I was at a conference the other day here in Toronto during which I had the good fortune to chat with Bruce Simpson and Winston Siegel, partners at call center consulting firm Switchgear.ca. If you don’t know the name, Switchgear is comprised of contact center rock-stars who among them have provided leadership to some of the most effective contact centers in the world. Their track record of success is thoroughly impressive – plus they’re a blast to work with.
In our conversation we chatted about the “idea” of a contact center. Is a contact center a place where customers call us, or email us, and we reply in the most cost-effective way possible, while trying to maximize the customer experience? While sure the answer is yes, I would also suggest that the contact center is much more than that. With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, and the growing popularity of Blackberry and iPhone, customers can interact with the “voice of the brand” in many ways, in addition to the traditional phone and email. What’s more, these interactions have the potential to be far more reaching than a simple 1 on 1 conversation. They can conceivably have an audience in the thousands, or tens of thousands. Contact centers that recognize the virtual nature of customer contact can capitalize on sales opportunities that otherwise would have been missed, as well as diffuse problems before they become disasters (think Motrin).
Customer contact excellence remains great calls and great emails, but for contact centers that recognize and respond to the other ways customers want to reach out and interact with a brand, contact excellence also means being available for our customers in less traditional forums as well.
What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment below, and thank you as always for reading.