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4 Jobs for the Future Contact Center Workforce

When it comes to seeking support, an increasing number of customers skip the phone altogether. Instead of navigating a sea of automated transfers and waiting on hold, they opt for new channels such as live chat, social media and other digitally-based avenues. Consider this recent Forrester report, for example, showing 25 percent more customers used self-service communities over the last three years.

As contact center directors and managers seek to optimize their workforce for the future, they should consider what positions would best accommodate these changes.

As a research analyst, I regularly interview customer service technology developers, and other industry experts. Recently, I asked these companies and some of the biggest names in staffing – such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and SimplyHired – about the kinds of positions they see from their most innovative clients. Here are four roles they see emerging in the customer service team of the future:

Virtual Contact Center Director
The individual in this role would oversee the virtual call center — a network of customer service agents that work off-site (typically from home). This person would decide when and how to interact with these individuals, monitor their performance, and adjust the size of the team as needed. During peak communication cycles, for example, the Virtual Contact Center Director might increase the number of agents on duty.

This person would also consistently comb through key performance metrics to identify weak spots. If they noticed one remote agent lagging behind their cohorts, they could start monitoring calls and provide additional training.

Consumer Support Content Strategist
The individual in this role would continually mine for popular topics in call center notes, as well as review Web analytics data to assess which articles in the self-service community garner the most traffic.

“I am seeing a lot of companies more actively managing their knowledge base. They’re looking at which articles are read, how often, how frequently, and deciding if content has an expiration date,” Mike Hargis, vice president of global operations for CareerBuilder.com, told me.

At the same time, this person would moderate content created by the customer community and facilitate the sharing of this user-generated material. Their goals would be two-fold:

  • Deflect tickets from the call center by encouraging more customers to resolve problems on their own with self-service options; and,
  • Drive customer retention and return purchases by creating a loyal community of brand advocates.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) Developer
The person in this role would help ensure the right answer is found no matter how or where the question is asked–whether it’s typed in a search box on a webpage, in a chat session, or spoken to an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

This requires sophisticated algorithms that can process natural language to find the answer. This person will need to make substantial configurations to apply these Natural Language Processing technologies accommodate their company’s specific use cases and content. They would also need to constantly analyze query success rates to identify subject areas that still need refining.

Social Customer Service Optimzer
The Social Service Optimizer would ensure social customer service efficiency, while keeping an eye out for opportunities to market support interactions. In order to respond effectively, companies have to use social listening technology. This person would work to refine keyword identifiers that tell these systems what signals a customer service message.

If the contact center suddenly gets an influx of calls about a particular product, for example, the coordinator would want to start listening for combinations of that word and “help,” “broken,” “angry” and so on. If a Twitter user responded with a glowing “thank you, I will tell my friends!” that person might handoff the interaction to marketing for promotional uses.

“Companies are training people on these new channels, but they clearly value someone that brings some of this newer technology experience to the position,” says Emily Carlson, senior area vice president for Randstad USA.