Let’s face it, most people don’t associate the call center world with innovation or excitement. For many, it’s a business expense, a necessary evil, a source of many headaches, or a dreaded project.
I see things a bit differently. If you look past the surface and dig a little deeper, the North American call center industry is going through an unprecedented transformation, driven by the influential power the customer has on major business decisions.
At the forefront of this transformation are 5 innovative technologies that are changing the call center experience and inspiring businesses to think differently.
Voice has become a reliable way to authenticate a person’s identity because it is unique to each individual. Imagine not having to provide personal security questions at the start of every call with your bank, insurance, and pharmaceutical company. In fact, your voice signature is legally binding according to the E-SIGN act, making it a convenient way to complete signature-requiring transactions.
Leading Provider: Nuance
With over 50% of US consumers using smartphones, its only natural that smartphones are on their way to becoming a mainstream customer service device. Smartphones open the door to a wide range of benefits related to a better call experience, such as passing contextual information to the agent, and higher interactivity. We’re on the brink of a call center revolution with several providers announcing new products in 2012.
Leading Provider: Genesys
With customer support taking top priority, interactive video response is causing quite a stir with visual phone menus and instructions. This kind of enhanced feature allows businesses the ability to play advertisements, promotions, or even a music video while customers are waiting on hold. Interactive video isn’t practical for every call center but the added dimension opens up a world of new possibilities for organizations to stand out.
Leading Provider: Avaya
Universal queuing has its implementation challenges, but the pay-off from combining voice, email, chat, and social media into a single ‘universal’ queue makes for a more consistent and streamlined customer support experience. The single view of the customer is the Holy Grail for many call centers, although most fall short in achieving it. An organization able to implement universal queuing can gain a clear advantage against its competitors.
Leading Provider: IBM & Genesys
I’ve saved the best for last. Web call-back eliminates the frustration from phone menus and waiting on hold by placing a widget on a website for customers to enter their number in exchange for a call-back from the next available agent. Smartphone call-back has those same advantages plus the convenience factor of mobility and the potential to add context, such as the location. The ‘intelligent’ derives from the ability to map out an entire phone menu and automatically navigate on the customer’s behalf, making it different from simple click-to-call solutions.
I am biased in recommending Fonolo, but I can honestly say it is the best call-back solution I’ve seen in my 6 years in the industry (something that motivated me to join the company). Its ability to navigate phone menus and low flat-rate pricing are two major differentiators from competing solutions such as Virtual Hold’s Conversation Bridge, Cisco’s Courtesy Callback, and Avaya’s Callback Assist.
Leading Provider: Fonolo