As we celebrate Customer Service Week, we thought it might be fun to take a glance back at the evolution of customer experience and ask ourselves, “Would Darwin approve?”
Eye of The Tiger?
The unrefined version of a contact center, an in-house customer service department in the 1980’s, gets a call from a customer. Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” music is playing while the customer is on hold. The interaction is effective, yet lengthy. The costs to the business? High. Customer satisfaction? Satisfactory. Scalability for expansion for the internal center is a challenge as commercial office space is limited and flexibility is non-existent.
Livin’ La Vida Loca?
But this internal, yet archaic prototype is the springboard for the next era: remote call centers. Cue the big hair of the eighties as telecom just started to deregulate and businesses now have the opportunity to move customer service off site. Hence, the genesis of call centers. Not everyone is singing like Ricky Martin in “Livin’ La Vida Loca” as customer connect times are slower with “high speed” dial up transferring calls to remote agents at a snails space. Costs to the businesses have decreased as “voice jail” squelches customer satisfaction. The good news is scalability and flexibility have increased astronomically as remote call centers spring up everywhere.
Who Let the Dogs Out?
These innovations ushered us into the advent of broadband in 2000’s. Businesses, along with Baha Men, were wondering “Who Let the Dogs Out,” as the technology allowed for call centers to be moved overseas. Now, when a customer calls they are transferred to an overseas call center via VoIP as they are greeted by a live voice laced with a heavy foreign accent, which requires the customer to repeat their requests several times. The costs to the businesses are even lower than the nineties, but at what price? Customer satisfaction is at an all-time low. Scalability and flexibility are higher than they have ever been as the pool of low-cost customer care representatives is plentiful.
As Darwin theorizes the amoeba changes into a fish, then into an animal, customer service continues to evolve, too. The 2010’s call centers have morphed into contact centers which handle all forms of customer communications including email, faxes, live support software, social media, and instant messaging. It is debatable if the customer is now singing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams as businesses are off-loading all aspects of customer care. With the advent of on-shore contact centers, a customer is transferred to a remote, yet English-speaking customer care ambassador. Customer Satisfaction is soaring and businesses are enjoying the lower costs of a more efficient customer care experience. And, scalability and flexibility are even higher than a decade ago.
As we are about to enter into the 2020’s, businesses utilizing remote on-shore contact centers are encouraged by Lauren’s Daigle’s hit, “You Say” soars to the top of the Billboard charts. Garter Research agrees, “by 2025, the contact center organization will be exploiting the benefits of an application ecosystem and tools to better equip staff to work in teams. Application leaders for customer service must assess the technology and changes for the future of work to provide cutting-edge customer experiences.” These changes will decrease costs for businesses, increase customer satisfaction, scalability, and flexibility for the entire industry.
Would Darwin approve of the evolution of customer service? As we are entering the fifth decade of the rapidly changing customer experience industry, I would offer a resounding, “Yes.”
Activus Connect is a leader in the contact center industry and believe at evolving at a faster pace than the industry as they employ innovative technologies such as conversational analytics, secure-cloud technologies, and provide the most efficient approach to customer experience, customer care outsourcing via their Smart Virtual platform. Activus also boasts a 100% QA auto-score solution, customer sentiment insights, and interaction compliance across all channel it supports on behalf of its customers. To determine how Activus Connect can meet your customer care needs, click here.
Photo: Operator Services TSPS by Kenneth Martin / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0