The Evolution of the Contact Center Roaring Into 2020 & Beyond

By Chris Recio, Director of Contact Center & Advanced Applications

Another year has passed and as we dive head first into 2020, one thing is certain: The Contact Center is at the epicenter of a never-ending cycle of change all centered around Customer Experience and Customer Loyalty, that trend will continue in dramatic ways long beyond 2020.

The Contact Center operation of yesterday has morphed into a machine that demands our attention and challenges our capacity to keep pace with the onslaught of technology being released on a regular basis.

Customer Experience And The Contact Center

As technology continues to provide advancements in communication and automation, managing a Contact Center remains a demanding responsibility. Keeping pace with the persistence of technology has become a chore unto itself and many contact center operations are becoming lost among the masses.

Adding to that, the ripple effects of Customer Satisfaction dictate that we make a paradigm shift from solely thinking of our Contact Center Operation as a customer support process for interacting with customers, but rather, we need to extend our thoughts to a much larger process and formulate a Customer Contact Strategy redefining our purview of the Contact Center as a broader operation outside the four walls of the traditional ACD.

This is not new information. This has been on the forefront of the contact center landscape for several years, yet I meet clients and client vendors alike on a regular basis that lag far behind technology, and consequently flounder to meet the basic needs of their customers, and their customers’ customers.

The Future Is Now With Contact Center Technology

The latest trends of recent years in contact center technology include: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Bots of every kind, the Internet of Things (IoT), Speech Recognition, Text-to-Speech, Speech Analytics, Sentiment Analysis, and virtually Automation of every kind. These advancing technologies provide the business the means of creating a Customer Contact Strategy to meet the needs of any imaginable process to satisfy customers, both proactive and reactive. But few know where to begin when it comes to developing or expanding their Customer Contact Strategy, and many are simply doing what they’ve always done.

While there are many options for moving forward, too many operations do not include the baseline necessary features to help you move from a Contact Center Operation into developing a Customer Contact Strategy.

Today’s changing contact center requires that operational managers step back from what they know to begin developing new thought philosophies about the contact center operation and this requires more strategic thinking outside the all-too-common operational KPIs.

As an example and as I have said in many presentations and previous blogs, KPI data and reporting are simply ways of quantifying a result. The black-and-white metrics of any reportable KPI should be viewed as symptoms to a much greater story.

Yet, few managers and supervisors I meet take the time to truly analyze the data with a focus on creating programs and/or strategies to improve their operations, educate personnel, and strengthen customer satisfaction. Frankly, many managers and supervisors have not been given the tools, insights, or experiential education required to help develop strategic thinkers.