5 Ways Contact Center Work is Changing in 2020

With the proliferation of AI solutions throughout the contact center industry, there has been a corresponding evolution in the role of the customer care agent.

Gone are the days that agents can simply be hired for their ability to work swiftly, follow a script, and check all the right boxes. Today, thanks to quantum leaps forward in automation, the everyday, repetitive, “easy” calls can be quickly – and satisfyingly – dispatched by technology.

But far from making human agents unnecessary, these improvements in contact center tech have created a need for a more skilled, more tuned-in, more human than ever work force. These are the people who will handle all of those calls that are too complex or too unusual to sail through your automated systems. This, in turn, drives an ever-greater need for more skilled supervisors, coaches, and managers.

As some of your prior job structures and titles are eliminated, expect to replace them, not with automation, but with people possessing different skills, attitudes, and competencies.

Here are 5 of the biggest changes affecting call center agents, supervisors, and managers this year.

  1. Greater job complexity demands greater problem solving ability, work flexibility, and enthusiasm

Notice that I didn’t mention years of experience. A resume jammed with prior contact center experience might be good. But beware: it might represent someone who flourished under very difference circumstances than the work environment or expectations you’re offering today. Recruiting for the new customer care agent means changing just about everything you used to do – and say. That includes the wording of your job descriptions, the interview questions you ask, the way you check references, and how you coach, especially during that critical onboarding period.

  1. Screening for empathetic, solution-oriented skills is a high stakes venture…

And you’ll be doing it constantly. Today’s customers aren’t just happy to use AI-assisted tech to resolve their questions. They expect it. But here’s what else they expect: that when they going gets rough, a highly knowledge person will magically pop onto the line, greet them personally, listen intently, and do whatever it takes to get their problem solved. It’s not just about knowledge or speed. It’s about tone and a lasting memory of the experience that will linger in that customer’s mind, influence their future buying decisions, and prompt them to tell others online.

  1. You’ll be expected to create bigger, broader, more rewarding career paths for your superstar agents.

Or, your other option: lose your top performers as they rapidly cycle out of your training and into the warm and welcoming employment of a competitor who can deliver those things.

  1. You need to follow your talent because the best ones are no longer willing to follow you.

You’re recruiting from what you used to call a “non-traditional” talent pool now. Empty nesters, new parents looking for flexible work, military spouses are just a few examples of your most promising new candidates. And these people are most likely looking to work from the comfort and convenience of their own home. 

  1. Your whole management team will need to create strong working relationships within a geographically far-flung team members.

Not easy. But powerful, productive, and highly profitable.

Welcome to your new reality, where technology hasn’t replaced humans. It’s elevated their job prospects. But it also demands that today’s contact center manager oversee an increasingly automated operation, monitor emerging technology upgrades, and embrace a whole new hiring model. At Skybridge Americas, that’s what we do for our clients every day. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals, please reach out. We would love to talk.

-Bobby Matthews

Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Skybridge Americas
bmatthews@skybridgeamericas.com

 


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