2018? What? What happened to 2017? If you are like me, this time every year I wonder how did the year go by so fast? I spend time reflecting about what really happened in 2017, and I also try to frame my thinking with out with the bad, in with the good.
Data breaches seemed to take the cake this year (again). According to Identity Force, data breaches rose 40% from 2015 to 2016. 2017 was worse yet. Large scale data breaches made the news again; hitting many industries such as hospitality, food services, health care, credit, and internet services. So, if it’s true what “they” say, and history tends to repeat itself, we can expect another large-scale breach in 2018. Now that I know what 2018 will likely hold on the cringe worthy side, let’s look at the some of the good things that the customer service and call center industry has to offer.
With consumer trends continuing to shift to eCommerce, the need for highly qualified customer service agents has brought job growth to the industry. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that nearly 3 million workers are employed in the industry and customer service as a career is expected to grow 10% from 2014-2024 outpacing other industries. It’s big business! As recently stated in the Call Center Commerce Tracker from PYMTNS.com, “as of year-end 2016, call center software represented a $13.27 billion industry in the United States. One recent study found nearly three-quarters of all centers worldwide annually bring in more than $1 billion in revenue, and nearly 40 percent bring in more than $5 billion per year through product sales and subscription renewals”.
Thanks partially to the data breaches mentioned above, Multi-factor authentication methods like voice biometrics, facial recognition, and call origination forensics continue to grow. Call centers have also begun to adopt live agent call technologies to prevent numeric details of sensitive information from being seen or heard. All of these with protecting consumers as the ultimate goal.
Lastly, customer service that results in customer satisfaction remains a top priority for companies. We have seen an influx in new technologies that help companies with this initiative. Multi-channel customer service capabilities, digital assistants using chat bots and artificial intelligence, etc. continue to improve and deliver expedited customer service. The adoption rate of these technologies with companies and consumers alike is on the rise. 2018 will prove to be a huge year in the increase in capabilities and efficiencies of the above-mentioned technologies and the approach to customer service.
Although the massive data breaches and the dreaded identity theft stories have dominated media headlines, don’t forget to take a look at the good. There is job growth, technical advances, and above all else, still a focus on customer satisfaction. Bring on 2018!