Lessons Learned in 2022 and Predictions for 2023

Lisa BolesJanuary 19, 2023

The ball has dropped in Times Square, and we begin a new year with lots of plans and optimism. So, it seems to be the perfect time to look back on some of the major trends from last year and see what we’ve learned—and then look into our crystal balls to predict what’s in store for us as 2023 unfolds.

2022 in Review

The fallout from the pandemic was still with us throughout 2022, and there were a number of trends that are likely to continue well into 2023. Let’s start with some that you should still consider when planning for the year ahead.

Remote and/or hybrid work for contact center agents is here to stay

Your customers really don’t care whether your agents are working at their kitchen table in their bunny slippers or in your call center. What they DO care about is resolving their issues or getting answers to their questions.

Many of your agents, however, are looking for the kind of flexibility they had at the height of the pandemic as call centers around the world shut down and transferred employees to home offices. So, we all know that, with the right tools, remote work CAN work.

And, it’s an important factor for workers when considering whether or not to stay in a job, or start looking elsewhere (i.e., your competitors). In a recent survey of “Gen Z” workers, more than half of all respondents cited workplace flexibility as a priority for them. And, 68% of millennials agreed.

Taking advantage of the “gig economy” to fill in staffing gaps

“The Great Resignation” and now “Quiet Quitting” are terms much in the news these days. Staffing contact centers with qualified agents has always presented challenges—and now it’s more difficult than ever.

In the spirit of “turning lemons into lemonade,” some companies embraced this trend as an opportunity to capitalize on the burgeoning number joining the so-called “gig economy.” These workers have given up standard full-time work in favor of the freedom to decide when, where, and for whom they choose.

However, companies that want to take advantage of this trend need to have a solution in place that allows them to efficiently identify and hire the best candidates to meet their needs. Tools must also be in place to provide training and support in real time as these new, temporary workers get up-to-speed.

Was 2022 the beginning of the end for the traditional contact center?

In what may become a future trend, one major Latin American airline used the ongoing challenges of the pandemic to completely reimagine their approach to customer service.

Having already made a commitment to the digital transformation of the company, the pandemic provided the added incentive to begin a project to eliminate their traditional call center—migrating all customer service to digital platforms.

Using a variety of apps, customers can now send inquiries that can often be answered via chatbots—leaving the most complex interactions for agents.

Is this the way of the future? We’ll have to wait and see.

Looking ahead: What to look for in 2023

The rise of the bots

Finding ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency, often with a reduced workforce, are hallmarks of a challenging economy. As we transition from one period of uncertainty to another, we foresee a continued focus on the role of bots for AI-infused, conversational self-service to help take some of the load off overworked agents.

But, the key to making this work is the ability to manage your bots like employees for a seamless customer experience. This means taking a “One Workforce” approach with shared access to your company’s knowledge base, customer information and interaction history, as well as tools for forecasting and scheduling and AI-based evaluation of each interaction (whether it be human or bot).

Focus on analytics for insights across channels

Customers will continue to want to interact with your company via a full array of channels (particularly digital) and will expect the experience to be easy and seamless when transitioning between them.

Breaking down data silos by taking a platform approach is certainly a start, but it’s then crucial to have the tools in place to capture and analyze all of that data to really see what’s going on at all stages of the customer journey, regardless of channel.

Bridging the training gap with real-time coaching opportunities

Don’t let the insights you’ve uncovered go to waste by not being prepared to put them into action. You need to have solutions in place that allow you to both analyze calls as they occur and, moreover, provide agents with personalized advice to guide each customer interaction toward better customer satisfaction and increased ROI.

Do you think our predictions will pan out? Only time will tell. Let’s meet back here next year at this time and see how we did! Here’s to a very happy and successful 2023!