2017 Contact Center Trends Part 2: Video, IoT and Escalation

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Last month we discussed the top four trends for 2017. We are now expanding our list of trends to include a few more important topics to be aware of this year.


Contact Centers that are using video chat are loving it. Why? Video chat helps speed up deeper and more technical problems. It also allows agents to personalize the experience and better understand the issue through a more visual representation. Companies in the auto insurance industry are using video chat for customer service to quickly assess the damage on cars and companies in retail are using it to quickly answer questions on already purchased merchandise.

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So, if it is so helpful, why is less than 0.2% of contact center traffic handled on video chat? Although video chat exists, it is often hard to fit it into the current technology which explains why most don’t use it. But, forward thinking companies such as Schuh and Amazon have already deployed video as part of their customer service strategy. With advancing omnichannel solutions, the demand for video chat as a service is only going to become more popular and effective.

Video is also nice in sales situations. It can provide better engagement in high-value transactions and, in the case of two-way video, provides the salesperson with clues. For example, it can show if the consumer is a business person vs vacationer using car rental kiosk, which would result in different sales techniques.


In 2013 the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined IoT as "the infrastructure of the information society. The IoT allows objects to be sensed and/or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.” Many in the contact center industry think that the rise in IoT is going to transform customer experience and the contact center industry.

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The main way it will improve customer experience is through proactive customer service. Smart devices will be able to communicate that there is a problem with the device directly to the manufacturer before the consumer is even aware there is a problem. This will also lead to increased self-service as customers will need to contact customer service less frequently when smart objects are able to diagnose their own issues.

ABI Research found that by 2020, more than 50 billion additional devices will be wirelessly connect increasing the IoT. Organizations that can successfully integrate IoT into their contact centers will benefit from shorter interaction time, cost savings from self-service, and more dedicated customer service.

In order to properly integrate IoT into the customer service strategy it will become crucial for organizations to layer IoT into the omnichannel approach. Brands will need to integrate IoT into all of the customer service channels they provide. It will also become important for call center to acquire important data for better service. With the increase of  the IoT, there is a large volume of data centers can gain concerning the efficiency of brand products and consumer behaviors. In 2017 we predict that customer service centers will begin to use data from the IoT properly to increase customer satisfaction. Brands will be able to identify consumer behaviors through certain devices helping them improve marketing approaches as well as proactive service.

The most recent news on IoT came about last August, when Mirai, “the malware that turns computer systems running Linux into remotely controlled “bots”, that can be used as part of a botnet in large-scale network attacks”(Wikipedia) was created. The online consumer devices that Mirai attacks continue to function normally as they continuously scan the internet for the IP addresses of IoT devices. Because the source code for Mirai was published in hacker forums, the techniques have been used in other malware projects. This makes us take a hard look at using IoT from a security and liability standpoint.

Keeping the Human Element by Escalating to Voice

Consumers want to solve their problem over the channel in which they feel most comfortable. For many consumers especially millennials, that is most likely over a digital channel. But what happens if the interaction is then taking too long and could be better handled on the phone?

With most multichannel technologies switching from a digital channel to voice is a real problem. Because the channels are siloed, if the consumer wanted to finish the interaction on the phone, they would call in to find they have been connected with a completely different agent that has no information on the history of the interaction that happened online. The consumer would have to reiterate their entire problem to the new agent.

Luckily, some more advanced omnichannel softwares allow you to switch channels seamlessly with the same agents. This is possible because their channels are all integrated into a single user interface. Channel switching can be as easy as pressing a button. This lets business save by providing chat support and switch to more expensive channel when needed.


Every year, multiple vendors and consultants come out with their top trends for the new year. You probably read a handful and make some notes, that may or may not get lost or thrown out over the Holidays. We’re asking you to take a second look at some of these trends this year and really think about what could benefit your contact center in 2017.

The statistics in this paper indicate one thing, that the industry is changing over time. And your center needs to as well! Keep these trends in mind, as they will (or should) play a key role in your contact center in 2017.
Darren Prine

About Darren Prine

As a Senior Sales Executive with Bright Pattern, I help contact centers improve their customer engagement, customer experience and agent utilization. Contact centers leverage our technology to allow customers to connect via virtually any media channel, device or application. Not only that but but customers/agents can move from one channel to another such as voice to SMS or from chat to voice.

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