Future of the Contact Centre Event yesterday – a day of blowing hot and cold?

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Yesterday saw another great Customer Management Conference put on by the Engage team at the Park Plaza Victoria, exploring the future of the contact centre.  It was a packed agenda across 2 halls and it was a busy day.  Many of the attendees had battles (almost literally) through the winds and Storm Doris to get there, stepping out of the cold and into the (too warm) conference and exhibition area.
There was, as ever, a mix of new ideas and case studies and the reinforcement of some established and existing concepts.  We had a range of clients, prospects and industry friends at the event and with the title, ‘ Future of the Contact Centre” conversation at times turns to… is this the future.. what’s the ‘killer new thing this year’?  And reflecting on this my conclusion is that rarely have we seen anything launch and take the industry totally by storm, or surprize!  It is much more of an evolution.  With concepts, tools and technologies getting deployed more widely, by more organisations and often clearer and better defined payback and returns shared (which inevitably helps others build into their business plans).
When stepping back a little, it was interesting to consider that an event like this, perhaps 5 years ago, would previously have had many outsource contact centre providers sponsoring, exhibiting and participating at, yesterday though it seemed that technology, automation and knowledge management suppliers were having their day.  That is not to say that the outsourcers are not providing these services – they are, however it is true that they were not there in force promoting how they can help steer clients through the technologies and channel choice of the future.  In fact one outsourcer who was there was Kura, a business that not only has the support technologies but they have an interesting angle and focus on the human impact – motivating and rewarding staff to co-ordinate the many moving parts for the benefit of the customer.
My conclusion was that the challenge, as ever, is selecting, configuring and deploying the technology and solutions, along with suitably skilled, motivated and supported staff to deliver the sales and service outcomes needed.  The channels and technologies will continue to change in relative importance and management need to remain agile in reviewing and adopting these based upon their customers.