Contact Centres: The Changing Environment

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“A revolution is underway in the contact centre industry, enabled by mobility and the proliferation of smart devices and fuelled by the phenomenon of social media.”

Over the past 15 years we have seen the evolution of call centres to contact centres where, in comparison to historical data, organisations now facilitate interactions with their customers at an increased rate, over an increased number of channels.Traditionally, call centers were focused on handling customer complaints over the telephone however, with the growth of e-commerce, today’s contact centres carry out a number of functions which can include, but are not limited to: customer service, product orders, tech support and complaints.

socialContact centres are ubiquitous across all business sectors as a means for companies and customers (or potential customers) to engage with a brand. As the customer facing aspect of the business, contact centres have a critical role to play in how their brand is perceived. They operate in a highly dynamic environment with a number of associated pressures as they respond to the ever changing needs of their organization in terms of corporate strategy, as organisations continually strive to cut costs, operate more efficiently and increase customer loyalty, as well as the more demanding needs of customers who are now aware of their choices and less tolerant of poor customer service.

According to recent research, it is immediately evident that digital technologies are reshaping the industry. 15 years ago, there was no web chat, social media and very little email. We are quickly moving from a telephone oriented customer service experience to a digitally primed one – research indicates that phone interactions were reduced by 12% in 2015 while all digital channels experienced growth.

Customers now want an easy to use, integrated, omni-channel experience in order to use different platforms to complete a single enquiry without the need for repetition. Companies are thus expected to meet these increasing expectations in a time of shrinking budgets and resources.

  1. Dimension Data (2016). The Contact Centre Customer Revolution [Online] Available from: http://www.dimensiondata.com/Global/Latest-Thinking/Precis-The-Contact-Centre-Customer-Revolution
  2. Dimension Data (2016) Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report.

 

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Orla is a Research Assistant in Dublin City University Business School. She holds a Masters in Electronic Commerce. Her research interests include Business Process Improvement, Operations Research and Strategic Decision Making.

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