Future of Customer Service and Contact Centers
Contact centers have become a strategic asset for many companies – it is a place where customer loyalty can be created and strengthened. The current era of the empowered customer has helped to change the view of contact centers as today companies have to work harder to maintain customer relationships and to gain new customers – this of course means that they need to be doing things better than others. How far will companies go to serve their customers?
Think about this scenario…. It is Friday night and after work I go through my mail. I have received an invoice from my service provider and I notice a problem with the invoice. I immediately call the company. First I am offered self-service options but they do not offer the kind of help I need. I need to talk to an agent – instead of getting agent on the line I hear a polite message stating that the contact center is open only during weekdays until 5 pm. It is 6 pm and I feel let down and annoyed. I would like to take care of the problem now but I need to wait until Monday – very frustrating.
This kind of scenario has happened to me multiple times. Customers want contact center service to be easy, fast, consistent, and reliable. The age of the empowered customer has caused us to become a very impatient society – we want to be able to choose when and how we contact companies. Majority of companies already have options for the how – multichannel contact center operations has become a standard. What is difficult with this is that multichannel contact center is a dynamic term – new contact channels emerge and as customer adopt the new channels so should companies. Then we have the when – should customers be able to contact companies whenever it is the most convenient to them? Is 24/7 customer service something to aim for – will customers view service availability at any time as better customer service?
Amazon has introduced a feature which will empower customer even more. The recently released Amazon Kindle Fire has made contacting support service very easy – the device has a “Mayday” button which will connect the customer to Live customer support – the aim is that the customer is connected to an agent in 15 seconds or less. Is this the kind of service customers want?
How can contact centers satisfy today‘s customers who desire instant gratification? Social media is making us even more obsessed with availability and speed of service. Amazon is offering something that just is not possible or even necessary for majority of the companies but it still raises the bar for contact center support services. Independent analyst of the IP Communications Sector Jon Arnold brings up a good point in his blog about Amazon’s Mayday Button – Contact Center Implications. He mentions that Amazon’s Mayday feature raises a lot of questions for contact centers – one of them being ”just because you can, does it mean you should?”. It is a very good question. Customer service is challenging and in my opinion that is what makes is so fascinating. It will be interesting to follow the discussions around Amazon’s Mayday feature. Customers are changing, contact center industry is evolving – can’t wait to see what the future holds!
TMC will be hosting a webinar about the future of contact centers on November 11th at 2pm ET called “What Does Amazon’s “Mayday” Button Mean to the future of Customer Service and Your Contact Center?” Register to hear insights from contact center industry experts Neal Shact, Jon Arnold and Dennis Goodhart.