Are Agents a Dying Breed? | IAT SmartDial® Solutions

Are Agents a Dying Breed?

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Imagine you run a call center and one day you walk in and find that all the cubicles have been removed and all of the agents have been let go. Does that make you smile or does it send a shiver down your spine?

It doesn’t seem too long ago that the promise of the 21st Century was one of simplicity and automation. How many of you remember being told that in the future we would have flying cars, robots, and Soilent Green food pills? It’s ten years into the “future” – the 21st Century – so where the heck is my jet pack and why do you still manage call center agents? Especially when every dialer company on the planet talks about agent-less dialing and inbound IVRs?

Technology is a wonderful thing, and it does simplify our lives in many areas, but no matter how much technology you deploy in your call center, the human touch is not going to go way! As the high-tech in our lives advances, so too must the high-touch of the human interaction.cheap blue lagoon inflatable

A recent article by Rosanne d’Ausilio, Ph.D., an industrial psychologist who specializes in call center operations says:

The ability of a company to provide human-to-human connections–back and forth live communication–continues to be critically important. The fact is voice is the most natural and powerful human interface, real time or otherwise. That isn’t going to change any time soon.”

Using automated voice messaging products, both inbound and outbound interactive style of communications is a good business strategy provided you also have a strong strategy in place to leverage the high-touch relationship that your agents can impart. Using agent-based call center interaction along with agent-less communication together can be the difference between you and your competition.

“In today’s competitive marketplace there is little difference between products and services. What makes the difference–what distinguishes one company from another–is its relationship with the customer. Who has the awesome responsibility for representing themselves, their companies, perhaps their industry in general? Front line representatives.”  – Rosanne d’Ausilio, Ph.D

An example of how this played out (according to a New York Times article) is how Netflix  was able to completely turn its business around, picking up significant market share from its primary competitor Blockbuster, which had a traditional retail presence but actively took measures to prevent customers from being able to reach live human beings in a call center.

So as much as managers of call centers would love to simply oversee agent-less dialing machines and inbound IVR and payment processing. The human factor still plays too important of a role in collecting a payment from a customer. Too much reliance on agent-less technology could be limiting your growth and your receivables.

How are you integrating the high-touch from agents with the high-tech of your dialers and IVRs?

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This article was written by Dave C

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