2021: The Top Trends for the Coming Year

A drive for new levels of business productivity

Collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams have become essential during the pandemic, and the incredible surge in users will see the channel looking for innovative ways to add value in this area during 2021. We are also seeing significant demand for visibility of staff productivity and well-being metrics so businesses can ensure they maintain the highest levels of customer experience.  With unified communications and collaboration at the heart of business communications, analytics across this entire landscape will be vital in building an effective customer engagement strategy.

Staff productivity is all about understanding the behaviour of teams, whether working in the office or remotely (or a combination of both) and ensuring they have the help they need to be productive.  This might include education about punctuality and etiquette for online meetings or the ability to easily share recordings across teams for better knowledge and information sharing. Managers must also be able to review activity to understand the wellbeing of their staff. The ability to monitor and trend levels of engagement will show if there has been a big change in someone’s activity, perhaps a sudden move too high or too low.  Managers can then better manage staff wellbeing both in line with work trends and a company’s remote-working policy. Gaining a solid understanding of staff wellbeing is proven to impact staff productivity and performance.

An holistic view of Customer Experience

Managing customer engagement will be a major focus as businesses strive to understand how their remote teams are engaging with customers. Managers need to be able to review analytics and recordings across all collaboration activities and external meetings to drive consistency in approach, excellence in customer experience and to identify and counter negative trends. Having this information available via dashboards and drill down reports will empower cross-functional teams and strengthen CRM systems to achieve a cohesive customer service strategy.

Adherence to regulatory compliance policies is also much more challenging with a disparate workforce, so bringing in effective visibility tools that provide managers with real-time analysis of compliance against business policies is essential.

Application trends

In terms of the big application trends coming in 2021, alongside collaboration analytics, APIs will continue to evolve to strengthen business ecosystems including CRM applications. The focus on customer experience will continue with customer journey analytics and customer experience dashboards providing clear visibility of interactions and enhancing the understanding of customer satisfaction levels especially as we continue to work from home.

In 2021, Tollring plans to widen the addressable market for its channel partners, entering the mid-market contact centre space with strong supervisor and agent console features for Cisco BroadWorks, delivering cost-effective and easy-to-use features previously reserved for the larger more formal contact centre environment. Mid-market organisations can gain a full understanding of customer engagement both within the context of their call centre and within the context of their entire business, predict trends, and help to improve staff productivity at every customer touchpoint to maximise customer experience.

We believe that speech analytics will finally be accessible to SMEs next year, in a cost-effective way.  Microsoft is introducing features for MS Teams that automatically capture and deliver a recap of the meeting recording, transcript, chat and shared files. Speech-to-text capabilities will become further commoditised due to market demand and therefore more accessible and commercially viable for SMEs to access.  AI driven analytics that can mine conversations will unlock valuable insights from call recordings and deliver a powerful understanding of customer engagement.

Revenue assurance more important than ever

Improving protection against SCAM calling is a continuing issue for 2021 and our new sophisticated application that builds on our market leading telecoms fraud protection capabilities has been designed to combat scammers. The solution is delivered as SaaS for any calling platform and will analyse call traffic, make it easier for the channel to set rules and help end customers to identify CLI spoofing scams and robocalling fraud.  This is an industry-wide issue that will continue to require a proactive and collaborative industry-wide approach.

We believe 2021 will be an exciting year! For all of the set-backs thrown at us all by the pandemic and the adjustments businesses have been forced to make, we are grateful to be in an industry that is, and will remain, at the heart of business productivity and customer engagement.