With just one week to go until the opening of the 2019 Future of Contact Centre conference, we sit with speakers to hear an insight into their industry and what you can expect to learn from their case studies. Today, we are joined by Scarlett Bayes, Industry Analyst at the Service Desk Institute…

Can you tell us more about what Service Desk Institute do?

The Service Desk Institute represents 800 member organisations and 3500 individual members, and is regularly in touch with 30,000 service desks around the world. We regularly produce blogs, whitepapers, and reports, reviewing trends that affect the industry and the impact they’re having.

We have held events and conferences in the UK for over 30 years, and last year we also held conferences in Mexico and Dubai, not to mention our annual world-wide virtual conference, Shine. We also have our Global Service Desk Standard which we offer a certification programme for, as well as various training courses, both in-person and online, and recruitment services.

What do you think is the biggest factor affecting contact centre performance at the moment?

We’re seeing a major shift of focus surrounding the customer experience; service desks, IT in general, and the wider business are beginning to place more importance on ensuring their employees are happier at work and can perform to their best ability. A massive part of this involves IT being reliable and meeting their needs or expectations. For that to happen, contact centres are having to be much more mindful of what their customers want, whether it’s less downtime, more support channels, faster incident resolution, or better quality of service, so I’d say that customer demand is having a big impact on contact centre performance right now.

What do you think the future looks like for the contact centre?

I would say that what we’re going to see changing the most is the responsibilities and role of the contact centre and support staff. As technologies continue to develop and become able to take on more cognitive tasks, this will free support staff to take on more technical, valuable roles within IT or perhaps the wider business.

Ultimately, I expect that in the future, potentially 5, 10, or even 15 years from now, the role first line support will be fulfilled by technologies like self-service, chatbots, and virtual agents, and customers will be empowered to try to find resolutions to their issues before logging a ticket. Self-diagnosing and self-healing tools which can maintain infrastructures may even eliminate much of the root causes of incidents, making the need for a customer to contact the service desk a rare event. As such, the roles humans fulfil will evolve overtime to adjust to the changes that technology is bringing.

The research that SDI have carried out is great! Could you give us any sneak previews on the results you’ll be presenting on at the Future of the Contact Centre Conference?

I don’t want to give too much away, but the report which my presentation is based around resulted in some very interesting statistics. For example, a higher proportion of service desk professionals find more value in Customer Experience metrics rather than more traditional performance measures, like first time fix. This is really interesting because this doesn’t necessarily translate into all areas of the service, but it exhibits that many service desk professionals recognise the value in becoming more customer-centric.

What are you most looking forward to about the event?

My company and my industry mostly look at IT service desks, so I’m most interested in hearing the journeys and stories of types of contact centres which I’m not usually exposed to, because it will give me a much wider perspective of the support functions there are. Specifically, I’m excited to see the similarities and differences between industries and hopefully learn some useful advice to share with our customers.

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