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Contact Center Trends to Watch in 2017


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Recent research from MarketsandMarkets states that the global market for cloud contact center software will explode over the next five years. Market size is expected to hit $15.67 billion by 2021. As the market grows, these are the contact center trends to look forward to in 2017.

Growth (especially in retail)

According to MarketsandMarkets, retail and consumer goods will be one of the largest growth markets for cloud-based contact center software. As consumers continue to gravitate toward online shopping, responsive contact center solutions will be mission-critical when it comes to attracting and maintaining customers in a highly competitive marketplace.

Virtual agents

Cloud-based software is changing the way that contact centers operate. Rather than being limited to physical locations, the flexibility and scalability of cloud software allow businesses to have customer service agents in multiple remote locations, whether those are smaller local operations, or a crew of remote employees working from home offices. Using RingCentral’s advanced analytics dashboards, key metrics can be monitored in real-time to ensure the best customer experience. The right contact center software empowers you to make critical business decisions based on a range of reporting options, from prebuilt, ad-hoc, or custom reports. Up-to-the-minute information allows your business to stay agile and address problems quickly.

Omnichannel communication

Thanks to mobile devices and “always on” communications, customers have become accustomed to switching communication modes in social interactions, which gives rise to the need for great omnichannel customer service. They expect the same kind of flexibility in their interactions with businesses and want access to support resources using whatever medium is at hand. RingCentral Contact Center enables customers to reach you via voice, email, web chat, fax, social media, or SMS. Inter-channel handoffs are seamless, for the best and most convenient customer experience.

Artificial intelligence

As companies embrace the power of artificial intelligence (AI), it raises the possibility that AI is the future of customer service. Chatbots are particularly hot technology that will continue to grow in 2017. Messaging apps are becoming increasingly sticky for users, and companies are looking to chatbots to take advantage of where their customers are going. For example, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has a Facebook Messenger bot that provides flight information, and there are already multiple options for ordering pizza via chatbots. Chatbot technology could be refined for contact center use. Bot-enabled contact centers would empower customers to find their own solutions via messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), or via SMS text messaging. Adding in voice control features like those already available from Amazon and Google, and the potential for a revolution in the way that customers access service options becomes clear.

2017 is poised to be a big year for contact centers. As consumer preferences evolve, a significant challenge will be adapting to rapidly changing needs. The right contact center software can help businesses of all sizes stay ahead of the curve and continue to offer the high levels of service that customers have come to expect.

Originally published Jan 17, 2017, updated Aug 27, 2020

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