The Future of the Contact Centre

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Capita Customer Management 5th April 2017 3 minute read

The Future of the Contact Centre

Speaking in the April 2017 edition of Capita Customer Management’s Intelligence, Anne Marie Forsyth, CEO of the Contact Centre Association, looks at how contact centres might evolve in the next few years.

In many ways I think the future of the contact centre is tied up with the search for authenticity and agent empowerment. We might start to look a different ways of working to encourage that.

I think we’re going to see more community-based centres of contact excellence. Yes, large, traditional contact centres will continue because not everything moves quickly. You’ll still need a lot of centralised services for financial services and the public sector. But you’re going to see many more models of communication set up around hubs, spokes and distributed models.

I think you’ll see more homeworking. That’s a hockey stick curve with lots of organisations trialling it for contingency reasons, but my guess is there’ll come a point when it suddenly takes off.

We don’t need confidentially for everything, so why couldn’t agents be solving customers problems on the bus, train or whatever, and bringing their own devices into work and so on? A truly digital native workforce.

We also tend to forget that a massive chunk of contact centre activity is around the health service, social services, charities and so on.

I personally think there will be a lot more employment in this sector for people caring and serving people, but it will be differentiated from the way it is today. I think we will become much more aware of the power of groups - groups of Millennials coming together in an organisation, problem solving, forming communities, handling multiple enquiries at the same time, through chat, for people like themselves.

I believe we are in a transition phase at the moment, with some key drivers that are going to tip events, and Millennials are definitely one of them. 

Finally I’d say that as a CEO your job is to find better ways to do business. To do that you have to truly understand how customer service will help you meet your strategic aims. You’ll need to make some hard decisions over the next few years, and you can’t do that without knowing the truth of these things. A 97% CSAT rate doesn’t tell you the whole story. Listening to their people and practising authenticity is absolutely essential.

To read the full interview with Anne Marie Forsyth in the April 2017 Intelligence, visit our Intelligence report hub here.

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