Top Contact Center Trends for 2017

The contact center industry is dynamic, as it evolves every year because of technological advancements, changing customer attitude and expectations, and very competitive players. It is a very unpredictable industry, to say the least, so it is a must for companies to be proactive and well-prepared in order to adapt to these changes. To gain insight as to where the contact center industry is headed this year, we can look at some of the facts and stats gathered in the past. This would allow decision makers to shape their business accordingly, enabling them to compete and even dominate in the said field.

The following are the top contact center trends for 2017:

Customer experience is still a top priority

A 2016 research by CFI Group shows that customers value quick issue resolution above anything else, and for them, that’s what makes a great customer experience. It matters more than agent knowledge or demeanor, or the usability/ease-of-use of the customer service interface. Around 63% of the people surveyed say “quick issue resolution” or “first contact resolution” determines if they are happy with the service or not.

What customers don’t really like is waiting: whether it is waiting on a call queue for an agent to pick up, getting put on hold while his issue is resolved, or waiting to be transferred to the right department. There’s no tried-and-tested way of quickly resolving customers’ problems, but there are ways to keep them “satisfied” while they wait. A good example would be RingCentral’s informative messages and music on hold. These audio recordings can keep them entertained and informed even on queue or while waiting to get transferred.

Customers are slowly losing patience

The average time we spend on hold is now around 56 seconds. It might not be that long, but when you’re the one waiting for an agent to pick up, every second just adds on to the frustration. A recent research found that 43% of Americans are willing to stay on the line for 1-5 minutes. Stretch that to 5-10 minutes, and only 39% will wait for you to get back on the line. Unfortunately, a third of those who were told to wait but ended hanging up in frustration will never call back.

Contact centers should be mindful of these numbers, as it translates directly to customer satisfaction and profit. Fortunately, there are ways to combat these problems, like using built-in analytics to anticipate higher call volume. You can allocate agents properly to accommodate callers. Informative messages and music on hold mentioned above also help pacify impatient callers. Lastly, make sure that callers get to the right agent the first time, to avoid transfers or escalations. A well-equipped IVR can do the job, as it helps direct callers to the person they intend to reach.

Even contact centers are going to the cloud

Perhaps one of the top trends to watch out for this year is the exodus of contact centers from the client’s physical premises to the cloud. Currently, 6 in 10 companies rely on a feature/variant of a cloud-based call center.  In the next four years, the cloud contact center industry is expected to expand threefold. More and more businesses are turning to these services to handle vital operations like sales, and after-sales support.

What prompted this move to the cloud? Companies are already seeing the importance of having a relatively affordable service to handle some of their business processes. Not to mention the fact that these cloud contact centers are globally scalable, so no matter how big your company gets, you are assured that your contact center can match your needs. Hosted services like these also have high security, like RingCentral’s seven layers of security, encompassing data encryption, infrastructure, as well as physical security.

Author’s Bio:

Ronald is a digital marketing specialist for RingCentral, a leading cloud phone system solution. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest on small business trends because of the nature of his work. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Business Communication Tools Usage Trend For 2015

A study recently conducted by uSamp Research on behalf of a cloud phone technology provider looked into the trends that are influencing workplace communication and how the evolution of tools is changing the landscape of business communication. For the study, the researchers surveyed 508 workers at the manager, director and vice president levels at businesses in United States. Here is a brief on the various inferences made from the study:

In-Person Communication No Longer In Vogue : What do professionals at the workplace prefer – meeting colleagues in person and getting stuff done, or do they prefer the various communication channels? The uSamp study shows that a stunning 95% of the respondents chose workplace communications over in-person meetings. Of this, 48% of the respondents preferred emails while 20% preferred calling over mobile phones. Desk phones were preferred by another 10% while 8% each preferred texting colleagues or scheduling web meetings.

Real-Time Communication Is In : Over the past decade, unified communications technology has made it possible for non real-time communication platforms to be accessed on a real-time basis. Companies like AllStream allow users to broadcast messages via multiple channels right from the IP based business phones to PC notifications, text messages  and email simultaneously. The availability of such features has made people favor real-time communications over non real-time alternatives. 82% of respondents from the study preferred receiving text messages over voicemails. As a matter of fact, 36% of the surveyed participants confided to have deleted voicemails without listening to them.

Internal Communication Is Critical : Close to 44% of the respondents believe that the business communication tools available today are geared at communications outside the workplace and need similar communication tools for intra-office communications. With remote working on the rise, respondents believe tools that enable better communication with co-workers is paramount to an efficient and productive workplace. These respondents also felt Skype as a medium to communicate with fellow workers was not optimal.

Multi-Tasking Of Devices : Even till a decade back, every worker had an assigned computer that was their only medium to engage in the workplace. However, that has changed drastically and nearly 85% of the participants in the study revealed that they used more than one device at work. This includes the use of a workplace computer, a smartphone and another workstation that they accessed while working from home. 32% of the respondents used three or more devices for work related activities.

Other significant take-aways from the study:

  • 97% of respondents believe that their communications impact their daily tasks
  • 32% believe they will need new business communication tools for remote working in 2015
  • 21% want their communication tools to enable them to have more time off

Average Teenage Text Messaging Statistics

It has been a long established fact that text messaging is the most popular medium of communication among teenagers. This is primarily because it is always-on, provides sufficient privacy and is cheap. A recent study by Pew Internet looked into the text messaging behavior among American teenagers – the average text messages sent per day, and gender and age specific behavior. Here are some interesting stats

Number of text messages per day on average
Zero : 2%
1-10 : 22%
11-50 : 28%
51-100 : 16%
100+ : 31%

Gender-wise Text Messages Per Day (Mean)
Girls : 125
Boys : 101

Gender-wise Text Messages Per Day (Median)
Girls : 80
Boys : 30

Age-wise SMS Count Per Day (Mean)
12-13 : 83
14-17 : 123

Age-wise SMS Count Per Day (Median)
12-13 : 20
14-17 : 60

Study On Email Subscription Management

Offering an easy way out for unwilling subscribers to email newsletters is considered good business manners. Yet, a lot many companies fail to simplify the subscription process according to a recent study on email management conducted by market research firm, Responsys.

Here are some results from the study

Links On Emails Of 100 Major Online Retailers
Unsubscribe : 100%
Change/Manage Preferences : 37%
Change email address : 22%
Subscribe : 18%

Format Of Unsubscribe Link
Text link only : 94%
Image based only : 1%
Both : 2%
Multiple text links : 3%

Popular Ways To Offer Unsubsribe Options
Unsubscribe Link : 100%
Reply to/Forward email : 13%
Call customer service : 4%
Mail letter to company : 3%
URL for changing preferences : 0%
More than one method available : 17%

Number of Clicks To Opt Out
One : 3%
Two : 58%
Three or More : 39%

Dutch Mobile Market Statistics

TelecomPaper released their latest report on the wireless market in Netherlands. According to the report while growth rate has slowed down since a year earlier, it is expected to pick up this year though the growth has all along been modest. Here are the projected revenue stats from the country

2008 : €6.44 billion (2.4% growth)
2009 : €6.5 billion (0.9% growth)
2010 : €6.6 billion (approx. 1.5% growth)

Close to 73% of total service revenues are from voice traffic

Number of Emails Sent Worldwide

Here is a video compiled by Jess3 from various sources that give an interesting perspective of the state of the web today. According to its sources (Radicati group in this case), here are some stats regarding email

Number of emails sent in 2009 : 90 trillion
i.e. average number of emails per day : 247 billion (81%)
Number of spam emails per day : 200 billion
Number of email users worldwide : 1.4 billion

Enjoy the complete video below

US Mobile Network Operators Market Share

Verizon is undoubtedly the leader among the mobile network operators. Thanks to the prolific growth of smartphones including the iPhone, AT&T comes second. According to a December 2009 study by ComScore, the top four operators hold close to 80% of market share. Here is the comprehensive list

1. Verizon : 31.2%
2. AT&T : 25.0%
3. T-Mobile : 12.1%
4. Sprint : 12.1%
5. Tracfone : 4.8%
6. MetroPCS : 2.3%
7. US Cellular : 2.2%
8. Boost Mobile : 2.1%
9. Cricket : 1.7%
10. Virgin Mobile : 1.7%
Others : 5.0%

GSM Mobile Market Share In India

The Cellular Operators Association Of India (COAI) has just released their January 2010 list for the number of GSM subscribers across the various cell phone networks in India. Here is the subscriber count and market share of the various mobile network operators

1. Bharti Airtel : 121.7 million (30.86%)
2. Vodafone Essar : 94.1 million (23.87%)
3. IDEA : 59.8 million (15.19%)
4. BSNL : 59.4 million (15.08%)
5. Aircel : 33.0 million (8.38%)
6. Reliance Telecom : 15.7 million (4.0%)
7. MTNL : 4.6 million (1.17%)
8. Loop Mobile : 2.7 million (0.69%)
9. Uninor : 2.5 million (0.64%)
10. STel : 0.5 million (0.13%)
Total Users : 395.3 million

Tata Teleservices who do not report the numbers to COAI have claimed to have reached a total subscriber count of 60 million

Global Email Delivery Rates – By Region And ISP

A study of the number of instances permissioned commercial mails failing to reach the inbox of the recipients was studied by Return Path.  Here are some interesting statistics observed

Global Email Delivery Rates
North America
Inbox : 80.1%
Junk/Spam : 3.5%
Missing : 16.3%

Inbox : 85.5%
Junk/Spam : 3.6%
Missing : 11%

Asia Pacific
Inbox : 86.9%
Junk/Spam : 2.5%
Missing : 10.7%
* missing is not the same as bounced mails. These are mails that are not delivered without any notification to the sender about non-delivery

Email Non-Delivery Rate By ISP – H2 ’09
BellSouth : 21.5%
Gmail : 20.7%
MSN : 19.2%
Hotmail : 19.1%
Yahoo : 18.5%
AOL : 17.0%
Comcast : 14.7%
Road Runner : 14.6%
NetZero : 12.2% : 11.2%
Cox : 5.5%

Skype International Phone Traffic Volume

International calling minutes is increasing. But the growth of traffic over conventional carriers is slowing down while VoIP, especially Skype is picking up. Here is the volume of traffic handled by Skype in the past few years

2007 : 21.9 billion minutes
2008 : 33.1 billion minutes (51% growth)
2009 : 54 billion minutes (63% growth)

In 2009, the volume of traffic on Skype was 13% of total international traffic (409 billion minutes)