Democratization of Customer Service
Over the last two months, we have all experienced a sea change in the way we work and how we communicate with those around us. We are living in a world where we feel comfortable standing six feet apart and where Zoom is no longer a board room brand but is now a generic household name that our parents and kids are using. Some would say that Zoom is becoming a “Band-aide” or “Kleenex” of past generations.
As Bob Dylan would say, “The Times They Are A-Changin.”
Our CEO, Rowan Trollope, likes to say that “the contact center will change more in the next 5 years than the past 25 years combined.” There is no doubt the recent shelter in place/work from home mandates will significantly accelerate this change.
With technology being so ubiquitous it is becoming so easy to connect and share at a moment’s notice. This is not just a consumer trend but one that is happening in the business world and no doubt customer service. Customer service is becoming so easily accessible to companies no matter the size. The ubiquity of technology is driving a lot of the democratization of CX. Below are a few points I have thought about over the last few months in relation to this topic:
- Step one is moving to the cloud: We talk a lot about moving to the cloud. The reason is because the cloud allows businesses of all sizes to seamlessly go live with a remote contact center in a matter of days. Over the last two months and in response to COVID, Five9 has actually been able to support a number of companies launch a fully functional call centers with forty-eight hours and in some cases just a handful of hours. Enabling a 100% remote call center workforce in just 48 hours isn’t something a business could do with an on-prem platform.
- Step two is moving to the burbs and the acceleration of Second Cities: There has been a lot written on how companies are scaling work from home CX teams (see here and here to name a few). With so many companies requiring a remote workforce over the last few months, there is a likelihood that people will move out of major metros to better plan for future social distancing mandates. The odd thing is this really isn’t a new development. Steven Case, former co-founder of AOL, wrote about this rise in his book, The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future. It is what he calls the rise of the second cities. Now that companies know they can manage CX remotely, which is made possible with cloud-based technologies, the question slowly shifts to will they? Knowing the amount of overhead needed to run a call center, will more call centers enable remote workforces or will they still require teams to be in the office?
- It has never been easier to have more human customer service: In the past customer service and customer experience were terms people would say kind of like digital transformation, Next Gen, etc. There was little written about it, but everyone knew it was a buzzword that enterprises cared a lot of about. But now, there is so much data behind good CX. Not to mention the amount of information written on the core metrics contact center managers need to pay close attention to. A simple Google search can provide brand all the benchmarks they need for customer satisfaction score (CSAT), first contact resolution (FCR) or average handling time (AHT). The metrics for better service are not only standardized but they are benchmarked by vertical, industry and likely customer type. Additionally, these are metrics that come standard for any benchmarking reports when working with Five9.
- It is easier to keep staff engaged: Historically, retaining a CX team has always been the biggest challenge for call centers. Now with gamification programs, call center managers are able to keep CX teams engaged – even from remote locations.
- Technology integrations: There is a lot to be said on this, but I will keep this short. Likely the biggest reason why we are seeing a democratization of customer service is because of how ubiquitous the technology is becoming. Now more than ever teams are able to develop call routing with simple drag and drop functionality. They are able plan out work schedules that better align with marketing campaigns, seasonality, social queues while connecting front-office and back-office communications platform with a click of a button. Five9 is seeing this happen every day and are investing in the space (acquisitions like Whendu and Virtual Observer to name a few).
There is no doubt that the CX space is rapidly changing and that great customer experience is accessible to companies of all sizes. Only time will tell how CX will develop over the next 5-10 years. If you are interested in hearing what the experts are saying tune into hear Rowan Trollope, CEO of Five9 and Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom discuss what is next for Customer Communications in this On Demand Webinar.