Future multi-channel contact centres – what will they look like?

We already have multiple ways for customers to reach out to the customer service department in a company. Writing a letter, calling, and chatting on IM are all common today, but things are changing fast.

Social media is one obvious change. If companies are monitoring what is being said about them and their products online and intervening in those discussions before a formal complaint is ever made then some differences are already obvious.

Each situation will always be different. Each complaint will be unique. And anything the agent does to intervene will be visible to other members of the public, with the ability to freely share the discussion with others.

Calls in a contact centre are regularly recorded and reviewed for training, but just imagine if every interaction between the customer and the agent are not only recorded, but also broadcast, with the ability for customers to share them with each other. This is exactly the situation if your agents are asked to start engaging with the public using a tool like Twitter.

It’s clear that this kind of engagement needs a good team – they must be capable of helping the customer in a way that the brand is proud of, because their every action will be on display.

Greater engagement means more skills. The agents not only need to take calls and follow a fairly set routine, referring to a supervisor if something goes wrong. They need to have excellent written and oral communication skills because the customer engagement is closer and more personal.

This opens a new world of opportunity. The developed world has suffered since the economic slowdown of 2008, with most major nations still bumping along with a lot of uncertainty and very little growth.

It’s the perfect economic climate for companies to want to get closer to their customers and if agents can engage in a way that is more intimate then both the customer and company will be happier.

And don’t forget the agents. If customer interaction is becoming more sophisticated then finding and retaining really good agents will be more important than ever.
Ripping Through the World

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