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Contact Center: The Digital Goalkeeper

- February 8, 2017 - 2 Comments

The Connected Digital Experience

I’ve visited the United Kingdom any number of times and enjoy the culture, history, and the food. (Well, maybe not the food as much.)

Recently I exposed my lack of verbal maturity in a large public forum there by using a sports metaphor to make a point about customer experience in 2017.  As soon as I referred to the game played by more people than any other one in the world as “soccer”, I knew I was in trouble. After my talk, no less than five U.K. residents kindly encouraged me to refer to the game as “football” next time around.

After my talk, no less than five U.K. residents kindly encouraged me to refer to the game as “football” next time around.

But I was encouraged by their reaction to my metaphor of how the modern contact center has become what I refer to as the “digital goalkeeper.”

While watching a football match while abroad, I noticed the difference in outcomes on two separate occasions. Both times, the play began with the attacking team moving past the first and second lines of defense to zero in on the goal keeper. In the first instance, the keeper made the right choice, anticipating where the ball was kicked, and deflected the ball. Cheers erupted. In the second case, the goal keeper failed at his primary task and the ball whizzed into the net. Groans ensued.

In the same way, the contact center of 2017 has the same opportunity. Think of the first line of defenders as mobile, self-service, and emerging bot technologies. Their primary job is to mitigate the need for live assistance, while still providing a good customer experience. These tools are not yet perfected, and you can’t automate every customer situation. When the customer “ball” gets past these lines of defense – the only thing between you and the ball reaching the net is the goal keeper.

Think of your contact center as your “digital backstop” and your agents as your “digital goalkeepers.”

Think of your contact center as your “digital backstop” and your agents as your “digital goalkeepers.” Due to the exceptions that the first lines of defense create, these are the resources that defend your business from a customer attrition event. (Also known as a goal for the other team.)

There’s a reason the goalkeeper often is one of the highest paid performers on a football team. Unlike most moments on the pitch (or field for soccer players) the goalkeeper often represents a specific moment of truth between success and failure – literally a split second. Underinvesting in a goalkeeper can have significant consequences – both on the pitch and in your contact center.

In 2017, one of your goals should be to improve your defense.  But make sure you don’t forget where the action really gets interesting – with your “goalkeepers” and the “customer net” they protect.

Find out more about Cisco’s position in the digitization era from Chief Digital Officer Kevin Bandy.

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2 Comments

    The connected experience in a dynamic environment is the way to keep ahead of the competition. Thanks Zack!

  1. Great analogy Zach and well put across!

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