The contact center came into being nearly 25 years ago and is now the de facto communication channel for organizations to connect with their customers. A lot has changed since then. And there’s much more change to come with mobility, big data, collaboration, and the Internet of Everything making their collective mark on the user experience.
Recently Paul Stockford, founder and chief analyst of Saddletree Research, and I discussed the evolution of the contact center and our predictions for what’s next. You can listen to the Future of IT podcast episode via iTunes.
Our top predictions:
- Companies will rise to meet the best levels of customer service being set by companies like Amazon and Zappos. Quality of customer care is an indicator of companies who are at risk for being disrupted by innovators.
- Business- to-business and internal contact centers will increase. In specialized fields like oil and gas and manufacturing, these centers can aid business partners and employees while they are doing field dispatch work or involved in a safety incident. Other industries will follow suit.
- Data will be a huge part of customer service interactions. The Internet of Everything will provide data from sensors, actuators, and wearables and it will be correlated across domains (i.e., current traffic data + your car data + your car service history, etc.) to create more valuable dialogue, recommendations, and experiences.
- Customer service will call you before you even know you have a problem. Contact centers won’t rely on customers to initiate the call to raise an issue. This will be an automated function. The ability to proactively care for customers as part of a routine customer care practice is going to be a key differentiator in the future.
- The human element will be critical once again. The contact center may get updates from connected devices, but interactions with customers cannot be automated. Human intervention is critical for success. The contact center is going to be a major part of the shift to the Internet of Everything, which brings together the human element and the Internet element.
The bottom line is customer service is never going to go out of style, but those companies who can get ahead of the trends, to deliver the avant garde user experiences, will be the winners.
• Read Paul Stockford’s Here, There and Everywhere: The Beatles and the Internet of Everything
• See statistics on big data, mobility and mobile traffic from the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecase Update, 2013–2018