The Future of Customer Service: A Shift to Digital Contact Center future of customer service

The Future of Customer Service: A Shift to Digital Contact Center

Contact centers and customer service teams remain essential touchpoints for better customer engagement. Over the last decade, companies have understood how essential agent engagement and motivation are to delivering better customer experiences and the importance of building out processes and managing people to deliver gratifying customer experiences. With developments in AI, such as automating quality management (AQA), the future of customer service is expected to shift and change like never before. 

There was a time when the preferred way of engaging with a company was to pick up the phone — both for the company and for the customer. Today, the future of customer service looks much different than the call centers of yesterday. Contact centers and customer service organizations have transformed into omnichannel centers of intelligent interactions where people, bots, and technology work side-by-side. Digital channels, which include email, chat, SMS, and social media, have become an integral part of the way that organizations connect with their customers. In addition to the proliferation of all of these channels, consumers expect reliable and secure solutions in their platform of choice. 

Digital transformation is taking place in contact centers worldwide and customers expect to be able to connect via any channel of their choice.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the process of integrating technology into your organization to either improve or create new business processes with the focus being on enhancing the overall customer experience (CX). It is not just about purchasing and deploying technology, but more about adapting your business processes and how your business engages with your customers – as well as an overhaul of the business culture. More importantly, digital transformation is a key force in the future of customer service.

The Future of Customer Service: A Shift to Digital Contact Center future of customer service

Digital transformation doesn’t have to be complicated. And many Playvox customers, such as 5CA have made transforming digitally a core piece of their customer experience strategy. However, to be effective, digital transformation projects and programs need to be efficient, effective, and solve business challenges.

For contact centers, that means not only ensuring that the telephony works as it should but also introducing digital contact channels mentioned previously – email, SMS, WhatsApp, webchat, video chat, social media – and enabling customers to contact your business via their channel of choice, including being able to switch between channels during a single transaction. Digital transformation is also about using analytics to drive change —  improving efficiencies and increasing productivity —  enabling you to make decisions that optimize your business. One might argue with all of the changes in operating a contact center, the future of customer service is already here. 

The Benefits of a Digital Contact Center

There are many benefits of a truly digital contact center. These include improved customer engagement and loyalty, better agent efficiency and productivity, and increased insight into key metrics for your support center. Let’s dive into each one of these benefits. 

Increased Customer Engagement and Better Experiences

Consumers’ wants and needs have significantly changed over time with the ubiquitous nature of cell phones. In this world, the omnichannel contact center has become a competitive advantage. By providing your customers with the ability to contact you via the channel they demand, you are improving their customer experience (CX) and the level of service that they receive. It then has the knock-on effect of increasing customer (CSAT), improving customer retention, along with attracting new business.

Improved Agent Efficiency and Productivity

By using multiple customer contact channels, you can streamline customer engagement. For example, you can filter simple, high-volume regular transactions towards automated lower-cost channels such as your IVR or a chatbot. This then frees up your agents to focus on more complex customer queries. With this type of dynamic, you can maximize agent productivity and reduce operating costs. Shifting common inquiries to more automated and less-costly channels also helps enhance customer satisfaction by providing the opportunity for your customers to self-serve. Additionally, when inquiries are complex, your agents are able to provide more personalized service, further enhancing the customer experience.

The Future of Customer Service: A Shift to Digital Contact Center future of customer service

Increased Visibility and Actionable Insight

Using data analytics in digital contact centers gives you visibility of key metrics in your operations. This can include data on service levels or customer engagement volumes by channel, giving you the ability to communicate, collaborate, and share relevant information with the rest of the business. Knowing which channels are most effective for different kinds of transactions provides you with the information you need to maximize the efficiency of your contact center operations.

The Rise of the Super Agent

With increasing emphasis on resolving complex customer issues and providing insights on customer inquiries, there is a need for a new type of agent in the future of customer service. As we see transactional inquiries move to a more self-service approach, contact center agents must become “super agents.” This means they need to know and understand the business well, be masterful communicators, and deal with more complex inquiries than ever before.  

The agent of the future requires a different set of skills to manage the digital customer. These include:


Not so long ago, a call center agent only had to work with one phone call at a time. Now, and in the future of customer service, agents must be able to manage multiple, concurrent web chats or social media responses effectively. Concurrency enables a greater volume of interactions to be serviced, however, quality cannot suffer as a result. Agents must have the ability to switch between multiple sessions, while also retaining an understanding of the customers’ needs and the resources required to solve a particular query.

Deep Product Knowledge

With the availability of information online and the ability to self-serve in many cases, when customers do reach a live agent, they expect agents to know more than ever before. This means agents need a high level of product knowledge and the ability to determine how to best solve what is often a complex task. 

Written Skills

In a digital-first contact center, interactions are increasingly text-based. Written skills, which may have once been a “nice to have” are now a “must have” when agents need to interact via chat, SMS, text or on social media.  

The Future of Customer Service – Shifting Mundane, Repetitive Interactions Away From Agents

In the future of customer service, many customers shift transactional-type of interactions away from agents. According to McKinsey, organizations are planning to increase digital interactions one and a half times in 2024. The top three areas identified for investment include technology that improves omnichannel and digital capabilities, such as chatbots and AI tools, automating manual activities in contact centers, and implementing advanced analytics capabilities. 

A Different Approach to Workforce Planning

An area where some brands are struggling to keep up is in workforce management (WFM). Many typical WFM systems were built for a telephony-based world that no longer exists. Although any type of forecasting and scheduling is complex, when you add in digital channels, multi-step interactions that require other departments’ assistance, and the need for agents to have flexibility in their schedules, WFM may seem next to impossible. That’s why it is so important to have an agile and flexible WFM solution that lets you accommodate for these shifts in requirements. 

The Future of Customer Service in Action

With AI and other technology, the future of customer service is here already for many organizations. What enables the contact centers to deliver on the promises of better customer experiences is the implementation and optimization of technology investments. Contact centers that don’t prioritize their digital transformation journeys are likely to face continued customer dissatisfaction and decreased brand loyalty.

Getting customer care right depends on prioritizing and investing across the people, operations, and tech aspects of the customer care strategy. You can leverage 5CA’s example as you look to build out your capabilities and invest in your digital care strategy.

  • Set out a clear vision for your organization, capturing what excellence looks like.
  • Include your contact center in your digital strategy and help agents understand their roles in the digital transformation
  • Consider an assessment of people, processes, and technology when evaluating a large-scale digital transformation.
  • Launch a digital transformation program based on the assessment and data gathered.
  • Give your contact center a central role in the digital first experience. Agents will need to understand the full end-to-end customer experience.

The future of customer service is already here, with personalized digital interaction being a common expectation of your consumers.  If done well, customer experience (CX) presents a great opportunity to build loyalty and long-term relationships with customers, creating organizational resilience and a strong competitive advantage in the future. Learn more – Watch the 5CA webinar

The Future of Customer Service: A Shift to Digital Contact Center future of customer service
Nikki Quinn

Beginning as a contact center agent, Nikki Quinn has worked in the contact center industry for over 30 years. When she's not leveraging her passion for employee engagement and customer experience to help Playvox customers achieve outstanding business performance, you'll find her driving her daughter to handball practice or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen.

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