July 28, 2017

Contact Centers and Cats

  • Posted by: Donna Penwell
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  • Under: Archives

Everything I know about Schrodinger’s Cat is based on some comments made during an episode of the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory. So when I saw the Cat reference used in an article* about Contact Centers I was intrigued and knew I had to read it.

It turns out that there is a paradox in the Contact Center industry about the use of live agents vs. the omnichannel opportunities made available with smart phone, online chats, social media and other self-service tools. Similar to the example of Schrodinger’s Cat –a complicated quantum physics experiment which questions if a cat inside a box is alive or not – we don’t know if this omnichannel technology utilizing artificial intelligence is going to completely replace humans or if there is some need for personal interaction. Will technology supplant the contact center agent?

Is a live agent necessary?

For now, it seems evident that both self-service and live communication is necessary in the Contact Center world. According to Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research, the statistics demonstrate that people use omnichannel channels to complete their business. He cites these numbers:

  • 86% utilize Web self-service tools
  • 61% choose online chat
  • 37% deal with businesses with social media
  • 75% use 3 or more channels to complete their business

Apparently, people are comfortable using the omnichannel options that are available to them. Does this mean that voice, or direct contact with a live agent, is going away? The paradox lies there. In reality, if there is a problem with a transaction, people want direct contact with a voice, a person, who can listen to their troubles and get some help sorting things out.

Today Contact Centers are charged with providing the best customer service that they can in this competitive business world. They have to incorporate sophisticated self-service functions to satisfy the immediate needs of people who want to do their business in a hurry. But at the same time, they have to nurture that “feel good” side of the business by providing a live person who can be understanding, sympathetic and help solve the more difficult scenarios that can’t otherwise be fixed.

Contact Centers that utilize both omnichannel options and live agents are necessary to satisfy the needs of demanding customer today. The analogy of whether Schrodinger’s Cat inside the box is alive or not might not be the best one in relation to Contact Centers. It seems that both technology and a live person need to be available to offer optimum customer service in a Contact Center.

*Kerravala, Zeus,   Voice…the Schrodinger’s Cat of the Contact Center http://nojitter.com/post/240172766/voice-the-schrodingers-cat-of-the-contact-center