Having my kids away at college has been an adjustment in communication and keeping up with each other on our lives and activities. I find myself saying, “Why don’t they just call me? (You can ask my wife.) They know my number, they know Dad’s “hours of operation” are 24-by-7, they know they won’t wait in any queue to talk, my average speed to answer is instantaneous, and they don’t need to worry about the average length of call. I make it so easy for them to call, but do they? Noooooooooooo! So I have resorted to other ways to communicate out of necessity to keep up with them and impart my “fatherly” knowledge.
Over Thanksgiving, my 21-year-old-daughter and 18-year-old-son came home from college to spend time with my wife and youngest daughter, who is 14. What struck me when we were together was how many new ways and applications my kids are using to communicate with their friends and organizations they belong to. They use texts, posts, pictures, video, opinions, pinning and other new ways to communicate that I barely knew existed. Just as I was getting used to texting and social media, I realized that to communicate with them I would soon be getting more devices and downloading a bunch of new apps. These kids are driving and changing my behavior.
Then it hit me: I am like a contact center, and my kids are the customers. It used to be good enough to have a toll-free number for customer service and wait for the calls. But today that is not good enough anymore. Consumers, just like my kids, are moving to new devices, technologies and applications at a rapid pace. They have expectations that they will communicate when and how they want to. Now, my kids know that “contact center dad” will only change so fast, but they continually challenge me to adapt until I learn how to best communicate with them. This is the same challenge that businesses face today with their customers and potential consumers.
How do they transform their old contact center ways into new customer contact strategies? Just as with our kids, it starts with understanding your customers, how they want to communicate, and what the most effective channels are. My son is a “texter”, my youngest is a “poster”, and my oldest is a mix. Customers and consumers are changing the way they communicate not only with companies but also with each other. They’re changing the way that they buy services, and their expectations for service and care are no longer passive and latent.
Because of these changes, companies are struggling to effectively address how they create and manage those customer interactions to make them proactive, predictive and consistent from channel to channel and across an explosion of customer touch-points.
Just like dads, companies need help with their customer contact transformation journeys. You need someone who has been there and knows where to start. Your “kids” will appreciate the effort and communication will flow. In business, this means more opportunities, brand intimacy and happier customers. For dads, this means helping your kids navigate a difficult world even when they think they know it all.
Oh, there is one more similarity between the role of contact centers and dads: When there is trouble or money involved, you are sure to get a call.