It’s hard to believe that 2014 is coming to an end. Time seems to move faster each and every year. However, the only thing that seems to move more quickly than time is technology and keeping up with the changes in technology is a challenge for anyone. This is especially true for those of us in the Contact Center Industry. Ours is an industry driven by technology and therefore, it is imperative that we make a priority in monitoring coming trends and implementing the changes that technology dictates. Not only can this be a challenge from the technical side, but it can also bring with it challenges from the managerial side as well. So today, I’d like to take a look at some of the technological changes that we can anticipate in the coming year, and I’d also like to offer some advice on how to implement these changes as seamlessly as possible with your call center staff.
Trends to watch in 2015:
According to a recent blog by Pat Patterson of AVAYA, there are six Communication Services Trends to watch for in the coming year; of the six that he cited, there are a few that I’d like to focus on:
• Mobility: Customers are increasingly relying on mobile platforms to communicate and conduct business. Current trends are indicating that mobile platforms played a larger role in Black Friday shopping in 2014 than in previous years, and we can anticipate that mobile platforms will continue to play a larger and larger role in customer communications.
• Social Media: Social media platforms will play a much larger role in Call Center communications in the year ahead. While initially Social Media has been a great way to market your business or services, it is now becoming a means of communicating directly with your customers and offers another avenue to respond to customer needs.
• Video: Video is a major new trend to watch for in 2015 and beyond. Companies like AMAZON & AVAYA have begun to lead the way in offering both one-way and two-way video customer engagement and this is one trend that businesses will need to readily embrace in order to keep a competitive edge.
• The Cloud: While The Cloud has been on the scene for a while now, we can expect to see more and more movement from on-site equipment to the cloud. In fact, a recent article from GARTNER on the Top Tech Trends for 2015 had this to say:
“Cloud is the new style of elastically scalable, self-service computing, and both internal applications and external applications will be built on this new style,” David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow said. “While network and bandwidth costs may continue to favor apps that use the intelligence and storage of the client device effectively, coordination and management will be based in the cloud.”
“Ours is an industry driven by technology and therefore, it is imperative that we make a priority in monitoring coming trends and implementing the changes that technology dictates”
I am in full agreement with the two above mentioned sources in regards to the trends we can expect to see in 2015. The question for me and others in my position is: “Are we ready for these changes?” I believe we are; for if there is one thing those of us in this technology-driven industry have learned in recent years, it is that changes will come quickly and the more adaptable and nimble your systems are the better chance you have of keeping up with all the change.
However, another question that we must ask ourselves is, “Is our staff able to quickly and readily adapt to these changes?” By readily I mean, do my staff and your staff embrace the change or do they resist it? Change can be hard for everyone and as human beings, we have an inherent dislike for change. However, one quality that we strive to foster in our staff is that of “embracing change” and seeing it as an opportunity to increase our knowledge and skill set rather than seeing it as something to be endured. We do this through strong internal communication as well as providing ample training in areas where technology demands new skills. Ensuring that everyone feels equipped to deal with technological advances is imperative to a seamless transition.
In my years as an executive leader, I have also observed that the generation known as, “The Millennials” are sharp and intuitive when it comes to technology. Look to engage your “Millennials” in the teaching of new technologies to others. Not only will you raise a highly-capable training staff, but you will also equip your next generation of leaders.