Evolution of the Contact Center

 

By Guest Blogger,  Max Ball, Product Marketing, Virtual Contact Center at 8×8, Inc.

Maintaining a positive relationship with your customers is incredibly important, and a single, bad contact center experience can result in the loss of permanent business. Contact centers are exposed here, and as a result, companies might hesitate to make any significant changes- if it’s not broken why fix it? The sole objective for any contact center involves improving customer engagement.  So if customers seem satisfied, why throw a wrench into the works?

However, a recent Accenture Strategy report titled, “Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement”, found that once a provider loses a customer, 68% of consumers will not go back, with 83% reporting that if companies could provide customers with better live or in-person customer service, it would have impacted their decision to switch provider. This has resulted in more and more organizations coming to the realization that they have no option but to adapt to changes in customer behavior caused by the proliferation of new technologies that impact how consumers want to be serviced, through the channel of their choice. Here are three reasons why contact centers need to evolve to meet these needs, and why it’s beneficial to do so:

To embrace new technologies

While many contact centers utilize standard technologies such as Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR), the move to cloud is making new innovations more easily accessible- such as adding channels seamlessly or integrating with CRM and Workforce Optimization (WFO) systems–and redefining the concept of a traditional contact center.

Cloud-based contact centers have proven to be invaluable in eliminating maintenance headaches and increasing productivity. In addition they’ve enabled companies to more easily scale and grow globally and adapt to a rapid increase in customer demand—without burdening Contact Center Operations and IT workloads. This is a key reason why increasingly companies are moving their contact centers to the cloud.

In fact, DMG Consulting projects that the number of cloud-based contact center infrastructure seats will grow by 25 percent in 2016 and 2017. IDC expects similar growth, stating that U.S. spending on cloud contact center services will increase at a CAGR of 17.7% to $2 billion in 2019.

To expand across borders

Up until a few years ago, if a company needed support outside the U.S., they would have to open an international contact center or outsource to overseas agents. Today, companies have offices, contact centers and remote workers around the world, and this trend will only continue. With cloud, companies can easily deliver always on, 24/7, follow-the-sun, global support, without sacrificing audio clarity, lag times or delays that so often plague international connections. This allows businesses to provide service whenever, wherever and however a customer wants. If your contact center doesn’t operate in this way, you risk compromising company growth opportunities.

To transform work

Perhaps the biggest change we’ve seen in the contact center is a direct result of the changing nature of work. Today’s workers no longer operate in silos. Mobility, BYOD policies, the cloud and increased security have enabled workers to do their jobs from anywhere. In fact, 45 percent of U.S. employees work from home and IDC predicts that the U.S. mobile worker population will continue to grow, increasing from 96.2 million in 2015 to 105.4 million mobile workers in 2020.

The contact center has evolved with this nature of the global, remote workplace. Today’s contact center no longer looks like a row of people sitting at desks and talking into headsets at a single location. Now, it’s multiple locations around the world as well as someone standing on the showroom floor in Peoria or sitting in a Paris cafe chatting with customers via their tablet or laptops and answering calls on their smartphone. The benefit? Giving agents the freedom to be flexible not only boosts their morale, but also their productivity.

Contemplating changes to the way you manage customer interactions can be intimidating due to fear of the unknown and not knowing how customers will react. However, as companies and customer support departments embrace these new demands from their customers, society and/or advances in technology, they’ll reap the rewards of more engaged customers, which ultimately impacts the bottom line.

 

 

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