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It Is About The People At Call Centers
By Petra Mengelt, Head of B2B Relationship Management, Mash Group PLC (Mash)
Today, no one shoots blanks. It costs too much and ends up with too little to show beneath the bottom line. Everything is fine-tuned using the newest tools and technology to support each second of the process. Alongside the technology and automation, the process also allows more room for human involvement. Let the human do what the machine is not capable of doing; emotional thinking, passionate presence, and interaction with feelings. We all want to solve our problems fast, and when things get tough, I, most definitely, do not want to press a pound key one more time and wait for the next automated list of options. I want a real person, now!
And this brings me to the call center.
There may be a more despised word out there than “Call Center”, I don’t know, maybe telemarketing. But, I do know from experience that working closely with contact centres, it never ceases to surprise me how many people feel either pity for, or simply don’t want to even associate themselves with, anything to do with call centres. It is “just something” where people call day in and day out selling you things you do not want.
A successful call center understands that by working together with humans and technology, it will be able to provide better experiences for all
As we are talking to Siris and Alexas in our homes, the same is happening inside call centres. There are Chatbots, IoT, AI, AR/ VR, and Big Data to support multichannel customer services with maximum productivity. Each second is measured and tracked. No matter how many process maps you familiarise yourself with, in the end, the numbers and charts will turn into flesh, real people. In the end, there is still a beating heart working for you out there. This heart has feelings and it is a real human being. The agent is no longer needed for routines, as the basics are done automatically in the background, leaving the agent freedom to work creatively. This is where it gets interesting.
This technology rally, all playing a significant role behind the scenes, improving customer experience, unsurprisingly comes with a price tag. Having sat in numerous sales meetings to politely say no yet to another world-class innovation tool, I have become quite careful and cautious about new technology. The truth is that no innovation works off the shelf on its own. It requires— always—companywide commitment, buy-in sponsors, integrations, testing, safety checks, and trainings, and, one hell of a budget.
Therefore, a clever manager chooses his tools carefully, with a hundred percent commitment to both, technology and humans providing customers with more personalised services leaves room for innovation and development for the agent. No longer will an agent fill his day with repetitive tasks, reaching boredom before lunch. Instead, the machines handle the boring stuff, if you will, leaving an agent to shine and work with the challenging tasks. This way the customer also feels appreciated –because he is appreciated – the agent is motivated and because of that, he is having fun at work, and that fun makes him smile, even on the phone. And, I have always said, everyone can spot outstanding service – even over the phone.
A successful call center understands that by working together with humans and technology and customers, clients, and employees, it will be able to provide better experiences for all.