It is now the consumer, not the company, that determines how interactions will be handled. In the last 10 years, the biggest change to affect the contact centre has been the shift in control from organisation to consumer with regards to how interactions are handled, explains Siva Pather, General Manager for Dimension Data Customer Interactive Solutions.

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Siva Pather" />“This shift has had far-reaching implications, and should not be disregarded, especially by industries that rely on communication,” warns Pather. “Those that do not adjust to these changes will fall behind.”

This transformation has served to not only increase communication complexity, but consumer  expectation as well. “Customers today expect service from anywhere, at any time, through any communication mechanism,” Pather explains. “They also expect to receive the same level of service  irrespective of their entry point into the organisation, whether it be via the contact centre, online, or at a  branch.”

There are several technologies available for businesses which address the challenges associated with  these ever-evolving customer communication demands. “Companies are urged to consider investing in  some of these solutions if they want to remain competitive,” says Pather.

1.Multi-modal communications

“In the early 2000s, traditional voice accounted for 80% of overall contact centre communications, but a host of new communication options has greatly challenged its  dominance,” says Pather.

New communication channels such as social media, mobile applications, and self-service portals are all  gaining popularity.

2.Breaking down channel silos

Heightened customer service-level expectations are forcing companies to break down boundaries  between previously-siloed organisational structures in order to maintain competitive advantage.

“Since customers expect a consistent level of service from an organisation at any given time, regardless  of his initial point of entry, companies need to provide a holistic view of the customer across  all divisions, business areas, and even branches,” explains Pather.

3.Increased fraud within contact centres

As interactions are becoming increasingly diverse and complex, there are more opportunities for fraud  and less chances for discovery, explains Pather. “This is especially true where credit card transactions  take place,” he says.

“Organisations are urged to minimise this risk by investing in Payment Card Industry (PCI) solutions.”

4.Real time, real time

Consumers now expect service anywhere, and at any time. This new mindshift  has created the need for realtime analytics tools to be used within the contact centre. “These tools help organisations predict possible customer churn so that the situation can not only be avoided, but  immediate steps can be taken to improve the customer experience,” explains Pather.


Despite several meaningful changes within the industry, the primary business drivers have by and large remained the same, Pather points out.

These include saving costs, improving customer experience, generating revenue, increasing effi ciency,  and reducing risk. “The fact that these have remained largely unchanged means organisations have not fully explored business drivers in the context of the changing communications landscape,” believes  Pather.

If companies truly wish to maximise return on investment, they should consider investing in interaction  management tools, workforce management tools for the back-offi ce, PCI solutions, voice biometrics,  and hosted contact centre models.