Executive Interview : 2015 / 2016 - Interview With Martin Conboy From The Outsourcing Guide
Change is coming according to Martin Conboy From The Outsourcing Guide. ContactCenterWorld.com asked Conboy about the contact centre industry in 2015 and also about what lies ahead for 2016. Read his take on what he says lies ahead for Australia's contact centre industry.
In your opinion, what has been the greatest challenge the contact center industry has faced in the last 12 months?
Recently Telstra (Australia’s biggest Telco) CEO David Thodey said that call centre jobs across a range of sectors will not exist in five years because of the surge in Internet and smartphone applications.
Mr. Thodey said that he understood the "enormous costs" to local communities caused by taking away call centre jobs in Australia.
"More and more you'll use an application on your phone and you'll use the web to interact with us so the future of call centre jobs is less in the future," he said. "In reality these jobs (Call centres) will not exist in five years."
"We need to be more innovative, we need to create businesses in software, in innovation, in all those areas and some of the other types of jobs we've had in the past just won't be there," he said.
When it comes to customer service, there will always be a role for a live conversation with a company representative. Yes, the rise of self-service options decreases the quantity of interactions that need a live conversation (as the tools get better and consumers get more comfortable with them).
But, there is always going to be cases where self-serve tools fall short. Meaning, the transactions that end up with a live agent are going to be more complicated and more likely to involve an upset customer.
The ability to manage customer interactions across a wide range of channels is key.
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Why do you believe has this been a challenge?
Jobs are not just being outsourced, they are being replaced by self service computer apps i.e. Travel apps, self service banking apps, etc. and Robotic process automation.
How much will automation impact the level of off-shored outsourcing and BPO? According to the Everest Group, North American companies believe automation gives them the ability to bring their work back on shore. A similar trend seems to be prevalent in the UK and Europe. Automation reduces the advantages brought about by labour arbitrage, where software robots are even cheaper than wages in developing countries.
The Integration of a mix of live voice and digital channels will be hard to manage in terms of prioritization.
In 2016, what do you think will be the top priorities in the contact center industry for each of the following: a) Contact Center Directors b) Company Executives c) IT Directors
A) Directors - Middle management up-skilling
B) Executives - Getting their head around different pricing models and cost pressures
C) IT Directors - Integrating the cloud and new digital and social media channels into the mix
What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 12 months?
The cloud and new customer apps.
Do you feel the service you personally get as a customer is better or worse than it was a year ago? Please share some examples to illustrate your view.
Since the global shift to locations like the Philippines, service levels (NPS) have customer service scores have improved dramatically. The increased emphasis on the customer 'experience' has helped. Serious players are putting the customer at the centre of their re-engineering efforts.
What do you think will be the buzz word / focus for the contact center industry this year?
Efficiency and cost savings
Lastly, what do you think 2016 holds for the industry? (good or bad and where/how etc)
Jobs will be lost due to new technology and automation/self service. Many more countries will be looking to get a piece of a diminishing Voice pie.
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About Martin Conboy:
Martin was voted into the top five most influential and respected people in the global call centre outsourcing industry in November 2014.
Published: Monday, December 21, 2015
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