Technology is disrupting almost every industry, and call centers are no exception. And although the most important part of a call center's function — human interaction — isn't going away, how, when and where center representatives interact with customers and prospects is certainly changing. Emerging technologies are helping call centers and the reps who staff them connect more seamlessly and improve their performance across the board.
Connecting In An Always-Connected World
Chatbots deliver substantial value to organizations by answering basic questions and fielding simple requests for information. For example, an existing customer can ask a chatbot what a business's hours are or what their refund policy is. These questions, while elementary, are critical to customer satisfaction and would traditionally have required customers to connect with a human over the phone. Chatbots, however, can provide instant, personalized answers to customers while freeing up human reps to spend more time assisting customers with more complex challenges.
And if it sounds like chatbots are impersonal, consumers clearly don't feel that way. In fact, messaging is the preferred method of contact when it comes to support for people 55 and under. That's a win/win for everyone.
Social media is another tool that savvy customer support organizations are leveraging to provide outcomes for customers and interact with prospects. Social stopped being a novelty for teens and tweens years ago, and call centers are beginning to catch up. When used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool in your customer support arsenal, allowing reps to interact with users quickly and on a platform in which they're familiar. And when it comes to sales, social media can be a boon to your bottom line. Some 45% of buyers say that reading reviews, comments or feedback online helped sway their purchasing decisions.
What Gets Measured Gets Managed
One of the most impactful aspects of today's disruption from tech is the insight and analytics it generates. Today's tech can show businesses everything from real-time foot traffic statistics to what users clicked on and when. For call centers, this represents a massive opportunity: by viewing and analyzing user behaviors at different stages of support and sales processes across various contact channels, call centers can pinpoint bottlenecks and design efficiencies to help reduce customer wait time and improve outcomes. But remarkably, just 36% of call centers are able to track a customer journey spanning multiple channels. And only 17% can identify problem areas that create poor customer experiences.
That means the vast majority of call centers are missing the chance to make customers happier and make reps more productive and less stressed. Furthermore, they're missing the opportunity to analyze call transcripts and identify what customers want, question or complain about — and that's the kind of analysis that can lead to improved training, call scripts and decision trees.
Keeping Up Is Key
Like all industries that are experiencing digital disruption, call centers will either sink by failing to adapt or swim by implementing the latest and best new tech solutions. Call centers will find tremendous upside in adopting emerging applications designed to increase customer connectivity, reduce wait time, allow their reps to focus on bigger challenges and measure and improve their processes. Those that fail to do so will have a hard time staying competitive in the near future. But no matter where technology takes us in the years to come, one thing will always remain true: people are the power behind successful customer outcomes.
Greg Dyer is President of Commercial Staffing, Randstad US. He leads Randstad's in-house services concept and enterprise strategic accounts team, where he is responsible for strategic commercial sales, client delivery and account management for many of Randstad's largest, most complex clients. Dyer oversees a team of strategic account directors and in-house leaders and has a proven track record of establishing solid go-to-market strategies, setting and communicating clear vision and goals, and executing and delivering outstanding results in terms of growth and profitability. Under Dyer’s leadership, Randstad has significantly improved its strategic client delivery and fulfillment in many client staffing programs.