« The COVID-19 pandemic has put to the fore the importance of the contact center », Carlo Costanzia

For most companies out there, customer experience (CX) has become, more than a key differentiator against competition, a crucial element in their battle for survival in an era of great disruption. A  recent Gartner study reveals that 89% of companies expect to compete based on customer experience and services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put to the fore the importance of the contact center as a pillar of customer experience – during the height of the crisis, it became the single contact point between the brand and the customer.

Meanwhile, at the same time, the sanitary emergency has also forced contact centers, like many other industries, to accelerate their digitalization, with remote working, transition to the Cloud, increased use of social media and the use of emerging technologies to answer the needs of a remote workforce and the increasingly digital journey of the customers.

The movement had already started of course, as Millennials and ‘Zs’, the new generation of real digitally-native agents and customers, force the industry to adopt omnichannel work platforms and new digital tools like AI to free workers of the more mundane tasks to add value or offer a personalized experience. This is because both employee and customer loyalty remains a hot topic, with the use of intuitive and effective technology seen as a way to enhance satisfaction for both.

A positive experience makes a real difference to the bottom line. One of the key takeaways of 2020 CallMiner Churn survey is that contact center performance drives both loyalty and churn, with 90% of consumers saying they are likely to stay loyal after a positive call center experience, while nearly three quarters (73.7%) were likely to switch after a negative call center experience.

Finally, what our turbulent times have shown as we speed up digitalization is that we must not lose the people element. A study by Appian (done by IDG in the United States and Europe) showed that 82% of respondents agree that companies must strive to increase the human side of their interactions and add to it more their “personal touch”. 

Technology empowers people but does not replace them. The single most important value of the contact center now and going forward as customers and employees navigate an increasingly complex world is – or should be – empathy.

Carlo Costanzia

CEO of Vocalcom

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