The contact center re-defined

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.
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  • Glucose Digital

    Hi Pat –

    I think my friend Terry Pruner (check my LinkedIn)

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/jordankay

    is someone who would have great insights for you on this topic. He would make my call center dream team.

    When you add the social tools to the mix in call centers , you have to stop thinking about Voice and Data (and the strategies for customer response in each) because those lines can quickly get blurred.

    The common denominator between them is that you are now ENGAGED with the customer PERIOD.

    This is bang on:

    ” 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. ”

    In fact, you can count on it !!

    JK

  • Deirdre

    Pat
    Completely agree – Customers can now interact at their convenience in their own personal way. The ability to truly engage a customer begins when he/she can help an organization build brand equity by not only responding to content but helping to contribute and build the face of the brand. It’s a whole new world for the responsive organization
    Deirdre

  • TriSynergyLLC

    Pat – I absolutely agree that the contact center is the place that should have and can have the greatest impact on delivering on the promise of the brand (among the choices you provide).

    What's fascinating to me is that – based on the conversations I've had with business folks who are engaged with customers in social media, my own observations,and comments from analysts in the social media space – to engage successfully in social media will require a re-design of the typical contact center that we would likely find today.

    My recent posts all talk to this same idea – that it's time to redesign the contact center to support the a consciously designed customer experience. What do you think? You can find my posts here: trisynergyllc.wordpress.com