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“If there is something wrong in your neighborhood -Who you gonna call?” “If there’s something weird and it don’t look good -who you gonna call?”

Remember Ghostbusters -the comedy from the 80’es where the three guys specialized in finding and destroying ghosts from people’s houses. The film used to be one of my childhood favorites, and I recently watched it together with my children. Next day at work I realized the theme song of the film had caused an earworm with quite new lyrics : “Who you gonna call? -Call Center”.  With this rephrased theme song in my mind I started thinking how things have changed since the 80’s presented in that film. Then I happened to see a blog post by Bethany Wallace in which she wrote how difficult it can be to get proper customer service when needed and she referred to Ghostbusters saying that if she ever sees a ghost, she certainly knows whom to call –which is not the case with many real-life issues. It made me smile to realize that Ghostbusters had made someone else also to think about call centers too.

One thing has definitely changed since the 80’s: there is more of everything now.There are more ways to contact: you don’t just call, you also email, chat or tweet. So also Ghostbusters would need to build a multichannel contact center to capture the customer requests and find the right specialist to handle the ghost issue the customer is having.  Companies have more products and services, so Ghostbusters would probably also offer for example “talking to the spirits” service to have a compelling service portfolio. And, of course, there is more competition and more expectations from the customers,  -if the Ghostbusters team failed to meet my expectations, I would turn to competing ghost exterminator companies.

Okay, enough of ghosts, back to real people. In the world with this “more is more” mentality, what about contact center agents -how do they cope with this variety? How are they able to make the customers happy when customers reach out to them via multiple contact channels with more difficult request and higher expectations? Luckily, things have changed in this area too. Agents have better tools than just a phone on their desk ringing constantly, there is a lot of intelligence and advanced contact center technology that works in the background before the call is even answered.

I think the main purpose of contact center technology is to enable customer service agents to concentrate on the customer. The agents have the skills and attitude to serve each customer individually, so technology is there to make sure they have time and tools to do so.

Technology helps predict the needed amount of contact center agents at certain time -so that the agents have the time they need to handle the calls. Technology helps route the customer inquiries to the agent who has the best skills to solve the problem, so that the agents can concentrate on issues they are good at. Technology helps combine different sources of data and make them available for the agent so that he has all the info he needs to do his job well. Technology is there to connect different channels of communication so that neither the customer nor the agent has to worry about the avenues of contact. In short, technology is there to make the complex simple. That is what enables the agents to focus on the customer and offer a personalized customer service.

In her blog post, Bethany Wallace is calling out for a new mindset of respecting the customers and making them happy –as they are the ones who keep the business alive. It is true that good customer service needs to be a core mindset in companies.  As a nice coffee break reading, I would like to recommend Neal Shact’s post about the future of contact centers

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