Yes, that was read correctly. Could the call center industry really be dead? Everyone knows that today’s rapidly evolving technological age can – and most likely will – transform nearly everything we currently know. Now call centers have been added to that list.
What is threatening call centers’ extinction, though? This is a pretty huge claim to make, but Zor Gorelov (News - Alert), CEO and co-founder of SpeechCycle, a successful provider of self-service solutions, is fearlessly stepping up to bat. According to his recent blog, “The rapid growth of smartphone adoption is changing every facet of our lives” and “smartphone users have now surpassed basic phone users,” as reported by Pew (News - Alert) Internet & American Life Project.
Furthermore, technology research company Gartner predicts that mobile phones will overpower the traditional PC as the most common Web access device worldwide. This seems sensible enough to agree upon, yet Gorelov goes beyond to provide even more comprehensive statistics, such as our always-accessible Wi-Fi, which has essentially took cities everywhere by storm. It was found that Wi-Fi is “so widely accessible in major metropolitan areas that most tablet users don’t even need wireless data plans.” Additionally, it was revealed that tablet sales increased by 264 percent – and that was only in 2011 alone. This year, it was predicted that about 25 million tablets would sell in the U.S. alone. Any of you – like myself – would most likely agree with this statement, as Wi-Fi is often exceptionally easy to find while out and about.
Companies striving to engage with a connected audience cannot possibly fathom overlooking this phenomenal consumer trend. With this dramatic increase in tablet and smart technology use, customers now demand communication with their providers on their terms, and what’s more convenient than a portable, connected device?
For call centers everywhere this can mean one very significant thing; decreasing or ceasing the primary interaction channel between companies and their customers. Perhaps it won’t happen all at once, and obviously there will be those who prefer traditional call centers, but Gorelov states with unfailing certainty that “the smartphone will become the contact center of the future.”
As smartphone traffic on wireless networks will increase at an expected 700 percent over the next five years, this massive communicational shift will benefit both consumers and businesses greatly. Consumers will benefit from greater accessibility, capabilities, and value, while businesses in today’s teeming marketplace can enjoy stronger customer loyalty, personalization, consistency, and reduced costs.
At the end of the day, businesses want to strengthen and improve their customer relationships, and are willing to do whatever is necessary to do so. Similarly, customers look for and desire the most value for the least amount of money. One thing has remained true time and time again; customers remain loyal to companies that enhance their experience and efficiently meet their needs.
Gorelov concludes, “While the call center will still remain an important part of the customer service experience, smart devices can provide richer features and more in-depth assistance — all on-the-go. Call centers will become a secondary mode of communication, no longer preferred by the masses.”
Edited by Jamie Epstein