Contact centres are defined by Wikipedia as being “a set of means, human, real estate, furniture and technical, which enables the support of long-distance relationships between a brand and its market”. If their objective is laudable, these structures cannot afford to remain frozen, at the risk of presenting a very large discrepancy between their operating model and the needs of companies that choose outsourcing.
The ITPro Portal, an aggregator of information, reviews, features and IT guides from around the world, features an article by Lee Cottle, who has more than 20 years of experience in the software, hardware and services industry, ranging from start-ups to established multi-billion dollar companies. The latter looks at a vital evolution.
Contact centers : essential relays for companies and in evolution
Contact centres serve as fundamental intermediaries between businesses and their customers. They pave the way for a healthier customer experience. For this, they need to master and use various channels. Contact centres aim to assist client service in terms of technical and sales support. They typically integrate call centres into their processes while maintaining other forms of customer contact, such as emails, online chats, social media interactions, and website support.
There are four main types of contact centres:
- Physical contact centre
- Cloud-based contact centres
- Hosted contact centres
- Virtual contact centres
Regardless of the form a company uses to manage its interactions with its customers, changes will be seen. Changes that will impact on the contact centre as we move into the future.
Machine learning and AI
For decades, contact centres have taken advantage of cutting-edge technology, primarily artificial intelligence (AI) applications, which gained traction in the 2000s with exponential impact since. The mass adoption of smartphones, social networks and other user-friendly applications has dramatically changed customer expectations. Consumers are now accustomed to short waiting times, instant and free communication with family, friends and companies, and new technological advances are being adopted permanently. As a result, customer expectations are continually rising for constant improvements, little or no wait times and more personalised customer experiences.
Contact centres have succeeded in meeting these expectations by increasing their use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. So much so that business leaders today cite customer experience as the main reason to invest in AI. So how did machine learning and AI affect the different agents?
AI-supported contact centre agents are the latest trend, becoming able to quickly identify and deliver specific information to callers. The only downside is that these same callers quickly grew tired of interactive voice response (IVR) systems, which were deemed to be a waste of time and not very effective. As a result, call centres quickly found themselves overloaded with requests for human interactions.
As customer expectations have increased in recent decades, new technologies have made it possible to meet these expectations. Customers can now communicate using the channel of their choice during more flexible times. Businesses are more expected to use social media, in addition to traditional phone lines and more recent chat services, as a customer service tool.
Let’s add to this the increased use of “bots” allowing customers to perform real actions without interacting with a person. For example, Amazon’s chat assistant is able to automate certain activities such as refunds, new orders, replacements, and other simple tasks that would otherwise take up the time of customer service agents. In addition, these bots are able to use big data to analyse the reliability of customers and their information at higher rates than humans, allowing to optimise and even increase success rates and KPIs.
The increasing use of AI is expected to lead to cost reductions in contact centres due to the increase in self-service. In a traditional contact centre, it is important to have sufficient human resources to avoid exceeding the average waiting time. As mentioned above, in the face of ever-increasing customer expectations, customer experience becomes the predominant factor in converting one-time customers into repeat customers while a poor customer experience can easily ruin the chances of achieving this.
Focus on ProContact
With ProContact, you have a contact centre equipped with the best tools and a team of specially trained advisors to guarantee you quality support with real results ! Indeed, by bringing together all the services on the same platform, we offer a global and sharp expertise on all the businesses essential to the development of your company and which are not part of your “core business”.
All economic sectors call on our contact center, a multi-service platform
Contact and customer relationship centres manage multiple activities related to the relationship between the client (the company) and prospects/customers. Depending on the contracts and the needs of the companies, the services can range from a simple remote secretary service to a global support of the customer relationship.
The services we offer:
- Telephone reception
- Remote secretary
- Surveys, researches, satisfaction studies
- Remote marketing and teleprospecting (making appointments, prospecting…)
- File qualification
- Database management and enrichment
- Customer loyalty
- Technical support (hotline, webhelp, technical support)
- After-sales service; customer service
Based in Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, we operate in European and global markets!