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A Live Debate: Will Technology Kill the Call Center?

Customers love the instant gratification of call-in service. Until recently, that's what phone service got them.

But these days, consumers experience extended holding, automated prompts, unhelpful agents and a sea of transfers. Couple this with new technologies for better, faster self-service and you've got a change a brewing in the consumer support industry. But this potential shift in customer contact preference is not completely set in stone. Technology developers at the same time are creating better, faster tools for call-in customer service. So which user experience will win consumers' favor?

Research firm Software Advice will discuss these questions and more later this week in a live debate called, “Will Technology Kill the Call Center?” The event begins at 1 p.m. CST on Thursday, September 27 in a Google+ Hangout. To watch the event and chime in with your own questions, visit my Google+ page that day and comment in the feed. Add me to your circle on Google+ and I’ll send you an event reminder.

I will run the event similar to a political debate. A panel of four experts will answer a set of questions one by one, with opportunities for a rebuttal after each response. I will also close with a few questions from the audience, collected via comments in the feed on my Google+ page. To watch, just go to my profile page and click the round play button in the “Hangouts” box.

Here's a list of the speakers:

  Jim Iyoob is the senior vice president of global development for Etech Global Services. He has more than 15 years contact center outsourcing experience in domestic and offshore inbound, outbound, and live chat operations.

 Shervin Talieh is the founder and CEO of Drumbi–a technology startup focused on mobile and social customer service. Drumbi leverages voice and data synchronization to streamline call routing and phone customer service. Previously, he also served in leadership positions for Goldeneye Solutions and Accenture.

 Laura Bassett is the director of customer experience management and emerging technologies for Avaya Inc. Avaya designs, builds and manages business communications applications for more than one million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500 companies.

 Mike Hennessy is vice president of marketing for IntelliResponse. His company provides “Virtual Agents” and other customer self-service offerings. Previously, he worked for Truition and as a communications consultant for Amazon.com, Dell, The Royal Bank of Canada, Hewlett-Packard, and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

See you there!