Is it finally time to stop talking about ‘call centres’? Even the broader term ‘contact centre’ fails to acknowledge the strategic role that customer service teams now occupy. But how should we start referring to call centres instead? Perhaps the customer experience centre?
Perhaps it is just going to be too difficult to enforce a change on the industry, but I foresee that the focus on customer experience we already see today will gradually change the terms we use.
Forward-thinking organisations today have realised that their marketing, sales, and customer service functions do need to work more closely together. The connection to the customer is being redefined. Companies need an holistic view of each customer, they need to know the entire history of their interaction with each customer across all channels, and they need to know which channels each customer prefers using. All this requires analysis and insight.
In many organisations this has been complicated because the area that took the lead on social media interactions has so far been marketing. Now these functions and customer interactions are blurring together. Customers are now seeking engagement before, during, and after a purchase. They are asking for a much richer engagement with organisations – not just advertising as the only pre-sale way that they might have interacted with the brand.
The customer experience is not just developing because of the introduction of social media. The entire process of buying has changed. The way customers seek out prices and information on products in addition to the way that they make a purchase ha all changed.
This combination of multiple communication channels, mobile Internet, price comparison, and instant search has entirely reshaped the way customers behave. All this has happened in the past decade.
Yet the people who manage all of this experience for millions of customers each day are still referred to as the call centre. Let’s see how far we can push the industry commentators towards using customer experience centre instead?
Alistair Niederer Chief Executive Officer, Teleperformance, UK & South Africa.