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Disruptive Forces and Their Impact on BPO: Part 4 - Digital Renews Opportunities in Customer Management Services

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There has always been a big divide between those suppliers that are comfortable handling voice and those suppliers that were comfortable handling data with very few comfortable with both.

However, the impact of digital is such that it increases the need for voice and data convergence. A common misconception in customer service is that the number of transactions is going down. It isn’t, it is increasing. So while the majority of interactions will be handled by digital rather than voice within three years, voice will not disappear. Indeed, one disruptive impact of digital is that it increases the importance of voice calls, and with voice calls now more complex and emotional, voice agents need to be up-skilled to meet this challenge. So the voice aspect of customer service is no longer focused on cost reduction. It is now focused on adding value to complex and high value transactions, with digital largely responsible for delivering the cost reduction element.

So what are the implications for BPO vendors supporting the front-office. Essentially vendors now need a strong combination of digital, consulting, automation, and voice capability and:

  • Need to be able to provide a single view of the customer & linked multi-channel delivery
  • Need to able to analyse and optimize customer journeys
  • Need the analytics to be able to recommend next best actions both to agents and through digital channels.

On the people side, agent recruiting, training, and motivation become more important than ever before, now complicated by the fact that differing channels need different agent skills and characteristics. For example, the recruiting criteria for web chat agents are very different from those for voice agents. In addition, the web site is now a critical part of customer service delivery, and self-serve and web forms, traditionally outside the mandate of customer management services vendors, are a disruptive force that now needs to be integrated with both voice and other digital channels to provide a seamless end-to-end customer journey regard. This remains an organizational challenge for both organizations and their suppliers.

Coming next – the impact of the move to platform components

Disruptive Forces and Their Impact on BPO - previous articles in series

Part 1 The Robots are Coming - Is this the end of BPO?

Part 2 Analytics is becoming all-pervasive and increasingly predictive

Part 3 Labor arbitrage is dead - long live labor arbitrage




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