2020 Vision

Channelling communication dynamism

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“Do you remember when the year 2020 seemed like it was in the distant future?” muses Ebrahim Dinat, COO at Ocular Technologies, a South African contact centre solution provider. “Well,” he states matter-of-factly, “it’s only three and a half years from now! And, taking into account the rapid rate in which our digital world is changing, so many exciting possibilities could still happen in the next few months.”

To prepare your contact centre for 2020, he points out, means looking in earnest at the trends shaping our social world. “The only consistent factor in this changing world, it seems, is achieving an exceptional customer service,” states Dinat.

Eric Hagaman, senior product manager at Ocular Technologies’ partner company Aspect Software, says: “Customers want to communicate with businesses in the same ways they communicate with each other, resulting in inescapable tectonic changes in the contact centre.”

In his blog, “Will you be able to deliver a great customer service in 2020?” he highlights the following four communication channels: videochat, webchat, social media and SMS.

“The dynamics of a videochat are quite similar to a traditional voice conversation, in fact, videochat is just a traditional voice conversation overlaid with the video channel. Videochat is not in common usage yet, but expectations of getting a rapid answer are probably greater than for a voice channel, since the level of engagement in the conversation is likely higher than with voice alone.”

He points out that one of the most difficult challenges in the brave new world of customer communication is webchat. Hagaman says: “By 2020, it will be the second most popular means of communicating, but expected response times are fairly short, so it warrants attention to accurate forecasting and scheduling.”

When it comes to social media, Hagaman believes this channel is projected to be tied for third place in popularity as a customer communication channel by 2020.

The simple SMS has in itself undergone a great evolution and still remains one of the preferred interactions between customers and businesses, much more than picking up the phone to talk. Hagaman confirms this, “Texting is increasingly becoming a standard means for humans to communicate worldwide.”

“The way we as humans communicate is changing rapidly,” concludes Dinat. “The innovations happening in ‘chat’ are exciting, fast, and materialising now; such as the latest automation technology deployed in ‘chatbots’, bringing a whole new level of service excellence to the foreground. To ensure a strong future, the contact centre needs to focus on the rapid uptake of new technology and the way in which it is changing the way we send, interpret and receive messages. The goal is to be on par with all the new communication developments, and have these innovative tools ready in order to quickly set these up and achieve ultimate customer experience.”

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