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The time is now to change the contact centre vision.

When you think call centre, it’s usually not good – PPI, Have you had a crash recently that wasn’t your fault – this still happens but think contact centres, what comes to mind? If it’s the BBC programme, then we need to change your mindset. The industry is one of the largest with a market size of £3bn and employing around 1.3 million in the UK – it’s a big deal.  

The journey from call centre to contact centre

We want to say historically (but it is still the case today) that the vision of a typical call centre is a floor lined with agents wall to wall, floor to floor taking calls all day – these days are gone, and technology along with the world has moved on thanks to the ‘contact centre’. Similar to how mobiles have moved from briefcases to smartphones, we now see the contact centre as more than a machine that churns out sales and services, to becoming an integral and intelligent asset with a broader range of business roles.

The output has moved from being a simple sales function to, enabling better and personalised customer experience, more accessible and in-depth reporting and a catalogue of integrations. These are the critical components of omnichannel customer service for any organisation, allowing customers to contact a company, through whatever method is best suited to them.

Digital transformation has accelerated with technology; the contact centre is no different, it’s been enhanced with features from skill-based routing, social media integrations, CRM integrations, automated sales training, AI predicting trends and workforce management. Contact centres have moved on from data-driven to analytic driven processes, delivering an unparallel service through a more personalised customer experience.

Along came COVID

COVID changed all industries, especially contact centres, where the environment was in large open plan offices, employees working with close proximities of each other, meant that these were high-risk areas, vulnerable to COVID. In the UK, we remember when the lockdown was enforced on BBC in the evening, and overnight, offices were forced to shut down, and contact centres were in the same position.

Many of these weren’t ready, working from home wasn’t viable, PCI compliance wasn’t possible, reporting wasn’t possible, softphone wasn’t possible, system access wasn’t possible and so on…some just weren’t ready.

Disaster recovery is a contingency plan, and strategies are usually in place to ensure, businesses can continue as usual should the office not. Contact Centres struggled. With a massive surge in demand from internet shopping, economic changes and business changes, the cracks began to show and were clearly visible. Homebase should have had a boom in business turned off contact centre services, retailers not being able to take payments because of PCI not being available to WFH staff, Virgin Media contacting their 5.5 million broadband customers to ask them not to call.

Excelien knows it’s time to change and adapt, and continually adapt with the best contact centre technology to enhance the services you deliver, the outcomes your business produces and how you help your customers. With digital transformation across all industries and the ability to have what you want almost in an instant, customers now expect a certain level of service, so whether you’re a small retailer, a large bank, insurance firm – customer experience is a priority.

Customers build the company and are more critical than ever in the climate we’re in, contact centres need be a significant component of an enhanced customer service offering for your company, empowering consumers to communicate with you in a meaningful way, in the channel of their preference.

Tomorrow is the future, but the time is now. 

It’s still not clear waters yet.

We’re not out of the woods yet.

COVID forced a change predicted years from now in buying and selling behaviour. Consumers are moving online as their primary way of shopping and how a business manages its customers is more important than ever. We don’t particularly like to focus on doom and gloom. Still, the conversation of COVID and Christmas is already being debating, and with the various systems being thrown around whether its Tier, Circuit Breaker or regional/national lockdown, the ability to sail this one calmly is a priority.

COVID has forced a change in buying and selling behaviour. Consumers are buying more online and with the most crucial shopping season for retailers on the horizon, how businesses deal with their customers is more important than ever. The “Will COVID steal Christmas” debate is already on. Throw in the potential of another national lockdown and the ability to weather the storm and come out the other side really is blown wide open.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

The time came, and it will continually come in which businesses need to adapt and embrace all that’s on offer from contact centres. Not solely from a disaster recovery perspective but where they can supercharge customer experience, gain more insights into buying trends and potentially save money.

Excelien is your advisory partner for contact centre technology industrywide, if you would like to speak to one of our experienced experts to understand the market, please talk to us today.

Excelien is your consultative partner for contact centre technology, if you would like to know more, please speak to one of our experts today.