The contact center of tomorrow – 5 ways it will be different - TELUS International Europe

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  • The contact center of tomorrow – 5 ways it will be different

    August 6, 2014

    By Grégoire Vigroux

    contact center of tomorrow

    The contact center of 2014 is almost unrecognizable from the call center of 1984, 1994, and even 2004. The industry has definitely seen its fair share of change – and yet, within the next few years, we can expect even more change to come.

    This matters to anyone in business. As more and more business processes are outsourced to specialist contact centers, the ability to find the best provider is becoming a key business concern. In the past, outsourced contact center vendors were simply evaluated on their low-cost ability to provide basic customer service but today, they are evaluated on their strategic ability to deliver on the customer journey and add-value to the overall customer experience.

    It pays then to be aware of how this industry is changing, and to be certain that you are working with a contact center provider that has evolved with the increased business demands and customer expectations.

    With this in mind, here are five key changes to the contact center that we see taking place now and over the next several years:

    1) Contact centers will be multinational

    When it comes to serving global companies with global customers, it makes sense that global contact center providers will deliver the best benefit for multilingual talent, economies of scale, and global efficiencies.  Successful contact centers are choosing to expand, partner and internationalize their operations to meet the new demands brought about by their clients’ own international growth.

    Global contact centers with platforms capable of serving dozens of languages, preferably from a single site, will be able to provide the global multilingual solution major contractors desire. In addition, the management of call centers is becoming much more sophisticated. Nowadays, this sector attracts more and more graduate managers and career consultants, compared to a few years ago when the field was occupied by entry-level candidates.

    2) Staff attrition will get the attention it deserves

    Staff retention has been a perennial problem for the contact center industry. According to a study this year by the Everest Group, entitled The Business Impact of Contact Center Attrition, it is possible to quantify the operational costs and loss of revenue directly caused by staff departure.

    According to the study findings, “a typical U.S.-based 500-person contact center with a 30 to 50% annual attrition rate could suffer a net loss of US$1-2 million in business value across cost and revenue over one year.” The issue of contact center attrition rates is obviously not new to the industry. What’s changing, however, is industry leaders’ awareness of this topic, and ability to address it.

    3) Generation Y has arrived

    Generation Y, those born between 1980 and 2000, is the new labor force for the sector. These individuals already account for 80% of the total number of employees in some contact centers. This generation is also on the “other side of the phone,” because its members are keen consumers, accounting for almost US$200 billion in spending per year worldwide.

    Excellent multi-taskers. Gen Y grew up surrounded by computers, mobile devices and video games. This generation is confident with technology but also tends to have a shorter attention span. The Internet puts everything at Gen Y’s fingertips. As a result, Gen Y has grown accustomed to rapid shifts in attention.

    Further, Gen Y makes decisions based on consensus – usually by checking social media. Gen Y members are team players and love helping to solve complex problems collectively. And importantly, for Gen Y, pay is not the only thing that counts. Understanding and being recognized for their contributions  matters a lot. Hence the importance of building a corporate culture that reflects the characteristics of this generation.

    4) Corporate culture will be the key to success

    Building a corporate culture that reflects the qualities of Gen Y is a major challenge for most companies. In contact centers we find many examples of highly motivated employees who have positively impacted brand perception via customer service delivery. This comes back to a corporate culture that is directly reflected in the frontline. As a result, building a strong and consistent corporate culture is now taken seriously by managers, since studies have shown cultures’ impact on employee engagement, customer service, and ultimately, bottom-line profitability.

    5) No longer a “sub-contractor” but a “value-adding partner”

    To survive, contact centers can no longer limit themselves to being mere suppliers, vendors, or sub-contractors. Today, providers must fully understand the processes of their clients and be able to evaluate and improve upon them. The goal is to deliver real economic levers to their clients, acting positively on costs, as well as on the quality and productivity of their work.

    In addition, contact center providers need to really understand their clients’ business including their strengths, competitive advantages, weaknesses, and challenges – so they can effectively serve and help them. Contact centers of the future will no longer be a means of mechanically applying client procedures and policies when it comes to customer service. A handful of companies in Europe have already anticipated this development, shaping their entire supervisory staff using Six Sigma methodology focused on continual business process improvements.

    Welcome to the contact center of the future – a multilingual, global player in which Generation Y will be a key driving force. Business leaders looking for a low-cost service will gradually fade, giving way to a more strategic model of outsourcing.

    Based on the developments that we see taking place today, the contact center of the future will not be a vendor-client relationship but rather a true strategic partnership based on a shared purpose of authentic brand building via amazing customer experiences.

    Looking for a fun read? Grab our free Everest Group paper for the 8 signs when it’s time to oust your outsourcer.

    gregoire

     

     

    Gregoire Vigroux is Marketing Director for TELUS International Europe






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