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12 Questions to Prepare Your Contact Center for the Next Decade

Nothing like a round number on the calendar to make us reflect on where we have come as an industry, and where we are going.

It can take one’s breath away to think of all that has changed in this past decade. Just think:

  • There was massive technological change that reshaped every aspect of the contact center.
  • It was a decade when customer experience became the focus.
  • Multi-channel and omnichannel transformed how we interact with customers. We went from communicating across two to three main channels to now being responsible for as many as 10 to 12.

Okay, take one last look back and, perhaps, a breath. More change is coming.

Here are four things to think about to make the most of what might come in the next decade:

People matter more today than ever.

We need to be sure we have a good plan to upskill the people we have to handle the new digital world, but the real work that needs to be done will be in the way we hire and onboard.

Here are some questions to ask to evaluate the process:

  • How long has it been since you updated your job descriptions?
  • Are the roles different?
  • How has your hiring changed?
  • What are your recruiters and supervisors asking when they interview?
  • When was the last time you updated your training manual?

It is my experience that gamified, tested, on-demand training is much more effective than pulling everyone into a classroom or doing huddle training. Consider investing in all of these areas in 2020.

Look for technological ways to help your employees be better at their job.

If Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology continues to improve, I believe we will look back on this next decade in our industry as the decade of AI. And while the impact on customers will be seen through chatbots and natural language processing (NLP), I believe the real impact will be seen in how machine learning will augment the day-to-day work of the agent in areas like workflows, knowledge management, case routing, etc.

As you look to the future, ask yourself the following:

  • Are you knowledgeable about these areas of change?
  • Do you understand the plans your company has for AI?
  • How can you prepare your workforce for the changed landscape that AI brings?

Above all else, ensure your culture is strong.

It is said that a winning culture has two key characteristics:

1) A unique personality and soul based on shared values and heritage.

2) Cultural norms and behaviors that translate the organization's unique personality and soul into customer-focused actions and bottom-line results.

Some questions to consider about your company’s culture:

  • Have you audited what the culture is today – with employee interviews, group meetings, and surveys?
  • Have you defined what you want your culture to be?
  • Do your actions, reporting, coaching, and feedback with employees sync to this culture vision?

Never stop learning.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to do more reading this year.

You may be like me and think you are “too busy” to read, train, and attend conferences. But ask yourself this one final question:

  • In a world where change happens so fast, how will we keep up if we don't find the time and energy to learn?

It is my hope that you can look back at your answers to these questions in a decade and bask in the glow of huge success for you and your center.