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The evolution of customer service: from call centres to high-tech customer experience centres

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The term ‘customer service’ didn’t even exist when the first call centres saw the light of day in the 1960s. Companies back then hired telephone operators to process orders and answer customer questions. How that has changed today! The focus now is on the customer experience, because a satisfied customer is the best ambassador for your brand. Call centres rely on the latest technology to provide your customers with an optimal customer experience.

The early years of customer service

The first call centres were set up in the 1960s to attend to customers by phone and help them with orders and questions. Most of the time, companies recruited telephone operators to ‘man’ the telephone in the company itself (even though most of the operators at the time were women). Efficiency was paramount: the aim was to handle customer service calls as quickly as possible.

The rise of call centre technology

In the 1980s and 1990s, computers and software became more and more powerful. Companies started using technology to automate their customer service. This gave for instance rise to IVR systems (Interactive Voice Response) that could answer simple customer queries without human intervention.

The Internet revolutionised customer care. Customers could now contact businesses via email, chat and social media. Companies made their customer service ‘omnichannel’ to embrace the new technical possibilities and respond to customer expectations. Early adopters always have an edge over the competition.

Focus on customer experience in high-tech customer experience centres

In the 21st century, the focus of customer service is shifting from efficiency (a quick fix) to customer experience (a positive interaction). Companies realise that a good customer experience is crucial to retain customers and attract new ones. After all, word-of-mouth advertising is the best (and cheapest) advertising.

Call centres are evolving into high-tech customer experience centres that use technology to optimise the customer experience and customer care. In these high-tech call centres, all channels of customer service are integrated. Advanced technologies are used to automate customer contact to a large extent, without however affecting the personalised service.

The benefits of high-tech customer experience centres

Call centres have evolved tremendously, from simple phone support centres to high-tech customer experience centres. Technology, customer experience and personalisation are at the heart of today’s customer service. This offers many advantages:

  • Increased customer satisfaction: customers who contact a high-tech customer experience centre get help faster and more efficiently. Thanks to technology, customer contacts run more smoothly. Professional, well-trained employees are also more committed to providing a pleasant interaction.
  • Improved customer experience: the latest technologies, such as AI, chatbots and in-store terminals, further personalise and optimise the customer experience that is available anytime and anywhere. It truly caters to customers’ needs.
  • Increased employee satisfaction: employees in a high-tech customer experience centre have access to the most advanced tools and technologies to do their jobs. This makes their work easier and more pleasant, and the customers notice this positive attitude.
  • Relatively lower costs: technology automates customer contacts to a higher degree (e.g. with chatbots, interactive voice menus etc.) so that employees can focus on the essence of the customer contact and help the customer in a targeted (faster) way. That reduces the cost of your customer service.
  • Transparent reporting: the digital tools also make it possible to analyse and improve customer contacts. Reporting tools provide a detailed overview of the performance and results of the services provided. The reports also focus on the customer experience, which is measured with Net Promoter Scores (NPS) or Customer Effort Scores (CES).

Are you ready for the future of customer service?

State-of-the-art call centres are constantly investing in new technologies and processes to provide you with the best possible service tailored to the needs of your customers.

The call centre agents specialise in your products so that they can help your customers smoothly, regardless of their preferred communication channels. Technology also allows call centres to provide you with offshore and nearshore outsourcing, which reduces the cost of their services.

Future-oriented call centres are happy to help you prepare for the evolutions in the market, using the latest technology. That is the best way to ensure an optimal customer experience.

WEngage: your high-tech customer experience centre

Contact WEngage today to find out how we can optimise your customer service with our cutting-edge technologies and professional staff.

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