Call Centers may not be in any danger of dying but their role is definitely changing. According to a recent study conducted by Loudhouse Research it was found that 69 percent of Business to Consumer (B2C) companies see their call centers as critical for generating revenue. Technology is also having a huge impact on call centers ,as they lose their traditional role of being the preferred avenue for customer support. Here we will look at how call centers are evolving and what we can expect to see from call centers in the future.
The Growing Importance Of Revenue Generation
In the past call centers were viewed primarily as a cost center. The focus of the call center was to provide support for customers and service their needs. That traditional role of call centers is rapidly changing. Management is increasingly demanding that cost centers move towards a lead and revenue generating role. There is an increasing level of understanding that having a customer on the telephone is one of the best opportunities to sell that customer. This may include up selling the customer to premium versions of their existing service or products. It may also mean cross selling the customer to completely different products and services that the company offers. One of the advantages of talking with a customer on the phone is that it is much easier for the representative to gauge the callers needs and requirements.
How Technology Is Driving The Traditional Contact Center Extinct
Traditionally when a customer wanted to contact a company the first thing they would do is pick up the telephone. However the modern consumer is much more technology savvy. They are used to using email, live chat and social media in order to find the answers to their questions. Because of these developments contact centers need to respond to the new avenues of contact. In the future more resources in contact centers will be focused on these digital channels. That will mean retraining contact center staff in order to understand the nuances of this technology. Companies that fail to keep up with technology will suffer significant consequences as a result.
Why Contact Centers Must Respond To New Developments In Technology
Unanswered or badly handled social media queries or complaints can badly damage a companies reputation. A recent example which illustrate this danger is a customer who used Twitter’s advertising platform to get attention for his Tweet complaint, after he felt ignored by customer service at British Airways. Using paid advertising he was able to bring enormous attention to the fact that British Airways had lost his fathers luggage. The story was even picked up by major publications like Forbes. The companies response on Twitter was that they were only able to service queries during normal working hours. The fact that a major airline is still not providing 24 hours a day social media support shows that there is still significant room for progress.
How Self Service Is Eliminating Call Centers
One of the biggest changes in customer support over the past decade has been self service. Self service technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated and allowing customers to solve their own problems. Two examples of self service are peer to peer support and walk through guides. Peer to peer support often involves forums where customers can post questions and have it answered by other users of the service. Even companies as large as Alibaba and Google are using peer to peer to provide customer support. One of the advantages of this system is that users are able to access previously asked questions and instantly find answers to their problems.
Walk through guides are also providing customers with self service support. The best example of this technology is WalkMe which enables companies to create Walk thrus that provide step by step support for the customer as they are using a website. These technologies eliminate the need for customers to phone a call center in order to receive help.
The traditional model for a contact center is almost dead. There is now a wide spread level of awareness that contact centers have a huge potential for increasing revenues. Contact Centers are also evolving in response to developments in technology and especially social media. While in most industries call centers may not be about to become extinct they are certainly being forced to move into new territory.
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