The proliferation of digital technology and high-speed connectivity is revolutionizing the interactions between organizations and their customers. Communication is no longer limited to traditional voice channels. Customers expect a seamless exchange of information across multiple channels, including mobile and social media. As customer experience becomes an essential factor in business growth, contact centers have also gained prevalence.
Evolution of the Contact Center Landscape
The contact center space has undergone gradual change since I began my career, shifting from manual dependence toward a more automated approach. The incorporation of technology has brought greater efficiency into the contact center operations. Particularly in Europe, technology has become more reliable, enabling humans to work seamlessly with machines and enhance customer experiences. The same trend is now beginning to emerge in the APAC region as well. And then there is omni-channel experiences that we can deliver at the call center. I love it when I call a call center and they know exactly what my last engagement with the brand was and through which touch point. I look forward to seeing what else is possible with this.
Capitalizing on Novel Innovations
Innovation in the last few years has focused on a seamless synergy of machines and humans in the call center. Although technology has advanced significantly since then, it has yet to facilitate a faultless handoff from machines to humans. There have been discussions on robust solutions designed to empower contact centers in interpreting the tone and the emotional state of the customer. I believe it can lead to the development of better empathy with the customers, ensuring impeccable management.
Many of the innovations are independent of each other and have yet to realize relevant use cases. For instance, interaction with the callers can often be impeded by the inability of call center agents to interpret the emotional state of the callers effectively.
Knowing this, a call center agent can convert a crisis to a trust building interaction.
After all as Jim Rohan (motivational speaker) said, “One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”
I am confident that this situation is not very far off, say in another 3-5 years.
Role of Technology in Contact Centers
Contact centers are the gateway between organizations and their customers, and their role encompasses the fulfillment of consumer requirements. Therefore, having technology that deliver the right information at a click of a button to the call center agent / bot is critical.
I therefore believe the next stage of technological integration requires the assessment of the ‘emerging’ customer expectations trends in various markets and deliver against those use cases.
And then we have the local language NLP, which is still not in place for all local languages in the region, a challenge which hopefully be sorted soon.
Bringing Efficiency and Effectiveness into Contact Centers
The return of investment (ROI) is a critical aspect to consider during the incorporation of technological solutions in contact centers. The current available measurements to me are incomplete. Even today, I am only learning about the call center effectiveness in isolation. What would help me though is how is, it performing in the bigger scheme of things. For example, call center vs. digital media spends. This is still a lot of debate on what the most common denomitors should be on this.
Plus, organizations have to consolidate multiple solutions to form one perfect solution or create their own (proprietary) solutions. This from time to time makes the tech behind the call center a difficult conversation. However, if we can deliver a ‘wow’ moment to every customer, converting every call to ensure it servers the caller’s needs ( jobs to be done for the customer), then soon rather than later the call centers become the most efficient and effective source of communications.
Yes, though, I do wish that we had a more affordable and plug-and-play solutions available for delivering experiences through the call center. Something that we can do a lot with the websites and app. This is not about digital transformation. This is about making digital transformation affordable for the call centers.