Customer Officer ClearAction Continuum

Lynn Hunsaker, CCXP, RTP
Chief Customer Officer
ClearAction Continuum

Website: clearaction.com
Twitter: twitter.com/clearaction
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/lynnhunsaker
Facebook: facebook.com/CustomerExperienceOptimization

Revitalizing trust is the biggest opportunity for customer experience and contact center leaders in 2022. Trust has eroded during the global pandemic, but also well before that point. Trust is a significant problem between firms and workers and between firms and customers. 

“Skimpflation” is a hot topic among consumers and in the media, calling out brands for cutting back on services that once were table stakes. While longer wait times and other inconveniences were understandable in the spring and summer of 2020, customers and workers expect management to conquer the new realities by now. 

Greater curiosity, better listening, clarifying questions, transparent information, and adaptable processes and policies are what’s needed to restore trust as a differentiating factor for your brand. The equation for trust is [Credibility + Reliability + Confide-ability] ÷ Self-Orientation. This applies to person-to-person interactions, as well as brand practices.

Learn how sentiment analysis aids in detecting customers’ feelings and emotions during interactions:

Sentiment Analysis Tools: What Are They, What Do They Do, And How To Use Them
What Is Sentiment Analysis and How Do You Do It?

Focus on the agent experience through leadership commitment to CARE

Bill Quiseng Customer CARE Expert, Speaker, Author, Blogger

Bill Quiseng
Customer CARE Expert, Speaker, Author, Blogger

Blog: billquiseng.com
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/billquiseng
Twitter: twitter.com/billquiseng
Facebook: facebook.com/billquisengdotcom
Instagram: instagram.com/billquisengdotcom

The biggest opportunity for customer experience is focusing on the employee experience first. 

Many leaders will say, “We offer one of the best pay rates in our competitive marketplace. Isn’t that enough?” If the only thing your people get out of their job is a paycheck, then you, as a leader, have failed. 

Don’t treat your people the way they expect to be treated by you. Don’t even treat your people the way they want to be treated. Consistently treat them a little better than they want to be treated. 

Here is how to CARE for your people: 

COMMUNICATE openly, transparently, interactively, and frequently any information that your people need to know. Listen empathetically to their concerns and complaints.

APPRECIATE the important roles and responsibilities of your people.

RECOGNIZE and offer accolades for individual accomplishments and acts of service to colleagues or customers.

EMPOWER people to make the right decisions for themselves and the business.

Our leadership commitment to CARE will enthuse and energize people to be engaged with their colleagues, customers, and the business.

When we create a great experience for people as much as we do for customers, we will earn the loyalty of both. And soon, without our focus on profits, the profits will grow.

Improve the agent experience, gain a deeper understanding of customers

Stacy Sherman CX Corporate Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author, Podcaster Founder, DoingCXRight

Stacy Sherman
CX Corporate Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author, Podcaster
Founder, DoingCXRight

Blog: doingcxright.com/blog
Podcast: doingcxright.com/podcasts
Twitter: twitter.com/stacysherman
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/stacysherman
Instagram: instagram.com/doingcxright

The biggest opportunities for customer experience leaders in 2022 are: 

  • Closer Partnerships Between Customer Experience/Contact Center and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Departments. It’s no secret that when employees feel valued, appreciated, and accepted, customers see and feel it, too. One fuels the other. The more customer experience and human resource/D&I teams work together, the higher the likelihood company goals will be achieved.
  • More Workplace (Office vs. Home) Options. The global pandemic changed the way we think, work, and collaborate. Company policies are getting flexible and allowing employee choices with less FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which, in turn, drives more loyalty and engagement to deliver customer excellence.
  • Increased Empathy and Communications. Employees are getting better trained to “put themselves in the customer’s shoes,” and they’re gaining soft skills like active listening. This is a good trend for business benefits and society, too. Call center reps reading from a script will become less tolerable to customers. They want personalized service, which means company leaders need to empower their staff to take care of customer needs without delay.
  • Better Time Management. People are embracing a “less is more” mindset. Traditional hour-long meetings are becoming half the time and more focused. Also, people are gaining more efficiency by managing their energy to get daily tasks done vs. clock-watching. I’m a firm believer in a crawl, walk, run approach to life, and “listening with our eyes.” Listen to my podcast episode with guest, Neen James, about WHO deserves your attention, WHAT matters most, and HOW to increase productivity, accountability, and profitability.
  • Deeper Understanding of Customer Needs. Many managers have solely relied on surveys to gain insights about how well they are meeting customer expectations. Going forward, this will not be enough. Aggregating and centralizing all sources of Voice of Customer  (VoC) feedback (i.e., social media, ratings and reviews, website LIVE chat, focus groups, etc.) combined with surveys will be the new game-changer.
  • Expanded Business Metrics and Key Performance Indicators. Customer questionnaires are expanding to include more than the traditional Net Promoter (NPS) rating. Level of Effort and Sentiment scores are increasing in importance to gauge customer satisfaction and future behaviors (i.e., buy again, tell others, etc.). Listen to my podcast about creating Frictionless Experiences.
  • Higher Digital Adoption With Caution. Technology is changing the way we live and service customers. The key is to not lose the human touch. The brands that win customer hearts and wallets will be the ones that deepen relationships and trust, not replace fully with automation.

Find out how to use AI to personalize your customer service and make it more human:

Customer Service Improvement Strategies: 5 Plays to Make Your Contact Center Your Brand’s Mission Control Center

Help agents help customers by breaking down internal obstacles

Jeff Toister President Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.

Jeff Toister
President
Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
Website: toistersolutions.com
Twitter: twitter.com/toister
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/jefftoister

Contact centers leaders need to make it easier for agents to provide great service. Agents increasingly tell me their heads are spinning with ever-changing policies, multiple software programs that don’t work well together, lackluster training, and a lack of empowerment. They’re frustrated by a lack of cooperation with other departments and resent repeatedly apologizing for chronically broken products and delayed shipments that they have no control over.

Most agents truly want to help their customers. In 2022, the best contact leaders will work tirelessly to help their agents do just that.

Read more about breaking down the departmental and technology barriers that frustrate agents:

How to Improve Contact Center Collaboration
How to Run a Call Center: What Should Agent Desktops Have?

Keep Up-To-Date on the Latest Contact Center News

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay current on all the latest technological advances in the contact center space.

About LiveVox

LiveVox (Nasdaq: LVOX) is a next generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion omnichannel interactions a year. By seamlessly unifying blended omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WEM capabilities, the Company’s technology delivers exceptional agent and customer experiences, while helping to mitigate compliance risk. With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox’s CCaaS 2.0 platform is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. The Company has more than 650 global employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; New York City; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox or visit livevox.com.

To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox, visit www.livevox.com or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

You May Also Like

How to Create the Best Knowledge Center for Self Service

How to Create the Best Knowledge Center for Self Service

Self-service is becoming increasingly popular, as it’s usually quick and convenient to use. In fact, it has become so popular that 88% of people now expect companies to have an online self-service portal. This just goes to show that companies need to start focusing on self-service, if they haven’t before, or expanding on existing services.

read more