For some years now, call centres have been going through a difficult period, and the pain is felt as far away as Mauritius. The downsizing of the business, as well as the digitalization of society, is contributing to the slowdown in this sector, where competition and innovation are only increasing. According to a 2015 study by Econsultancy, the use of personalization technologies guarantees a real return on investment, boosting sales by over 19%.
To this frantic race to SMS and chat, chatbots are now added. The latter are already investing in all aspects of customer relations, understood in the traditional sense: the relationship between a customer or prospect and a supplier/retailer, for pre-sales, after-sales service, assistance with order taking and more.
The technological avatar called chatbox?
For those who are wondering, the Chatbox is a new generation of “conversation bots” or “answer engines”. These bots are capable of holding a conversation in natural language, whether it’s via keyboard, like Facebook Messenger, or better yet, by voice, like with Siri, Google or Cortana. Their intelligence and acuity are supposed to be continually improving.
Make way for chatboxes
New avatars of digital technologies, chatbots are revolutionizing the professional world of today, while expanding the field of work of tomorrow. Far from excluding the human element from the customer relationship, they improve its performance by extending its capabilities, giving it a central place in the value chain.
“Chatbots are intelligent tools that improve customer relations and open up new touch points on third-party messaging applications. They can be used to automate recurring low-value tasks, recommend content or products, or answer specific questions about a product, brand or service. Conversational applications are developing in all sectors: e-commerce, assistance, customer relations, publishing, media, operational management.
Is this the end of call centers?
For those who might be wondering, your jobs are not in danger, as Lounis Goudjil, CEO of Manifone, tells us: “In the world of customer relations, I see that the power of voice has increased despite the development of chatbots. Faced with an increasingly competitive environment, companies selling products or services to the general public have realized that the customer experience is the new source of added value. Today, a customer who wants specific information from a company may quickly go in circles with a chat room. After a while, they’ll pick up the phone to find the answers to their questions. However, it should be noted that many remain dissatisfied with artificial intelligence as applied today to customer relations.
“Even if the call centre sector has a bad image, it remains a good sales channel. And in an increasingly digital age, we need the human being at the end of the phone to get help to connect his box or when there is no reception in the middle of the countryside” underlines Emmanuel Mignot.
Who will be the voice of the future?
Voice certainly has a future, but the question that remains” is how and by whom voice will be carried in the future. Skype already monopolizes more than 50% of international voice traffic. Viber, Whatsapp and others are close behind,” adds Lounis Goudjil.
The new generation call center
We are now at the door of change. The evolution of call centers is already underway.
“We are witnessing the development of a new generation of call-centers, capable of advising, and practicing high-level support, remotely, in a personalized way and with availability. The sector is no longer based on quantity, but on quality, with enormous efforts in recruitment, in attracting the right profiles and in training real professionals”, confirms Emmanuel Mignot.
A point of view shared by Marc Schillaci, CEO of Oxatis, who is very vigilant about the quality of his call center based in Madagascar. “All studies show that online customer relations are becoming increasingly important on e-commerce sites. In this context, the presence of an online advisor, easy to contact by chat, phone call or video, is an essential tool for an effective online customer relationship,” concludes the head of Europe’s number one SaaS e-commerce company.