Guest Blogger

The contact centre in 2025: What your business needs to do now to be ahead of customer demands.

Technology moves fast. Today’s consumer technology is almost unrecognisable from what existed a decade ago. In the coming years, we will see a host of new technologies receive wide consumer adoption – from super-smart chatbots and voice-activated assistants to seamless video messaging apps and immersive augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) experiences.

These innovations present an opportunity for brands to engage with consumers in an entirely different way. Yet, most businesses find difficulty in keeping up with the pace of technological change and rely on the customer to lead the way.

Often, a business only deploys a new service after enough customers demand it. For example, evidence may suggest customers are active on a particular app or social media platform. Aiming to seize the opportunity, you build a business case for adoption, get internal buy-in, and then rearrange your channel management processes to accommodate. By this point, however, your competitors have already moved in and you fail to stand out.

If your approach is simply to move to where the customer is going, you’ll always be two paces behind. Instead, you must design your contact centre operations with the future in mind to stay ahead of the consumer adoption curve.

Changing systems and processes midstream is never easy, and so an agile mind-set must be built-in from the start. Try replacing questions such as ‘our customers are on X, so should we be there too?’ with ‘we’re experimenting with X because we think our customers need us to be there’. By anticipating customer trends, you’ll be better placed to assess your technology needs.

That’s not to say you rush out and spend your entire sales budget on adding artificial intelligence (AI) to everything down to the company coffee machine. It means simply creating a framework that allows for experimentation. This may involve adopting more cloud-based services that allow you to be more agile, or reorienting budgets to allow for faster approval of innovation projects.

If staff have a hunch that a new technology, channel or approach would improve customer outcomes, you can test the theory without disrupting existing policies and processes. If it doesn’t add to the customer experience, it can be easily removed. If it does, you’ll be able to deliver a service that sets you apart from competitors. Maximum upside, minimal downside.

The next decade will be a pivotal time for businesses across industries. To those that can stay ahead of the pack in delivering on customer demands lays the spoils. To the late adopters, the ‘wait and see-ers’ and those still debating the pros and cons lies certain oblivion. Evolve with your customers, anticipate their needs, and deliver beyond their expectations.

It all begins by thinking one step ahead.

Are you ready to strive for elite performance in your contact centre? Visit our interactive builder to map out your vision for improving customer experience and agent engagement.

By Mark Holmes, Netcall

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