It’s an exciting time to be a part of the contact center industry as organizations are increasingly looking to use their service experience as the competitive differentiator. At Bluewave, we’re glad to see this shift happening for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, this is elevating the role of frontline agents to be more strategic and influential in providing a great customer experience. The highly repetitive and monotonous tasks are moving to self-service and artificial intelligence, which is enabling the people who provide live service to do more impactful work. We expect this trend to increase over time as Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes the lead in making service interactions easier for consumers while providing more robust data and business insights back to contact center leaders. Eventually, customers should be able to receive service that happens without any need for human intervention, if that’s what they really want. It will be up to companies to design the best blend of AI and human assisted service for their future customer experiences.

Second, it’s forcing organizations to streamline their processes and procedures by eliminating redundancy or reducing complexities. With many organizations focusing on improving the customer experience, they must look across their operations to find the most effective way to deliver service. In many instances, this is driving more ownership and authority to places like the contact center, field service representatives, or brick and mortar customer service employees. This is a problem for many companies, however, because their existing tools and processes are very disconnected and unable to support a mobile workforce. At Bluewave, we just see this as an opportunity to empower these employees with the tools and resources that enable them to do their job anywhere. Leveraging leading call center solutions enables people like sales and service representatives to access everything that they need to connect with and service customers right from their mobile device.

Lastly, this shift to focusing on the customer experience is driving a change in how organizations look at their metrics. Many of the contact center’s metrics are focused on efficiency (cost per contact, average handle time, etc.), which are important but do not tell the whole picture of the customer experience. As a result, there is an increased focus on other operational, customer satisfaction, and strategic value metrics. One thing that is essential to ensuring that the customers, employees, and business are satisfied is system uptime. When the system goes down, nothing else matters. For this reason, we work with certain providers that offer extremely high uptime SLAs, even 100%.

As I look ahead to the future of the contact center, I see tremendous opportunities for organizations to use their frontline agents and tools to deliver great customer experiences. The biggest challenge will be whether or not companies can move past the old perception of the contact center as a “cost center” and realize the possibilities of combining the best platform with their people and processes.