Despite predictions to the contrary, the contact centre will remain an integral component to a company’s customer experience for many years to come. In fact, in this era of social distancing and branch and store closures, the necessity of the contact centre to offer the reassurance and additional clarity that only a human interaction can provide, has never been more important.
Indeed, over the last few weeks, many banks’ contact centres have struggled to deal with the sheer increase in caller numbers from people in search of information pertaining to mortgage holidays, interest-free overdrafts and holidays from credit card and loan repayments.
It is for this reason that, contrary to Contact Babel’s January report, which predicted the UK industry would see 295 of its 6,120 contact centres close by 2024, shedding 33,000 of the current 780,000 agent positions in the process, the UK contact centre industry is instead likely to remain buoyant as increasing numbers of companies explore ways of bringing the multi-faceted benefits of the branch/ store into their customers’ homes.
For example, Virgin Media recently announced plans to hire 500 new staff in its UK contact centres. Bringing contact centres ‘home’ is actually part of a growing trend among British companies to offer better, more well-equipped levels of customer service.
Looking forward, there are exciting opportunities for contact centres to adopt technology to not only make their advisors’ work easier (through automation and identification), but also provide superior experiences for their customers, by being able to link up and screen share, display information, and talk through complex products and packages.
The contact centre is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, we share Vizolution’s top takeaways from BT’s recently released Autonomous Customer Report, which looks at the trends that have affected contact centres over the last decade.
- Digital-only is insufficient: Just 20% of respondents rated digital experiences as “excellent”. Customers are still craving human interactions, and the benefits they bring
- Phone preference: 58% of customers said they would rather phone an organisation than use any other channel
- Most people do it: 77% of customers surveyed phoned a contact centre last year
- Can I have your number?: That same number of respondents said they would prefer a phone number on every web page and app due to insufficient online information or help
- Call when in need: 59% said that when they call, they are doing so to resolve either an emotional or complicated issue
- Bots miss the mark: Faith in chatbots is diminishing, with 58% of customers currently of the opinion that bots improve the customer experience, down from 73% who believed the same in 2017. People want to speak to people – not machines
In this era of social distancing and branch and store closures, customers will begin to base their opinions solely on companies’ remote experiences. So, yes, it is important to have exceptional self-service functionality that allows your customers to complete simple transactions, such as checking bank or phone credit balances, but it’s also paramount to ensure you offer them the chance to be able to speak to an advisor, and access the same level of high touch functionality that they would experience in store.
The message is clear: utilise your contact centres during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With increasing pressure likely to be heaped on contact centres in the future, technology can assist agents to handle queries of a sensitive, emotional, or complex nature quicker and more efficiently.
At Vizolution, we help enterprises supercharge their contact centres to become smarter, allowing agents to offer the same level of visualisation and functionality as in-branch by utilising a unique live-sharing (screensharing) solution to display product information, share documents, verify identity and collect electronic signatures.
The benefit of doing this means enterprises can offer a high touch, high tech digital service that allows their customers to complete their journeys in an efficient, convenient, engaging and cost-effective way.
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