Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

ACD systems have been around since at least 1965 and perhaps even earlier. They have only become more important in the digital age and are now one of the key assets of any organization. Maintaining a call center and keeping it current is always a challenge: is your call center poised to tackle the innovations that 2019 demands? Here are the top technical innovations your call center should implement to stay at the top.

Multi-channel agent training

Today’s customers want to be able to contact businesses by their preferred channel of communication, whether that be phone, e-mail, or live chat. The last thing a customer wants is to engage with online chat and get an email in response, or send an email and get a phone call back.

Training agents to be adept at multiple channels is a key way of ensuring customer satisfaction. That said, it is unrealistic to assume every agent will be equally adept at e-mail, surface mail, video, online chat, and telephone interactions. However training every agent to work with at least two channels will enormously improve efficiency.

Data privacy and personalization

Privacy is always a concern, especially for a healthcare call center. At the same time, customers are increasingly demanding personalized interaction. Personalization and privacy may seem to be at odds, but all it takes to keep them in harmony is knowledge and a determination to hold them in balance.

That balance begins with robust employee training and regular follow-up, particularly when it comes to healthcare and credit card information. Transparency is also key: tell customers how you intend to use their information and they will be more likely to trust you with it. Finally, strong data security is a must.

Become multilingual

A call center in the United States can no longer expect every caller to be able to fluently discuss their issue in English. Many call centers are playing catch-up by advertising for a few bilingual hires; but the centers that get ahead of the competition will be the ones that embrace trends rather than just react to them.

Instead of hiring people who may be technically bilingual but struggle to be understood in one or the other language, focus instead on getting skilled call center agents; even if they can only do one language effectively. Better to have just three agents who can work brilliantly in Chinese than a dozen who speak the language but stumble through their call handling.

Embrace omni-channel software

The key to customer relationship management is great software that allows you to “remember” customers and send high-value callers to the best agents. Multi-channel software will also allow you to personalize the experience more effectively for customers and find out what their issues are quickly.

Addressing issues more efficiently is an obvious win for everyone, but by providing a better experience you also ensure more customer loyalty. Satisfied customers equal repeat customers, and that’s always an important end goal.

Start using workforce management

Workforce management (WFM) is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. It starts with analyzing productivity by department and at the individual level. That data is then leveraged with forecasting models and call volume records. The result is streamlined efficiency.

Once you start using the full power of your WFM, you know exactly how many agents you need working and at what point in the day. Rather than having all full-time employees working from nine to five, you may find it far more profitable to engage part-time call center agents – perhaps even working remotely – for at least part of the work day.

All of these innovations are about streamlining the process to make your center more effective, efficient, and profitable. If you want to get ahead, it is important to invest in this streamlining process now and keep an eye on the future.