How did we ever manage without smartphones and tablets? Their phenomenal success has metamorphosed our lifestyle and the way we communicate, and customers now expect to be able to get in touch with companies wherever they are, without being held in a queue for an eternity.

For contacts centres, this has resulted in the imperative to adapt to this technological and social revolution. Offering a single way of contacting a business – agents at the end of a phone – is no longer sufficient, and call centres have had to re-evaluate their communication channels in order to fulfil their customers’ expectations.

We have all experienced the frustration of having to enter personal or account details while waiting for an operator, only to be asked for the exact same information when we finally talk to someone. This has increasingly become unacceptable from a customer’s point of view when they contact businesses via mobile devices, as they will expect call agents to have access to their data via their mobile apps.

From a company’s point of view, this poses challenges, as it requires integration of the contact centre with business systems, and the acquisition and development of a technology enabling agents to adapt quickly to customers’ queries and have access to any and every relevant details, all of this in a cost-effective manner of course.

Interactive Voice Response has also been transcended with Smartphone apps minimising the need for customer input and providing contact centres with all the information they need to take action, even before the call is answered.

The democratisation of video calls also presents challenges of its own, such as being technologically capable of handling such incoming calls and ensuring that any information exchanged through this communication channel remains secure.

The continuous development of new technology and the necessity for contact centres to adapt and invest may however prove to be costly for businesses and even unachievable for smaller operations.

However, it is vital to offer customers the option to contact you in whichever way they prefer – or risk losing them to competitors who do – and this is when outsourcing your calls to dedicated contact centres, which are able to offer economical and flexible solutions, can mean a world of difference between delivering an ‘ok’ customer service, or an outstanding one which will truly give you a competitive advantage.