Happy 2020, Fonolo Followers!
Welcome to our *new* biweekly news roundup, where we give you the latest and greatest in customer service technology, news, and views. If you want to see these saying ‘Hello’ in your inbox this year, you can subscribe here. No fear. Let’s stop rhyming now and turn to the news at hand.
As always, the customer service space reads like a riveting novel, full of conflict, drama, beauty, disappointment, hope, taxes, unanswered phonecalls, and robots.
This week, we’ve noted some storylines that we think you should note, too.
New in Customer Service
Canada Revenue Agency gets a failing grade. Few people find joy in calling the CRA (taxes don’t exactly suggest celebration), but things become worse when citizens are unable to contact them at all. The CRA recently received a scarlet ‘D’ on a new report card issued by the CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business).
As it turns out, their phone channel is a fail: According to CTV, the CFIB “found 49 per cent of the 200 test calls made by CFIB employees in June 2019 couldn’t be completed due to excessive wait times, blocked calls or disconnects.”
Although the CRA says its working to improve its infrastructure, the poor voice channel is serious business for Canadians who have pressing tax questions that, if unanswered, could result in taxpenalties. This poor customer service channel comes at a cost.
New in Contact Centers
It’s a great time to be a contact center agent in New York state, who seem to be very fond of its telephony workers. First, officials stepped in after a company in Tarboro, NY, that had promised hundreds of call center jobs disappeared, leaving locals in limbo.
And then —likely still fired up from ‘New Year, New New York’ memes —legislators passed a law that penalizes companies for moving call centers overseas. The law also requires businesses to notify the state 100 days before they intend to relocate overseas, facing fines of up to $10K PER DAY if they fail to do so.
NY state alone has lost more than 40,000 call center jobs since ’06, and they continue to disappear across North America, with the TTEC center closure in Fredericton, ServiCom’s call center closure in Nova Scotia, and Macy’s exit from Tempe, AZ all in the last month. Although the industry will inevitably evolve, the fact remains that hundreds of jobs are on the line; Some states are acting and others are not.
A new report spells out the state of the contact center in 2020.Sorry in advance for the hard sell, folks, but we’re pretty proud of this: We’ve just published our incredibly beautiful and information-rich contact center trends report for 2020. Inside, you’ll find six trends to keep an eye on this year, and in the future – a must-read for those managing customer service, call centers, or contact center operations.
The gist: Several trends are poised to make a significant impact on contact centers in 2020. This industry report explores key areas that are sure to shake up the industry. You can download a copy here, on the house.
New in Technology
A.I., Carumba! We all remember Mel, Pace’s “world-first digital concierge.” Well, others are jumping on this bandwagon because, hey, AI can’t stop, won’t stop. Samsung’s STAR Labs is the latest to create artifical intelligence avatars that could potentially strut their customer service stuff.
But these bots aren’t the usual suspects: Instead of spitting out answers you’d likely find on a Q&A or Google results page, Samsung’s latest iterations are of a more human variety, the Bladerunner type, blurring the line between human and machine.
The big idea? the company sees these creatures becoming fitures as “customer service advisor[s], financial advisor[s] healthcare provider[s] or concierge.” Says STAR Labs CEO Pranav Mistry, they “will integrate with our world and serve as new links to a better future, a world where ‘humans are humans’ and ‘machines are humane.” Spooky stuff.