What does Maintel do in the contact centre space?
Maintel has delivered hundreds of contact centre solutions for customers of all shapes, sizes and industries. Our contact centre practice includes experts at designing, managing, supporting and integrating all aspects of a modern contact centre.
We offer on premise, hybrid and cloud contact centre systems with market leading workforce optimisation solutions. In addition to the nuts and bolts of the solutions, we also provide contact centre consultancy, digital transformation programmes and staff training amongst other things.
Since acquiring Azzurri back in May 2016, we also offer Contact-Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) using our unique ICON Contact platform. It delivers a hosted, enterprise class CCaaS solution that combines the flexibility of the cloud with the features of a highly capable on-premise solution.
How do you think the contact centre market has changed in the last year?
The contact centre has had to change because customers have changed. The ease of access to the Internet and search engines has made each customer a expert on your business. Combined with the explosion of smartphones and other mobile devices, this has created a need for access to products and services to be effortless as well as competitively priced. Self-service is no longer a ‘nice to have,’ but a staple demanded by the millennial generation.
In this new market, where monopoly has almost been completely eradicated, it’s all about effortless customer experiences - ease is the new loyalty. In 2016, blanket market and sales messages do not work: only personalised approaches will resonate with customers in this hectic world. Data analytics (used correctly) mean that calls with customers can be and must be personalised and specific to the their individual wants and needs.
As voice channels are on the decline, this may seem like bad news for contact centres, but other communication avenues such as video, chat and social are actually on the rise. These channels can be just as personal as a traditional voice call and need the skills of experienced contact centre professionals.
How important is training for contact centre professionals?
Training is critical to success when it comes to contact centre teams. As the staff demographic changes, contact centre providers need to train and invest in their workforce or they will end up in a cycle of constantly buying in new skills that only ‘just get’ customer service.
Millennials bring the skills to lead contact centre businesses, as they innately know what customers expect and don’t have to be taught. While contact centres are, in the main, behind the digital curve, this will not always be the way: consultancy will be hired to provide innovation and training.
What predictions for the future do you have when it comes to the evolution of contact centre technology?
What does the future look like? We’re going to be seeing more predictive interactive voice responses (IVRs), which are perfectly placed to handle particularly large call volumes.
In terms of the working habits of contact centre professionals, the sector will begin to embrace flexibility enabled by the growth of the cloud. We’ll therefore see an increase in homeworking as well as an expansion in what is typically viewed as ‘working hours’ as we work much smarter.
As for changes we will see in the customer service landscape in general, we’re likely to see more use of artificial intelligence, but this doesn’t usurp the need for real live human beings. In instances where customer needs aren’t met by artificial intelligence, chat or other avenues, live agents are critical to retaining customer loyalty and ensuring that the customer’s journey is a successful one. After all, self service doesn’t work for everyone.
What tips would you give to a contact centre manager?
The absolute key to being a successful contact centre is to have a comprehensive understanding of your customer demographic and their preference for conducting business.
It’s not about you and what technology you want to adopt: it’s about taking a deep look at your customer base and understanding what they want. You need to very carefully look at the type of business you’re in and the generation(s) you’re appealing to, whether it’s baby boomers, generations X, Y or Z...or all of the above.
We’re entering an era where smartphones and tablets are outnumbering the world’s population – where the proportion of people calling contact centres via their mobile phone is as high as 80%. Your customers’ wants and needs are changing in reaction to this, and your contact centre must accurately reflect these changes.