The modern call center is changing. The trend to outsource customer service to companies located outside of the United States is actually declining. More and more companies are bringing call centers back to the United States amidst service complaints caused by time differences, language barriers, and the lack of a personal touch. As a result of this return to domestic locales, both the designs and the configurations of call center cubicles are having to change to meet the rising expectations of callers. Gone are the days when long rows of personality free workstations are the norm. Today’s call center cubicles are adaptive, intuitive, and ergonomic to a degree never before seen in the office furniture systems industry.
One reason call center cubicles are changing is because the infrastructure of the average call center is changing dramatically. A trend affecting many call centers is cloud computing. This technology allows businesses to host their customer support software. Another trend is to increasingly use metrics to instantly compute ideal staffing levels so that staff adjustments can be made on the spot. Both of these trends require a larger amount of personal space be dedicated to the agent, which in turn calls for call center cubicles that feature a higher level of customization and aesthetics than previous generations of workstations offered.
Call center goals have changed dramatically. In the past, an agent only had “support” the customer by answering questions or fielding complaints. agents now, as well as in the future, will have a much more dynamic role. The rise of smart phones and social media has transformed the typical call center into more of a “customer engagement center.”
What does this mean for call center associates and their management teams? It means the call center has evolved from a “body factory” where associates come and go and answer phones to a place where the responsibility is much greater. The call center associate has evolved to become much more vital to the business.
Associates must now actively monitor the customer’s journey from beginning to end for each product or service. Information must flow freely between the associate and the customer across multiple platforms. To accommodate this, more open call center cubicles with quiet collaboration areas will be needed to support this new level of engagement that now involves far more than simply answering the telephone.
If you have a customer service team, start calling them your customer engagement team. If you have not made the transition yet, your business could be radically shifted into this mode without your even planning for it. Customers may begin demanding that you establish a social media presence and wondering where your latest tweets on Twitter can be found? The customer is becoming savvy and you must follow your customer. What should you do to manage this transition?
1. Understand the impact social media and emerging technologies like cloud computing will have on your business and your customer service associates. Invest in call center cubicles configured to support a diversity of technology tools.
2. Disassemble the “body factory” mentality of the call center. Start cultivating your call center/customer service employees for the transition.
3. Build functional call center cubicles that support “customer engagement.” You are no longer building generic workstations for a rote set of tasks, you are building engagement stations for collaboration and ready access to multiple information tools.
To make a speedy and profitable transition from a call center layout to a customer engagement layout, call Cubiture for complimentary space planning services. Conscious planning of new call center cubicles, management stations, conference areas, and technology centers will radically transform your organization from a problem processing center into a proactive solution source.
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