In the era of customer obsession, the experience we deliver customers is the new battlefield on which organizations are competing. Once the “uncool kid” of the party, the contact center has found new fame in heralding the customer journey – and customer service experts have become pivotal to the experience, employing new tools and technology to give your customers what they need, when they need it.
But if there is one thing we know, it’s that ever-increasing customer expectations, in tandem with an exponential increase in the rise of technology, are driving the shift to an entirely new model. It’s not a case of bolting on technologies to the existing model – but one of ongoing, fundamental change.
In the foreseeable future, the contact center will continue to hold a vital position in the intersection between the organization and the customer. But the way it operates, the very role of an agent, the jobs they do and the ways they interact with customers will change radically.
McKinsey predicts that by 2030, 800 million jobs could be lost to automation. Some questions that we ask ourselves daily at VXI include:
- What role does the agent play in the future of the customer experience?
- How will the customer expect to interact with organizations in the future?
- What technologies should we be investing in today to prepare us for tomorrow?
While we could write volumes on the changing space that is customer care, here are three key changes that we see impacting the future of our industry.
From ‘care’ to ‘experience.’
The contact center has the opportunity to become the organizational hub for all customer interaction. Today’s customer experience is often siloed, and disjointed across many departments, causing a mishmash of customer journeys - resulting in customer confusion.
Much like the evolution from the call center to the contact center to accommodate the creation of new digital channels, the future will see the creation of the “Experience Center.” Combining both proactive roles such as customer success with traditional reactive roles, the experience center will focus on ensuring that customer experience is enhanced as your service is used. The key? Personalized, tailored services, driven by analytics to deliver a truly unique (and valuable) service.
The Internet of Things – and the channel-less customer experience
With 24 billion IoT devices predicted to be in the world by 2020, it’s easy to see that the once clear lines between face to face, voice and digital are gearing up to blur even more as technology advances. Where does this leave the future of the contact center?
It’s no longer just chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) on the horizon – customers will expect to interact with organizations when they want and where they want. And no matter the channel, customers expect a seamless interaction. What happens next as we move from omnichannel to channel-less customer experience?
Technology: an enabler, but also a potential dead end
Increasingly technology has a role to play in augmenting agents’ capabilities. But while the promise is great, this creates a quandary for those in customer care. How to choose where to invest? It’s important to remember that choice of technology stack will either hinder or amplify your ability to meet future customer need. Today its chatbots – tomorrow its voice search and AI. And then… who knows?
Technology stacks that put you on a single development path and limit your future options are to be avoided. Adopting a more flexible approach that ensures you can change as your customers change is the key. It’s for this very reason that we’ve partnered with a breadth of technology providers – giving us the ability to pick the right solution for the right or swap it out when it makes sense to do so.
We know things are set to change, and we’re proactively working toward the future of customer care with our finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving customer.
While no one can predict the future, we believe you need to be working with a partner that’s in the trenches of change. If you’d like to work with a partner that’s up to the task of helping your organization stay ahead, talk to us.