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Will contact centres take your call?

Today our attention has been grabbed by a piece on Forbes. It asks whether, in the light of increased capacity in IVR and more and more robotics, webchat and all sorts of other automations, contact centres will eventually stop taking our calls all together.

We have an answer.

No they won’t.

To expand a little: 20 years or so ago, the smart money was on everyone being supported automatically, people opting to self-serve through knowledge bases on websites for their customer support and the art of picking up a phone would soon die off.

Figures we’ve seen from BT and elsewhere suggest this hasn’t happened. In a Moore’s Law-style manoeuvre, although the sheer number of interactions through the screen have increased, the number of calls hasn’t shrunk – the demand has just grown.

It’s true that the really easy stuff – checking into banking security, getting a statement or whatever – has been automated completely. The role of the people has changed; they’re not focused on the purely transactional stuff any more.

In terms of the initial question, though, yes, calls will still come in and yes, people will still need to answer them. But no, 2019’s agents will not be taking the same sort of call as you might have had in 2014 – that’s not coming back, and given the relative tedium of so many of the very basic calls, good riddance to it.

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