2018 is ending. Welcome, 2019.
Instead of the regular year-end posts which look back at what happened, I thought it will be different to look forward. What will 2019 bring us in the cloud communication space? I would like to call it cloud communication 2.0(nothing to do with Rajni’s 2.0 :)). In no particular order, here are my predictions for how cloud communication 2.0 will shape up in 2019.
1. Voice will be king.
The success of assistants like Google Home and Alexa has shown that voice is the most natural interface. Voice channels will pop up everywhere. Inside apps, on websites, in emails. Adding voice channels will become easier through widgets.
2. Chat. Talk. Why don’t we do both?
Omnichannel will become mainstream. In fact, the term omnichannel itself will take on new meaning. Agents will talk and chat with customers in the same interaction. Gone are the days when an agent could only do one of the two interactions at a time. Now, they can talk for faster resolution and chat for important information like order numbers or ticket numbers etc.
3. It’s the age of assistants.
Watching my 4-year-old son ask Google to play “Beat it”, I know it won’t be long before voice assistants make their way to businesses. Supervisors will just ask assistants to update their call center queues. Agents will ask assistants to give them information about the callers. Assistants will alert managers about any discrepancies in the conversations. Do you want to schedule an appointment? We have an assistant for that.
4. It’s a bot world.
Chatbots were promised as the next big thing. Then everyone said they will die. Both the sides are wrong. Bots will become an integral part of business communication. But they will not be deployed to handle everything. Instead, bots will handle the most common easy parts of the communication and the tough parts will be left for agents to handle. This will lead to huge agent efficiency as the agents are left with dealing only the most important and challenging parts of a conversation.
5. Voice bots for the win.
All chatbot companies will start adding a voice channel to provide voice bots. And these voice bots will be served over widgets so that they are available everywhere. Voice bots will take over all the regular calling needs.
6. AI has eyes and ears everywhere.
AI will monitor all the contact center conversations. Everyone knows the ubiquitous term, “This call may be recorded for quality improvement purposes”. Well, now it will become true. Every interaction will be recorded and monitored and AI will help in quality improvement.
7. CRM, Support Desk, Contact Center. Who is doing what?
CRM systems and support desks will start offering contact center services. Contact centers will provide inbuilt CRM and support desks. The boundaries between these systems will merge. Customers will start choosing one partner for all these.
8. You live and die with the customer lifecycle.
Managing the customer lifecycle will become important. The question, ”Who am I talking to?” will go extinct in most contact centers. Additionally, the complete history of the customer will be at the fingertips of the agent so that they can serve better.
9. Be social.
Social media support will become paramount. Most social media channels including WhatsApp will start providing public APIs for businesses to manage their social media channels.
10. Alexa, connect me to Zomato.
Contact centers will support home assistants. Alexa, Google Home etc will allow customers to connect to the contact centers of businesses. In fact, some big startups will come up with their own home assistants.
These are just some of the predictions which I think will come true in 2019. Having introduced cloud telephony to India in 2009 and cloud contact centers to the world in 2011, we at Ozonetel know that we have to push ourselves to make these predictions come true. And we are almost there. 2019 promises to be an exciting year in the cloud communications space.
Happy New Year.