Lastly, I want to comment on the value of contact centers for improving digital experiences because they are amazing research environments.
For example, if we're working on an app meant to handle self-service transactions, we'll want to spend a few days in the call center listening in on calls to get a better sense of customer needs direction and talking to call center reps because they really understand the customer.
Whether the call center reps talk to customers on the phone or by chat is not so much the point. These are people who interact with your customer all day long.
In his bestseller Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about how people become experts.
Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become outstanding at something, such as a pianist who'd play at Carnegie Hall or a professional soccer player.
What I would point out is that when you have contact centers, you usually have people who have been interacting with your customers for years and years.
If somebody has been talking full time to your customers via chat or phone 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, that's 2,000 hours a year.
That means if you have employees doing that for five years, or six years, they’ll meet that threshold of 10,000 hours spent talking to your customers, at least if it's a busy call center.
Those customer service reps are experts, with concert-pianist-level knowledge about your customers.
So, when you're trying to create an experience that meets those customers’ needs, you want to leverage those customer experts, and listen to their interactions with customers.
It's a great and inexpensive research technique because you don't have to recruit those customers.
You can just listen and you can do this with call recordings, too. Most contact centers have huge databases of recorded calls.
What's useful about this is if you're trying to solve a particular problem like confusion about international ordering, this might only account for one percent of your orders.
But call center logs allow you to pinpoint calls specifically about that one issue, as long as your call center has reasonably modern technology..
By listening to a small percentage of calls, you’ll better understand the challenges and situations your customers are facing.
After all, the contact center is where all the problems go.
Anyone who can't figure out how to do it online or in your app is calling the call center, so leverage that information to continue to make your digital experiences better.