Shake it up, CX! In 2022 the trends are all about you

Customer experience, customer engagement, customer, customer, customer – the future of the contact centre pivots around people.
Read time 4min 10sec

In 2021, Gartner drew a thick black line under the importance of digital infrastructure, analytics and customer journeys. The research firm predicted these would be critical touchpoints for the successful contact centre throughout the year, and it wasn’t wrong.

But now, as the world moves into the third year of the pandemic, companies need to build on these foundations and truly embed technology, proactive customer support and relevant analytics into their contact centre infrastructure.

Gartner believes that in 2022, it will be the enablement of personalised and contextual customer engagement that will put the business on the map, and keep it there.

However, this should not be the only feather in the virtual cap – automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and customer experiences should all be on the 2022 wish list right now.

Automation, the great enabler

While automation doesn’t sound as exciting and on-the-edge as say, artificial intelligence or personalised customer engagement, it’s one of the most important trends to emerge in 2021 and should dominate contact centre decision-making in 2022.

Implemented in conjunction with chatbots and other business applications or systems, automation can manage the end-to-end customer service process for multiple interactions, especially in self-service.

Customer self-service is meeting expectations for both the customer and the contact centre, as both prefer the quick and easy resolution wins to lengthy calls and ‘please hold’ rage.

However, to fully realise the potential of self-service, companies need to ensure they offer advanced self-service options for every type of customer interaction. As Gartner points out, self-service can fail unless capabilities are well designed, and have the right functionality and content needed for customers to resolve queries on their own.

Automation is one of the most important trends to emerge in 2021 and should dominate contact centre decision-making in 2022.

This ties in with an increasingly important shift in the ‘no service’ approach to customer service, as outlined in the Call Centre Helper research paper entitled ‘How do you compare?’. The paper found that 48.2% of contact centres measured customer effort in 2020, and the figure increased to 55.7% in 2021.

This highlights the fact that the best customer service is when no service is needed – the ultimate in customer experience transformation and in leveraging the potential of automation.

In addition, automation is key to really driving the functionality and relevance of chatbots. You need the right technology in place to ensure customers are sent through the correct channels to resolve their requests, and that the agent workload is measurably reduced so they can improve their service on the calls they do take.

Analytics, in every corner

Whether it’s data analytics or speech analytics, this is one trend that no organisation should ignore in 2022. Speech analytics is immensely powerful within the contact centre environment.

Technology is now capable of analysing large call volumes to pick out specific pain points, or slices of data that can be used to address recurrent problems within the contact centre and business, or to find areas that are hampering the agent’s ability to resolve calls effectively.

Analytics can help to refine processes and operations to the point where call times can be measurably reduced, and this can fundamentally impact company cost savings and boost the customer experience.

In a contact centre sales environment, analytics can also be used to compare customer conversations that result in successful sales versus unsuccessful sales; for example, to assess the failure points and refine customer approaches.

Intelligence, in all the right places

Another of the leading trends shaping the market right now is intelligent technology driven by AI, analytics and automation. These rely on intelligence to deliver smart and extensive support.

Artificial intelligence is, of course, still one of the hottest technology commodities on the market right now. It’s being infused, like chamomile tea, into everything from call recording analytics to chatbots to proactive customer engagements.

This is because it offers a competitive-edge – one so sharp it can slice through customer dissatisfaction and completely change engagement dynamics.

With AI-enabled systems and toolkits at the company’s disposal, it is far better equipped to handle the complexities introduced by the pandemic. Yes, this is a word that nobody wants to hear ever again. But it is a reality that every contact centre must prepare for – hybrid working, online engagements, limited in-person problem resolution.

Whether it’s building a contact centre capable of supporting agents working from multiple geographic locations, or it’s using analytics to understand and connect with diverse customers and markets, technology is the fuel for success.

It’s the connective tissue that holds the customer at the centre of the business story.

Wynand Smit


With over 10 years of operational and strategic experience in the South African contact centre industry, Wynand Smit's understanding of technology and its application to business has benefited multiple organisations across a variety of industries. As CEO of contact centre solutions provider INOVO, he is passionate about using the contact centre as a platform to drive positive change in a business.

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