Last month, I told you about an upcoming online debate called: “Will Technology Kill the Call Center?”
Research firm Software Advice moderated the event earlier this month with a panel of call center and customer service technology experts from IntelliResponse, Drumbi, Avaya Inc. and Etech Global Services.
The 45-minute discussion was hosted in a Google+ Hangout where the panel answered a list of scripted questions before fielding queries from the digital audience of 40. The group talked about trends in customer contact channel utilization, technology and the future call center.
The speakers offered advice for consumer contact strategy and ways companies can prepare for the future.
The speakers agreed first of all that customer contact channel utilization for non-traditional channels – such as virtual agents – is growing. This is primarily the result of better technology that can finally deliver on the promises from six years ago. So customers are now empowered with a choice of how they want to contact you. But this doesn’t mean they are using these contact avenues instead of phone – it just means by the time they get there they are likely at a critical point.
“The company needs to be smarter when they get there,” Avaya Director of Customer Experience Management Laura Basset said. This means knowing whether the customer interacted with self service, and what they looked at. Did they ask a question to a virtual agent? Did they log into their online account?
Ultimately, the debate ended with the agreement that the call center won’t disappear because of technology – it’s already gone. The reborn contact center is a different environment where agents are increasingly expected to handle interactions from myriad channels. This will continue to change the skill set and expectations from these facilities. Watch for more changes to come, they warned.
Click here to watch the entire recording.
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