Customer experience and the call center: ripe for innovation

The call center and other means of customer support need a renaissance in purpose and focus.

by Brian Solis

In my last blog, I wrote how far we have gotten away from prioritizing meaningful and rewarding customer engagement and customer relations, rather than focusing on the customer experience.

Take the call center as an example:

If you’re like me  you dread calling any company. You know that you’re going to lose your mind pressing buttons until a human being is on the line. You know that you’ll suffer a complete loss of sanity from having to re-explain yourself over and over as you’re transferred between departments.

Your experience shouldn’t be this way, but you have no choice but to endure, because you need immediate assistance or answers.

The call center is in need of a renaissance in both function and focus. This requires executive teams to also undergo a renaissance and move from management to leadership. And that starts with vision and purpose.

With roots traced to the late 1950s, call centers were initially designed to scale outbound and inbound calls. As new technologies enabled call centers to handle greater volumes and responsibilities, they became the go-to models for facilitating all forms of mass engagement, from sales to customer service and support to customer retention. Ultimately, soaring costs and management challenges caused businesses to outsourced call center solutions, outside of the U.S. and in countries where English was a second language at best.

Time for a change

For decades, call centers served their purpose. Everything was fine until it wasn’t. That time to change is here. Actually, it’s overdue. What the call center was designed to do and how it was valued and measured for success are part of an eroding mode of business that has no place in the future of customer experience.

The ironies here are the phrases “customer service” or “customer support.” Clearly, we are missing opportunities to provide those in ways people value. However, with purpose, renovation, and some serious unlearning, existing assets can be rebuilt and retrained to deliver exceptional customer experiences, cultivate relationships, and drive business value.

Thus, customer support, service, and forms of customer engagement are clearly ripe for disruption and innovation.

Imagine if technology, process, systems, and metrics were all driven by a higher purpose.

Every facet of the customer journey could be improved. Customer-centricity would truly form the center of our intentions and work, and meaningful relationships would become a byproduct of the experiences created and cultivated.

What a wonderful world it would be…

Learn more about AT&T call center solutions.

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