The Future of Contact Centers

Will Yours Be One of Them?

You probably had a business continuity plan defined. But if you’re like most brands, your robust, carefully prepared continuity plan wasn’t built to get you through this. Why? Because it was probably geared toward a set of potential crises that are now, in hindsight, stunningly narrow in their scope. Internal catastrophes, like product failures or leadership challenges are one thing. External challenges, like weather events or labor market issues are another. But the near-total takedown of an entire, healthy economy – all in a matter of weeks – well, most plans just didn’t see that one coming. Together, we are all learning how powerfully a global pandemic can derail even the best laid plans.

Case in point: if your pre-pandemic customer care contact center was already fully transitioned to a remote workforce, comprised of high performing, at-home agents, you were in the lucky minority. If, like so many organizations, you relied on a legacy contact center (whether in your own brick-and-mortar site or halfway around the globe), then these past several weeks have probably been something of a nightmare… a fast-moving, stressful, costly nightmare. Not wanting to rush into anything, you’ve probably ended up rushing into a series of difficult decisions to temporarily reduce, redirect, or shut down your inbound call capabilities. These are choices that carry some pretty severe consequences for your customers. They also leave a question looming on the horizon:

What happens after all this?

That’s the question I hear getting kicked around a lot these days. The answer, I believe, depends on how you’re perceiving – and managing – your current “short-term” solution. Maybe you’ve been appealing to your customers’ understanding, “as we all go through this together.” But here are some questions I think all customer care leaders should be asking themselves, right now: how long can you rely on customer goodwill and forgiveness as business strategies? Once we all come out the other side, is a return to previous norms really going to be your best investment? What happens if testing, vaccines, and treatments are a long time coming, forcing you to prolong “short-term solutions” that are already putting you at a disadvantage? More importantly, what happens during the next global pandemic?

Right now, no matter what interim tactic you’ve chosen to handle your customer care needs, that choice is directly impacting your customers’ experience with your brand. It is leaving a long-term impression of your dependability, ability to solve problems rapidly, and whether you are deemed tech-savvy enough to handle today’s real world challenges.

As uncomfortable – and unforeseen – as this situation is, it is also an opportunity to prepare for a future that works better for your customers, your team members, and of course, your bottom line. As hectic as it is, it’s the right time to step back, assess your current customers’ expectations, your customer engagement model, and the technology, systems, and processes you have in place. Most likely, that assessment will reveal gaps that must be addressed. As you make your decisions about what your “next stage” customer care operation will be, you’ll probably find that it’s time to let go of your legacy platform, and embrace a whole new level of smart, digitally optimized, AI-driven customer care. To do that, you’ll need access to service providers and industry experts who have invested in the technology and the skills to give you good advice and solid options.

If you would like to know more about how Skybridge Americas can help you design future solutions that you can begin to launch now, please reach out. We would love to talk!

Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Skybridge Americas

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