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3 things to know about the retail contact centre of the future

In its latest report, Talkdesk Research™ focused on retailers’ challenges in driving growth through strong CX and the investments they are making to overcome those challenges. Powering retail growth: the next generation of contact centres presents the most important retail customer service statistics and insights in the market, painting a picture of what the future of retail contact centres looks like.

This report draws on a quantitative online survey of 200 retail CX professionals from across the globe, including APAC, representing retail and e-commerce companies with more than 200 full-time employees.

Below are three key findings from the report about the future of retail contact centres. To read the full report, download it here.

1. The future of customer service agents: 

Customer service agents will be measured on driving business growth.

With AI increasingly integrated into retail channels, customer service representatives are expected to have a deeper understanding of customers and their needs, expand customer relationships, and handle more complex customer questions and issues than before. Moreover, they are expected to speak to their brand’s stance on social issues. This requires a comprehensive understanding of both customers and the brand that goes beyond the traditional contact centre agent role. 

As expectations grow, so do the KPIs that they are measured against. Talkdesk Research™ found that 81 per cent of retailers currently hold agents accountable to KPIs that include new revenue generated, but within five years, nearly nine in 10 say that agent KPIs will include agent influence on future relationship growth with a customer.

2. The future of customer service channels:
Social media as a customer service channel will surpass email and voice.

Besides being held accountable for customer relationship and revenue generation key performance indicators (KPIs), agents are expected to manage interactions across more channels than before. Talkdesk Research™ found that 63 per cent of retail CX professionals expect contact centre agents to communicate with customers via social media channels, in one year, demonstrating more growth year over year than any other channel. Going beyond the traditional phone, email, or live chat for which most agents were hired, these new channels will require etiquette, tone, and time management training. Being able to consistently engage with the customer across multiple channels is a top challenge for today’s agents.

3. The future of retail contact centre investments:
Executives will prioritise investments in AI for the contact centre

Talkdesk Research™ found that AI will have a fundamental role in unlocking the full potential of retail customer service and agents, and that 80 per cent of retail CX professionals believe that AI can help them overcome their reporting and analytics capabilities limitations.

Retailers are currently applying AI largely for information and service guidance, but there’s a greater opportunity for further contribution. Over 50 per cent of retailers intend to increase their customer engagement AI capabilities investments in the coming year.

Learn more about what is in store for the retail contact centre of the future 

Download the Powering retail growth: the next generation of contact centres report for an analysis of these and other retail customer service statistics and dig deeper into agents’ and AI’s roles in retail contact centres.

About the author: Andrew Antal is Head of Marketing at Talkdesk APAC.