Digital tech mobilised SA contact centre industry overnight
Up to 100 000 contact centre agents across the country were successfully mobilised ahead of the COVID-19 lockdown in March, fast-tracking the sector’s moves to digital.
This is according to Tanya Phillips, COO of Pivotal Data, who says the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of contact centres and catalysed digital journeys for those who had been slow to migrate to digital customer experience models.
“There have been many success stories,” she says. “Traditionally, contact centre agents use desktop PCs, so their companies had to either purchase laptops or arrange to send the PCs home with agents. Then there was connectivity to consider: there were challenges around the reliability of connectivity and the cost of data, and companies often had to be creative in how they enabled internet connectivity for call centre agents. Once they had cleared these initial hurdles, they had to embrace new operations approaches for managing teams, collaboration and training.”
The sector had to pivot virtually overnight, and those that were advanced on their digitalisation journey found it easier to make the transition, Phillips says. Having been forced to transition, the sector is unlikely to look back.
Phillips says: “CTOs and CIOs are now under massive pressure to digitise more and move to the cloud. They are engaging with stakeholders and vendors in their efforts to move to something far more flexible, accessible and scalable. The way companies deliver customer experience is changing, with the growing adoption of multiple digital channels, speech analytics and self-service tools. More than ever, people will now start looking at how they leverage artificial intelligence and bots in customer experience. These tools may well have been on their roadmaps, but COVID-19 has fast-tracked adoption.
It’s almost an active redundancy solution, where companies are now trialling new technology and operating models, and we expect that some contact centres will permanently close sites and only work remotely, while others will move to a hybrid contact centre – remote work model.”
“It’s incredible – COVID-19 genuinely was the catalyst we were waiting for. It proved that technology was capable of delivering everything people said it could,” she says.
Phillips will unpack the emerging trends in customer experience address in an upcoming webinar entitled ‘How COVID-19 is driving the digital customer experience.’ The webinar is part of ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on Digital Transformation’ Webinar Series to be hosted by ITWeb on 7, 8 and 9 July 2020. Phillips will outline emerging digital customer experience trends and local success stories; while a customer will give insight into how they overcame the new challenges. An expert panel will also outline key considerations and tools for digitalisation in collections, sales, service and digital banking.
For more information about this session sponsored by Pivotal Data, a specialist provider of contact centre, customer experience and enterprise communication solutions, please click here.