What will the Call Center look like in 20 years? GCS's Technology Team Answers.
It's always a fun exercise to imagine what your industry will look like in 20 years. This article over at Call Center Helper does just that, asking several industry experts what they think the call center will look like in 20 years. I've asked some of our Technology team to read the article and give their answers to this question. Here's what they said.
Vice President of Technology, Bob Dunmire writes: "We have already seen the benefits of virtualization with many of our servers operating in this capacity. I agree with many of the commenters in the Call Center Helper article that SAS (Software as a Service) will become prevalent. There will always be a need for the "million dollar" switches but we are already seeing options to utilize the benefits of such hardware without having to purchase it. I had a demo just last week from an upstart company that essentially wrote their own predictive dialer with Asterisk as the engine. The beauty of these types of solutions is that they are all in one offerings. Agents can work from anywhere. Recording is not an additional service but part of the system. The HTML scripting can be adjusted on the fly and was included. You can customize these application to provide ACD, IVR, PBX and VOIP..... all with either internally developed programs or off-the-shelf offerings. The interesting question here, to me, is how long these type of systems can survive on Open Source systems before they get swallowed up by the large organizations.
Social Customer Service is also alive and well in the technology arena. There are many sites now where you can pay a fee to join and post questions and receive answers to your technical problems. The next logical step for these sites seems to be adding some type of phone interaction or the ability to talk to those providing the answers."
Senior Systems Specialist, Stuart Eaves suggests, "It seems likely that automated systems will become the norm and customers will have to pay to speak with a human. I hope this does not occur, as I can't imagine those systems becoming 'smart' enough to provide a pleasant customer service experience...and I don't want to be continually aggravated with automated systems as a consumer myself."
And Senior Systems Specialist, Ken Perkins envisions, "Rather than delivering presentations via phone calls, interactions will happen via live video presentations on a presentation device that can deliver not only face to face interactions but can actually enroll consumers and deliver the product directly to the customer at the end of the presentation. Transactions will be much faster and require less “paperwork”. From a call center perspective, visual presentation skills will become more important. I agree that the call center in itself will become more virtual and not all presenters will need to work from a central location."
Grey Smith, Senior Systems Specialist imagines a world very similar to some that Hollywood has come up with, "20 years from now is 13 technology generations (using Moore's law). Computing devices will be handheld and portable. Laptops and desktops will be a thing found only in museums. The new devices will be "user driven". Move your hands and the computer will open the application, disposition the call, type the words, pull up product information. No input device will be needed. Interactions between the customer and employee will be holographic. Full 3D representations of the user will appear at the customer location. But the avatar will not look like the person you are talking to. A more pleasant-looking , more pleasant-sounding, employee will appear to the customer. You will be able to see remote items to help fix and troubleshoot problems. No more on-site repair services. No more telling the technician what is wrong."