Constructing the Hosted Call Center of the Future
November 05, 2012
The hosted call center of today looks quite different from call centers of the past. For most businesses, changes in technology, widespread use of social media, and heightened customer expectations have changed the embodiment of customer service. Today, the hosted call center is getting increased attention.
In a recent interview with Tom Hoffman (News - Alert) of “Hoffman’s Hot Seat,” Paul Jarman, CEO at inContact, addressed some of the key trends impacting the hosted call center and how companies can construct a business that is equipped to handle the demands of the future.
Per Jarman’s interview, there are five key trends shaping the contact center of the future: 1) mobile, 2) social, 3) self-service, 4), cloud implementation, and 5) data integration. With regard to the cloud, Jarman specified that companies are using hosted call centers to make new technology introductions easier.
A key trend he highlighted was the proliferation of social media and how it has changed the face of customer service within the hosted call center. As contact centers embrace its use, each interaction must be spot-on as to avoid unhappy customers from sharing negative experiences with the entire online community.
It is also a tool to know what your customers are saying about you, discover ways to solve their problems, and promptly route those concerns to the appropriate team who can do something about it. Additionally, social media sites such as Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter present a great way to market to customers in a very personal way.
Staffing the hosted call center must match the needs of the future as well. According to Jarman, we are seeing a lot more agents working remotely, with the ability to train, test, and manage work all from their home computer. The capacity to deliver quick training modules eliminates the need to attend lengthy, expensive seminars offsite – a win-win, since Jarman explains new agents prefer learning from modules over traditional educational courses anyway.
There’s also gravitation toward improved self-service options for basic inquiries that can be handled with automation. As a result, agents must be better equipped by way of knowledge and customer service due to the increased likelihood each interaction will pertain to more sophisticated issues. The end result has been a focus on creating specialists within each area of customer service.
Jarman says his company, which provides call center software solutions, is seeing its customers implement remote service specialists, leading to a more competent and happy staff and improved service levels. With the right tools, companies can also better map the customer journey through the hosted call center, which is critical for retention and selling new products. First, however, they must uncover which are the preferred channels and what communication methods best suite each channel.
For those ready to embrace the call center of the future, Jarman offers this bit of advice: learn what your customers want, create a plan of how best to meet their need, and take advantage of tools available which can bridge that great divide.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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