Adding soul to contact centres

Olga Botero writes:

I came home one night from work, and my 15-year-old daughter told me, "Mommy, a robot called you to confirm our reservations to go to Peru during Easter break." I could not help laughing. I laughed so much she got upset. She said, "I am serious. It was not a person. It was really a robot." And she started imitating the voice. It was a contact center agent reading a script.

Last week, when my daughter received the call from the "robot," no one asked her why we were traveling. Nobody asked her if we were a family on vacation. No one asked her if we were vegetarian or liked aisle seats or windows. What a great opportunity that agent missed!

"Marketing in the future will be self-selecting, said Jason Mittelstaedt, vice president of marketing for RightNow Technologies, speaking at Gartner’s 2006 CRM Summit in London. Mittelstaedt noted that Time magazine’s "person of the year" for 2006 was the typical consumer, and yet, many organizations still don’t understand how fast their customers are changing. According to Mittelstaedt, 65 percent of customers stop doing business with companies because of bad experiences with a product or service, and 27 percent never return. And yes, this includes contact centers.

Two magic words are all it takes to turn the contact center into the magical place it’s meant to be: LISTEN and ASK. Robots do not listen and ask. But humans, even with lots of technology to make their life more efficient, do.

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