COVID-19 has forever changed the contact center space.
This period has seen many traditional call centers shut down because of an inability to adapt to WFH or other changing trends. One such significant trend that’s revolutionizing the industry is the switch from voice to text-based customer support and sales.
How are businesses rising to meet this challenge?
The accelerated adoption of advanced intelligent voice response solutions (IVR), like our dynamic business router (DBR), is turning potential losses into great upsides. By switching on their IVR now, contact centers are making it possible to keep people employed while riding the waves of the COVID-19 crisis without washing out with no quarterly profits.
Let’s look at the facts!
Many actors in the global contact center market are already reaping money off of other contact centers’ misfortune. In a recent interview with Jim Cramer on Mad Money, LivePerson CEO Rob Locascio heralded the death of the call center, as he calls it. What he means is that many call centers are already closed down – globally.
Forced with the choice between adapting or dying out, many of these once thousand-agent-strong businesses are going for the latter whether inadvertently or consciously. And someone needs to step up and face the void head on.
Who’s going to deliver the support that people so desperately need right now?
Well, the ones picking up the slack are those able to deliver automated voice response, text support, chat support, Twitter support – whether that’s through bots like with LivePerson, or through agents using omnichannel solutions, like many of our customers are doing with us.
The biggest and most basic solution providing that kind of support right now is the intelligent voice response – or IVR – which for years has been hated by customers who want to talk to a real person.
Guess what? Right now the choice is:
Do I want to speak to a person with their dog barking in the background, maybe they have kids crying, maybe whatever else may be happening in their house? Or do I want to speak to a robot that’s actually able to efficiently solve my basic level problem?
Locascio also made the point for bringing conversations to messaging. IVR is mostly about voice, it’s right in the name, so where do you go from there?
It’s Not Just AI
We could all simply switch to artificial intelligence solutions that filter our responses and deliver the customers what they want. But companies are facing problems there too.
- First of all – we need people to operate those AI solutions. The current workforce in a contact center is not trained to operate AI solutions – it’s just not what your typical agent is used to doing.
- Second of all – many agents’ jobs might turn redundant due to the increase in AI responses.
So, what are you going to do?
Switch Up the Entire Workforce?
Firing half your agents in the middle of a pandemic is not a very wise move. From a business perspective, from a humanitarian perspective, and obviously from a health-centric perspective. It might help you prevent the crashing-down of your business, but it’s limiting in a time where volumes show tenfold increases – just not your traditional volumes.
The gist of it is that AI needs slow adoption in order to function efficiently. But right now, nobody can afford slow adoption. And so, they’re moving to IVR and increasingly better options to IVR that allow for messaging, social channels, and lead to a tectonic shift of the entire contact center space.
You might remember a study we reported on at the beginning of March that proclaimed the contact center industry will grow by approximately $6 billion by 2024. It was a lovely time, wasn’t it, March 3rd, when we could still afford to be so optimistic?
That same study, now updated to feature COVID-19-related data, is entirely stripped of such ambitious numbers as 6 billion. However, it continues to signal that the accelerated adoption of IVR solutions as the marker for success in these times.
We’re willing to go a bit further and say that it’s not just IVR – it’s the whole package. It’s omnichannel, it’s intelligent response through all social messaging channels – from SMS to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and even Twitter!
WhatsApp has seen a 40% increase throughout the pandemic and I’m willing to bet many other social messaging platforms are skyrocketing as well.
Some of us more well-versed in the marketing world have started to use SparkToro, a chic & intuitive tool by visionary Rand Fishkin. On this tool, it’s clear that Twitter absolutely TRUMPS any other social platform in terms of straight-talk about a relevant topic. Don’t believe me?
Check out this breakdown of the audience interested in “call centers”:
That’s right – Twitter is so big it’s being used as a baseline for every other social media platform. It’s obvious that other platforms have more traffic, but when it comes to relevant text-based posts, Twitter takes the gold
The solutions are catching up too: now it’s possible to set a filter in your agent platform to scan Twitter for all the mentions of a single keyowrd, and alert the agents whenever that happens. Agents are free to address users’ concerns on Twitter directly, making the exchange more natural, more familiar to the customer, and ultimately driving brand engagement on the platform.
The only thing left is to train your agents to use Twitter as an effective tool for customer interactions.
Thankfully we’ve got the solutions. Intelligent dynamic business routing is part of our innovative OMNI+ omnichannel platform (pictured here). Setting up automatic replies for texts and social platforms has never been easier.
And these options have been here for a while – it’s just that not many companies were comfortable making the switch.
That may be difficult for them, it may involve a lot of extra costs, losing money. It may also be what Locascio called “inertia” – and it’s certainly not surprising that some business leaders were putting off such a switch because they were too comfortable.
But now they’re forced to pick between losing money or losing their business – and that’s an anxiety-ridden prospect that ultimately lands winning decisions.
The decision may drive you up the walls, but in the end, you’ll be better for it and we know that because we’re the ones on the other side that have already helped people through it.
Omnichannel contact center solutions like our own OMNI+ typically come with a more advanced form of IVR. No longer are you stuck battling unwieldy and obsolete software that forces you to switch between so many apps that you’re constantly living with the anxiety that something, somehow is going to crash.
The conclusion is that there’s hope. And not just hope for survival but hope for profits. The world will never be the same and that can be a good thing or a bad thing in business. The funniest and possibly most ironic part is that it still depends on us collectively to decide where we’re going to end up.
If you’re putting off a major change because of uncertainty – we’re probably the first people to understand. But we’re also one of the only ones that are offering a tangible solution for free. So come on – trust us. All we’re asking for is a chance to prove how much we can help! See the form below for more or visit our OMNI+ omnichannel solution page for details.
Work Remotely with our True Omnichannel Solution:
NobelBiz OMNI+ Brings Your Contact Center into the Present
You need a solution that lets you do everything remotely, from a single platform with as little effort as possible. That’s where NobelBiz OMNI+ comes in!