U.S. Companies Embrace New Contact Center Technologies as Pandemic Changes Consumer and Worker Expectations
ISG Provider Lens™ report says enterprises are accelerating transformations to provide seamless, omnichannel customer experiences and securely support remote workers
U.S. enterprises are adopting new technologies and operating models for their contact centers in the wake of changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report published by Information Services Group (ISG) , a leading global technology research and advisory firm.
The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Contact Center – Customer Experience Services report for the U.S. finds enterprises are revising and accelerating digital transformation plans in light of the rapid shifts in work modes and consumer behavior brought on by the pandemic, both of which have disrupted the way companies communicate with customers.
“The pandemic has dramatically changed how consumers make purchases and communicate with companies, as well as how companies deliver services and support to their customers,” said Jim Kane, ISG Americas leader for Contact Center Solutions. “To preserve brand loyalty, U.S. enterprises are exploring new ways to provide the best possible customer experience.”
“The pandemic has dramatically changed how consumers make purchases and communicate with companies, as well as how companies deliver services and support to their customers”
Consumers increasingly choose digital channels over voice calls and expect to be able to shift easily among different ways of communicating with a company, the report says. The U.S. contact center industry is adopting the tools to deliver this seamless, efficient omnichannel experience while at the same time creating remote work models to attract and retain employees.
Most contact centers are scaling up their automation capabilities to meet these challenges, ISG says. Conversational AI and chatbots are resolving more low-level queries, while analytics and consumer behavior prediction enable more meaningful conversations based on customers’ true needs and interests. As bots mature, human agents are expected to become specialists in handling complex queries.
A mix of remote and office-based work is expected to become the norm for U.S. contact centers, providing benefits including cost savings, access to talent, worker flexibility and higher productivity, according to ISG. Providers are making investments to address poor connectivity, background noise and security in remote work settings. With tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs), facial recognition, voice biometrics, screen monitoring and near-environment monitoring, they are closing the gap in security between in-office and home-based work.
The pandemic has also accelerated cloud adoption by U.S. contact centers, the report says. Cloud-based call centers offer improved productivity, cost optimization, workforce management tools and technology stacks for capabilities such as AI and machine learning.
Meanwhile, U.S. enterprises continue to explore Latin America’s potential as a location for call center operations, ISG says. As English proficiency in the region increases, and as companies seek to reach the growing Spanish-speaking population in the U.S., Latin America is becoming a more attractive site for outsourcing and nearshoring of traditional call centers.
The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Contact Center – Customer Experience Services report for the U.S. evaluates the capabilities of 29 providers across four quadrants: Digital Operations, Work From Home Services, AI & Analytics and Social Media CX Services.
The report names Conduent, HGS, Sitel Group, Sutherland and Teleperformance as Leaders in all four quadrants. It names Alorica, Atento and Concentrix as Leaders in three quadrants each and Cognizant and CSS Corp. as Leaders in two quadrants each. The report names 7.ai, Startek, Tech Mahindra, Transcom, TTEC and Wipro as Leaders in one quadrant each.
In addition, WNS is named a Rising Star—a company with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in two quadrants. Infosys and Startek are named Rising Stars in one quadrant each.