When the Winds of Changes Shift


When the Winds of Changes Shift
January 29 2015
On the Line offers insights and real-life stories on key business technology strategy, management, and
customer service issues. If you have something that you'd like to share, contact Henry Dortmans at
[email protected] or 416.845.4511.
"May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift, may you have a strong foundation
when the winds of changes shift.” - Bob Dylan
When the Winds of Changes Shift: Contact Center Trending
Trends are patterns of gradual change. Identifying current trends is not predicting the future (a very
dangerous thing to do) but looking at the present very clearly.
Everyone involved in the industry needs to understand this so they can be better at planning,
implementing, and managing change.
I wrote an article for European publisher, Günter Greff, earlier this month on the directional changes in
customer service and contact centers. They're at varying stages of adoption. To read the entire article
click here: Günter’s Call Center Experts publication.
Key Trends that People Mention
Here's a summary of the list, in no particular order:
Big Data and Analytics
Cloud or Hosted Services
Mobile Applications
Video Support
Marketing and Customer Service Collaboration
WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication)
There are others like changes in social media, more collaboration with business partners, changing
workflow optimization techniques, the ‘Internet of Everything’, the impact of automatic call-backs, better
biometrics, and more.
Additional Insights*
I spoke about these with two people very involved with customer service and contact centers: Bill
Morris and David Hollingsworth.
Bill Morris
National Director, 211 Canada & Public Policy, United Way - Centraide Canada
“Omnichannel will have a very big impact because of client expectations. It will be challenging to
plan and implement but those who do will have a huge advantage”
“People know what sophisticated centers can do and expect that you will treat them well and not
waste their time”
“With greater expectations and demand, we definitely have more complex calls now”
“One trend we see is a much higher percentage of callers who say, “I’ve been on your website and
I need more information” or “I’m on your website right now; please confirm [x].” Our staff need to
keep up with more and more options”
“Another big issue is privacy. Some callers are very concerned; others not. They expect you to
have all information about them at hand yet there is often an underlying concern about potential
breach. Ensuring that we achieve a high level of trust is so critical.”
You can reach Bill at [email protected] or 613-218-0353 x 2368.
David Hollingsworth
Consultant, DRH & Associates
“I think big data and analytics will have the biggest impact. Contact centers are based on
numbers…customer history, service level indicators, staffing, and so on. The key is knowing how
to continue creating value”
“Customer communications is richer and more interactive. However, whether it's much simpler now
vs. ten years ago depends on the specifics”
“One trend I see is the higher quality of customer service representatives or agents. Today, most
have greater skills, more education, and a better understanding”
“Overall, it’s still all about managing the care & feeding of customers. The onus is on all in this
industry to be better.”
You can reach David at [email protected] or 416.693.6494.
* Condensed and edited
Past, Present and Future
Over the past three decades, we’ve seen the successes and failures. We learn from these and from
seeing the present clearly. Technology is getting better, internal staff ‘get it’ faster, customers are more
“savvy”, and businesses recognize this. Guidelines for the future will be a topic for later but in the
meantime, here are some tips...maybe one will spark something:
Focus on the benefits, not the features…buy the steak, not the sizzle
Always ask how a proposed change will increase revenue, decrease cost, and/or improve service
Understand that customer service comprises a set of various groups of people, processes,
technologies, strategies. Look at the whole picture.
Bob Dylan wrote many years ago, “May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift,
may you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift.”
Effective call centers have strong foundations.
Whether you’re a buyer or supplier, always strive to be better at identifying and meeting the changing
needs of your customers. Then be quick to make the changes your company, staff and customers truly
If you have something that you'd like to share, contact Henry Dortmans at
[email protected] or 416.845.4511.
Copyright © 2015 Henry Dortmans. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form is strictly prohibited. For permission to reprint or reproduce or use or borrow,
call 1.416.845.4511 or email [email protected].