The contact center is a significant asset for enterprises and will continue to play a critical role in the Digital Age. However, its remit will broaden and it will have to deal with very complex enquiries, support new technologies, and take responsibility for customer interactions. A new generation of employees and customers will have new needs that the enterprise will need to meet. And there is a real opportunity for some enterprises to provide support-as-a-service to their partners, utilizing their investments and expertise to deliver new revenue streams.
The name is Bond...Mr. Bond
In 2025, the experience agent Mr. Bond is working from home and will interact with his customers using social media, voice, video and presence. He checks his social feed to find that another agent, Ms Chu, is sharing a new idea that came from one of her customers. Mr. Bond thanks Ms Chu for sharing the idea and records a message to his customer Mr. Pattni – attaching the link and his video to a WhatsApp message – because he knows that this idea will be perfect for his business. Another regular customer, Mr. Green, is telling him that his network is running slowly and Mr. Bond runs diagnostics to discover that a smart object in Mr. Green's house is using inordinate amounts of bandwidth – he alerts the security team to investigate further and updates Mr. Green on what his company is doing to resolve his problems.
Looking in his social stream he picks a couple of comments to respond to, shares some knowledge tips about a newly-launched product and socializes feedback from one of his customers. The company's store in Birmingham is currently very busy, so he dials in via telepresence and begins helping to clear the queue of customers.
Just another day in paradise
By lunchtime he has interacted with hundreds of customers, helped resolve several complex problems, alleviated congestion in the Birmingham store and advised half a dozen customers wishing to buy what the best option is for them. Mr. Bond shares a joke with his Twitter followers and highlights a new limited edition loyalty badge they can get if they tweet him back. Later on he checks back with Mr. Green who informs him that the technical team fixed the faulty smart object and everything is now working properly. They share a joke about how dumb these smart objects really are.
Mr. Bond knows his customers by name. He has authentic knowledge about them and can share jokes, hints, tips and experiences with them. He is adept at finding out information for his customers – He does not need to know everything. This includes his ability to escalate to technical teams while maintaining himself as the interface to the customer – effectively he is a project manager but also the official face of the company. He sometimes works in his local company store, he mainly works from home and he helps out at other stores via telepresence if required.
He is not monitored on the number of actions he takes in a day, but the positive balance of outcomes. His customers rate him highly – particularly his IoT knowledge and his ability to resolve IoT problems. The churn rate across his customer base is very low while the average revenue per customer (ARPU) they generate is climbing.
Aside from excellent communication skills, Mr. Bond is constantly learning and sharing his newly-acquired knowledge with customers and prospects. Many of his customers prefer self-help or self-ordering but they know if they run into difficulties they can message or speak to him, and they enjoy sharing what they've learnt with him. Mr. Bond blends the ability to communicate, support, diagnose, market, cross-sell and upsell, and educate. This is only possible because of the powerful combination of analytics, social media, and advanced workflow technology he has at his fingertips. His job is essentially about enabling his customers to live a better digital life and he looks forward to doing that. He has worked for his company for years now and can't imagine a better job. Even his hours and place of work flex around his needs – so he can work fewer hours or different hours when his children are off school.
In this scenario we can see that:
- New working methods will be implemented to deliver greater flexibility and cost-control for the company but also a better working life for the employee.
- Agents will require new skills and will need to be able to utilize data, knowledge and tools to resolve problems, as well as social skills to source opinion and feedback and share new knowledge and insight both with other employees and with customers.
- Agents will work across a variety of channels and will become brands in their own right – their knowledge and skills being exposed to customers.
By 2025 the experience center will be handling a far wider range of responsibilities and will be interacting with customers continually, proactively and contextually across an ever increasing number of channels using words, speech and a new visual-based language. This will have a profound impact on the type of staff that will need to be employed and the technology these staff will use to support the end customer.