As multichannel comes of age in 2014, Richard McCrossan, Strategic Business Director at Genesys, shares his list of the top emerging trends for 2014 in the contact centre.

According to a recent Ovum international study of 8,000 consumers, the majority of consumers are now using three or more channels to communicate with customer service, with 52% of consumers using three to four communication channels, and 22% using five or more. But which channels are going to emerge as killer channels in 2014?

1 – The smartphone

Mobile phones are fundamentally remapping the relationship between the consumer and the company. The mobile has already played a huge part in customer service during 2013, but today’s mobile apps tend to only offer a one way transactional function. With mobile use still on the rise, companies will have to integrate mobile apps into their overall customer experience, providing a seamless transition between self-service applications and live assistance to deliver the best possible customer experience. As a result, mobile apps will serve as an increasingly important customer service touch point in 2014.

2 – Webchat

Webchat will form a huge part of any digital customer service strategy in 2014. This year we've seen webchat develop in very experimental stages in the contact centre, yet it is fast becoming the channel of choice for many customers, particularly the younger generation.

Webchat sits comfortably alongside social media, as it allows organisations to draw customers into a more private dialogue, where they can discuss personal details and specific issues in a one-to-one channel. However in order to make webchat work in 2014, access to full customer interaction history will be key.

3 – WebRTC

In 2014, customer service will undergo a new wave of innovation with an increase in use of WebRTC. WebRTC identifies that a customer may be struggling in a web self-service channel and proactively offers assistance via a human interaction. This allows the customer to have a convenient, visual experience on their desktop or mobile device with a smooth transition to a live voice conversation with an agent.

In 2014 we will see that WebRTC will significantly lower customer effort and provide a better customer experience by offering proactive, intelligent service with the interaction context carrying through the entire customer journey.

4 – Skype

Skype is another touch point that is going to open up an exciting range of possibilities for contact centres and customer experience strategies in 2014. At the touch of a button the customer will be able to contact an agent in a contact centre in seconds.

Skype even enables the customer to see the agent. At the click of a button the customer can contact an agent, start a video conversation and have their issue resolved. No need to exit what they are doing, call the contact centre and spend time explaining the problem. And it’s easy – this technology can be transferred from an X-Box console to a TV or even a mobile device so that the customer can receive on-the-go support.

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