I originally wrote this about 5 years ago, feels like we are already moving towards some of these coming true.
A contact centre – but not as we know it….
Will we all be wearing silver suits and travelling to work in hover cars? Probably not, but we will be working in a different way in 2020. The contact centre as we know it is evolving. Technology, culture and customer expectations are all impacting how we want and expect to interact with organisations.
Trends are already emerging about working from different spaces, self-service and unified communications technology – so are these trends set to continue? How will they impact organisations interaction with their customers? And how do contact centres need to change to take account of them?
Automation won’t be a choice in 2020, it will be the standard. The luxury of a full time team dedicated to conversations with customers will be something that companies have removed. In its place will be fully automated services based on customers profiles, past behaviours and purchase patterns. Companies will be able to predict what you buy, and the questions you’ll ask about the product and automate their responses to you on an individual level
Speaking to, or interacting with a dedicated person for service will still exist but it will be a niche activity that companies will charge for.
Contact Centre without the centre:
With the Governments hover commute project pushed back to 2030 due to cost pressures, travelling to work is still a minority activity. Most of us will work from our homes, or community ‘hub’ buildings near our homes. Environmental awareness, and general overcrowding on all forms of transport will continue to increase, and the current trend to work from home or from ‘other’ spaces will become the norm rather than the exception. Technology will have improved to the point where we will have high quality, high speed network connections everywhere so you can be in touch in any location. Given that all of these are shared spaces, they will never have the perfect groomed acoustics of a dedicated, so future voice devices will need to have a performance that can make it appear you are working in a dedicated space.
Turning the organisation inside out:
UC has already transformed the customer experience, enabling contact centre agents to get hold of people with the relevant skill sets to address queries faster. However, as the technology matures the idea of publishing your organisations entire availability externally will also become the norm.
No longer will people have to dial 0800 numbers to get through to a contact centre agent in an organisation who may or may not be able to help. With completely open presence a customer will be able to go onto a company’s website and connect to the appropriate person directly via a link which will automatically call them and initiate the contact with the correct person from the outset. Presence will advance to include location awareness, so you will be able to find someone near to you and with the right skill-set
Ultimately 2020 will see the end of the contact centre as we know it. Turning your organisation inside out will mean that each employee is responsible for interactions with customers. Technology will support direct interaction between customers and the right employee – these interactions will be a two-way exchange of knowledge. For customers wanting to enable services or purchase products – fully automated and predictive processes will be used. And finally, there will be no ‘centre’ – teams will be distributed across multiple environments.