Contact Centers: Uncovering Transformation in a Digital Era

January 12, 2022
Written by
Karla Nussbaumer
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

Contact Centers: Uncovering Transformation in a Digital Era
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change."
-Charles Darwin

This phrase from Charles Darwin reminds me of how we have evolved in how we live, work, and even how we have fun. Do you remember how you used to watch your favorite TV show or cartoons? I remember that I had to finish my homework and chores at a certain time, so I did not lose my TV show. Yet, there was an inconvenience: I had to watch TV advertisements which sometimes took up 40% of the time I dedicated to the show.

Nowadays, we have so many alternatives – easier and simpler – to have a pleasant time. Today, I can watch my preferred movies – anytime, anywhere, and without advertisements – by streaming my movies. And beyond that, I can pause and continue watching them at my convenience.

This is just one example of how we have adapted to a new digital era. At Twilio, we have noticed how change is inevitable, in particular for the contact center and customer service market, in the last two years.

A focus on our customers' needs

In 2020, we heard from several prospects and customers that the main drivers for changing their contact center were focused on keeping their business and operations up-and-running. Most of them did not feel prepared for the changes that the pandemic brought.

Our customers' main needs

  • Augmentation: to extend a new service and adapt to new trends.
  • Migration to the cloud: to simplify IT activities.
  • Removing silos: to eliminate the barriers caused by having multiple platforms that did not integrate with each other.

Like BGL Group that migrated its legacy contact center to the cloud in just 8 days. In total, 1200 agents became fully remote and all of BGL’s contact centers remained open serving customers during this time.

"When lockdown restrictions came in, our priority was keeping colleagues safe and customers supported. Our investment in Flex meant that this was achievable in a short space of time and without dropping a day of service. We were able to keep all channels of communication open, achieve or improve our customer satisfaction scores, and our teams adopted the new system with enthusiasm."
-Jayne Landsdell, Associate Director or process and Technology at BGL

The following chart exemplifies what Twilio heard from prospects and customers. It shows how the top contact center drivers changed from one year to another one (2020 to 2021). From fixing a problem to being more strategic for the future.

Top Change Drivers Chart

In 2021, we observed a change in our prospects’ and customers’ drivers, they were being more strategic about the future. We noticed that their primary drivers of change were:

  • Innovation and transformation: to deliver a unique service or use case without being restricted by the technology. Interviewees realized that their existing Contact Center was limiting the ability to evolve in an era where we are constantly changing.
  • Gain flexibility: to connect their business applications to the contact center. And to change or add new features unique to their operations. Respondents agreed that they had business applications that were not completely integrated into their contact center, resulting in long interaction resolutions because agents spent time browsing multiple applications instead of getting the data needed on their screen.
  • Remote work: enabling all employees to work from home as if they were in the office. Some people confirmed that their technology was not prepared to support remote work. They had to upgrade, migrate or simply acquire a new contact center to keep their operations up-and-running in a matter of days.
  • Improve their digital experience: to boost their customers’ communication experience with new channels. Making interactions faster, shorter and with a first contact resolution. Respondents mentioned that their systems were limited to voice only or sometimes to email and chat, but they lacked the ability to integrate SMS, WhatsApp or other social media channels which would allow them to expand their service to different audiences and improve their contact resolution.

For instance, Scorpion, a legal firm, was looking to innovate further than what their previous technology allowed.

"With the Twilio Flex platform, we experience a 30% reduction in average handle time. It also gives us the freedom to focus on the creative use of contact center technology in our business. We can iterate more quickly, without losing control over the things we care about owning. Other solutions are too rigid or disconnected from our systems to allow us to innovate the way we want to innovate, but Flex gives me confidence that we will continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the rapidly changing digital world."
-Grace Miller, VP of Product at Scorpion Law Firm Digital Marketing

The benefits of Twilio Flex

These interviews revealed some of the benefits that our customers get from Twilio Flex. In particular, innovation and flexibility have been unique factors to our programmable contact center platform. As part of the digital evolution, we enable our customers to transform their customer experiences and to go beyond the traditional contact center needs. Resulting in customers using our platform for modern use cases - such as communication hubs, curbside pickup, vaccine inventory management and distribution, asset control, and advanced concierge experiences among others – which are the use cases that are transforming our life experiences.

The only thing constant in our daily activities is change. For this reason, I encourage you to analyze what your future strategies are and to check which technology gives you the flexibility to:

  • evolve as you need
  • make your business thrive in a dynamic world
  • unfold new differentiation for your customers

If your contact center is a cost center, it's time to transform it into a revenue generating center. And we are here to help!

Some useful resources:

Karla is Head of Technical Marketing at Twilio. She is responsible for establishing Twilio Flex as the leader in the contact center market. With technical consulting, research and storytelling as her core skills, she has developed and executed programs to increase Flex growth in the industry. Before Twilio, she held product marketing and sales roles in the contact center and collaboration industry. Her experience spans across several technologies to develop GTM strategies and increase revenue.