The contact centre of the future
The role of the contact centre is all in the name.
A central place where real people can get in touch with an organisation about products and services.
That role hasn’t changed and will not change.
Contact centres are necessary, contact centre people are necessary, and contact centre evolution is – you guessed it – necessary.
Where needs must be met, answers provided and accounts managed – there must be people at the centre.
Without people, there is no emotional accountability for customer interactions. In short, there’s no quality of care standards for customer experience.
With the emergence of self-service technologies such as chatbots and the instant gratification of social platforms, there is an overwhelming concern within contact centres that jobs will be lost, and people power replaced by robot power.
What will happen to customer service as we know it when the empathy that only comes from human interactions is lost along with those jobs?
Seeing the opportunity
The good news is those fears could not be more misplaced.
Although it seems the logical thing to believe that jobs will be lost, evidence suggests roles are simply changing, rather than becoming redundant.
Contact centres are seeing job growth not reduced numbers.
New roles are being created and new skills being developed to service customers new expectations of the contact centre experience.
Anecdotal evidence from contact centre conferences backs this up with more call centres looking to implement technology solutions in the next 6-12 months to address popular self-service models.
Call centre staff are being moved to fill high volume tasks such as monitoring and controlling chatbot conversations, managing initial search queries to more accurately solve problems, and specialising in social media channels so that companies are engaged with their customers and potential customers 24/7.
This means new skill sets are driving the industry forward.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of something that creatively solves customer dissatisfaction.
The challenges of technical integrations
One of the biggest challenges for contact centres is reducing costs, driving efficiency and choosing the right path to a digital transformation.
It may be that all the problems that contact centre employees have faced over the years can be approached holistically by combining the right tools and right people – but the word integration is almost taboo within many companies.
A recent survey of 350 contact centre professionals found only 9.6% claim to integrate all their channels with integration one of the key concerns identified in the results.
Poor integration between systems can make an advisor’s job more challenging and decrease productivity so why aren’t contact centres integrating?
The answer may well be that they haven’t yet adopted the right technology for their business, or they simply don’t have an omnichannel solution that combines everything they need to make migration and digital training as simple as possible.
It’s also due to past experiences with poor technologies and low adoption rates that puts yet more platforms in the ‘all too hard’ basket.
Poor systems integration and poor choice of technologies is costing you money.
Holding onto a piece of legacy technology because it’s what you know and are used to is not a good enough excuse.
Evolve with the technologies developed to solve these contact centre problems – not create them.
It’s time for an overhaul – a spring clean
Budget, IT issues and a need for new technologies are the top 3 reported problems faced in contact centres today and these issues have been represented year on year.
So, what can be done within the contact centre so that it evolves beyond these problems?
The answer is usually to spend a bit more money and that’s what future contact centres will need to do in the short term if they are to evolve and save huge amounts of money and time in the long term.
Choose a platform that delivers most, if not all of what you need from a technology solution and consolidate existing channels.
Cut back on costs of running multiple subscriptions to different channels as well as the cost of training employees across channels.
Technologies now play a huge role in alleviating pain points and future-proofing the workplace.
By implementing a knowledge management solution that’s right for your organisation you can cut back on long term costs of training and onboarding, especially as more of these new roles emerge.
There is no shortage of technologies on the market telling you they’ll save the day.
The important thing to remember when vetting these options and comparing is that your staff won’t benefit from having to learn and navigate a plethora of platforms.
- Look for omnichannel solutions that integrate with some of the platforms you already use – making migration to new technologies and services easier on your resources.
- Look for a fair pricing model that gives you what you need without significantly damaging profitability
- Look for smart and innovative technologies that take your brand forward. Features like smart search that present only relevant information to the right people when they need it is one method for greatly diminishing the cost of time spent searching ad researching to answer and resolve a customer’s query, complaint or technical issue.
- Look for something that will grow with you and serve each of your departments, branches and distributed workers
- Choose something that will increase your productivity rather than drain your resources
- Choose something that helps your company stay current
- Choose a platform that offers a high standard of information governance, compliance and control
- Choose something you can make your own, so each team member feels excited using your system and empowered by what it does for them
Success is measured by CX performance
Customer satisfaction and first resolution are the top two prioritised metrics for accessing your contact centre success so no matter what piece of technology you’re looking at or what platform you decide to trial – ensure your strategy is always customer centred.
Empowering employees to give customers the very best experience is what you should be aiming for.
If your people have the knowledge at their fingertips and can communicate it to your customers – regardless of whether that is through a chatbot, a social channel, over the phone or face to face – then you have the tools to evolve and to thrive.
The future for contact centres who embrace digital technologies and the changes that come with them is bright.
Adopting platforms that are right, not just right now and acknowledging crucial new roles within existing and emerging teams and creating jobs to fill those roles is where we’ll see the great divide between companies whose budgets grow and those who continue to struggle.
Look at emerging self-service tech from the angle of opportunity and set those fears aside.
Your people are needed more than ever.
- Search: industry suppliers who specialise in contact centre technology >
- Read: 8 Tips for selecting the right technology for your contact centre >