Industry Commentary

Front-Office BPOs Must Be Wary of ‘Cool Technology’

By July 23, 2018December 14th, 2022No Comments

The successful delivery of contact center services relies on the provision of quality customer experience and application of the right technological solutions.  So it is clear that finding ways to interface both agents and end-users with technology that can facilitate a strong interaction goes far in driving customer loyalty.  Many outsourcers already realize that finding the right technologies is a struggle, but it is one worth enduring.  History has proven that a strategic focus on deploying solutions that work well from both the client’s and the end-user’s perspective results in a happier, longer-term commercial partnership.

In many ways, contact center service players have been exceptionally strong in finding the right technological tools that they can leverage to strengthen their daily operations.  Behind the scenes, the application of analytics has been a clear differentiator for many third-parties in terms of providing a strong value-add service.  Gamification solutions designed to optimize agent cross-selling / upselling have also proven successful.  From a front-office perspective, the advances in RPA-enabled chat-bots have been notable in reducing costs and optimizing operations.  Coupled with the growth of broader digital channel interactions and the ongoing evolution of speech automation, the story today is a solid one when considering contact center technology.

Still, providers must be vigilant in maintaining this positivity and avoiding pitfalls that could be damaging commercially.

One of the biggest mistakes that any third-party can make in today’s market is to get ahead of the enterprises and consumers in terms of what is being deployed to enable end-user management.  The term ‘cool technology’ entered popular culture some two decades back, denoting the use of solutions that were perhaps cutting edge, but that were also ahead of their time in relation to their contemporary applicability.  If contact center service providers are not careful, they run the risk of getting caught up in the technology hype without considering real-world practicalities.

In this regard, Shakespeare’s quip that “what’s past is prologue” is fitting.  Providers eager to deploy new technology solutions need only look to those that jumped the gun in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  As an example, very few are likely to forget the problems that soured consumers on speech-automated IVR, which proved a source of frustration for enterprises and providers during that period. It was not that the solutions were necessarily bad; rather, in many cases deployments had been poorly implemented, and executives were blind to the fact that large numbers of consumers did not like speaking to machines with rudimentary interfaces.  Lessons learned from the history of the contact center sector can be invaluable in moving forward today.

They key for contact center providers in the current market is understanding what technologies are relevant for interfacing with their clients, and making certain that any deployment is stress-tested to the highest confidence and supported in the best possible manner.  Be it a half-baked bot or a speech-automated solution that does not quite cut it, poorly implemented solutions will only erode end-user loyalty.  Understanding the technology tolerance of consumers is also important, in order to make certain that the right balance of automation and live-agent balance is calibrated.  This will depend on many factors, which include the particular vertical in question, as well as the age demographic and income level of the consumer.  But, contact center providers must work hand in hand with enterprise clients to ensure that the relevant research enables flawless execution.  In today’s commercial environment, end-users are not ready to tolerate what they perceive as weak interactions.