Business communications with customers are changing at many levels, ranging from network connections (IP, wireless), to customer BYOD for mobile devices (smartphones, tablets), to cloud-based online self-service applications, to increasing more selective flexible access control by individual customers to live assistance of their choice. So, it’s not just a call center system that depends just on incoming and outbound phone calls, or even a contact center which only focuses on real-time contacts with agents or experts, but must increasingly include automated applications for both inbound outbound contacts with customers.
The term that I prefer to use to describe what is going to change telephony-oriented contact centers is interaction centers. This is because consumers, using smartphones and tablets, will increasingly be using contextual, multimodal online mobile apps for self-services, before they decide to click-for-assistance using the likes of WebRTC. They won't be making traditional POTS calls as a starting point for most customer service situations.
Not only that, but mobile access to customers opens the door to authorized, pro-active notifications and alerts from enterprise automated processes (e.g., banking, health care, education, utilities, etc.). That, too, will help speed up better customer service performance. Why wait until the customer notices a problem and then calls to get it fixed by someone else, when many services can monitor and detect problems that customers are responsible for or can take more timely action themselves?
We will always need information access and live assistance to be available to customers on demand, but it can now be much more flexible and selective than just a blind and limited phone call. It can include video information and on-camera interactions when appropriate, e.g., health care. It can also include social network postings and comments that quickly reflect what customers think about products and services. The big challenge to every organization is the migration from what we do now with telephony to what we want to do in the multimodal, customer interaction future.
Need more proof about how consumer business is changing? Look at what mobile online activity just did to Christmas retail shopping and Amazon's Mayday button for online video customer assistance.
Edited by Blaise McNamee