The future of contact centers

Getting off the grid: COVID is pushing business leaders to change their perspective on contact centers

  • Simonetta Turek
  • Dec 08, 2020

The programmable contact center allows customers the opportunity to finally build the use cases and engage in rapid customer engagement experimentation that they could not do while on their on-premise and highly customized systems.

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I like to get off the grid. Finding some head space away from the notifications, emails, and cell service is just as important to my productivity as actually crossing off items on my to-do list. It makes me think differently, look at problems and solutions from new angles, and ultimately, be better at what I do.

I’ve spent several years working in the contact center space and the past nine months working remotely. In that time away from the office, I’ve noticed that alongside the new necessity of businesses moving to the cloud, the contact center has finally shown itself as an integral component to excellent customer engagement.

And that makes me excited. Here’s why I think you should be too.

A changing headspace

The contact center market is going through an incredible period of transition and growth. From the technology stack improvements to operations becoming vastly more remote, the contact center has gone from being generally viewed as a ‘cost center’ to an opportunity to drive business outcomes. Further, it extends contact center practices and technologies to other customer touchpoints for full engagement.

In short, COVID-19 has been a good thing for the way businesses view the potential for cloud-based contact centers over on-premise-based products. But that’s also because cloud-based contact centers have already been proving their worth by offering rapid deployment, lower fixed costs, scalability, and inherent flexibility. Beyond that, the programmable contact center allows customers the opportunity to finally build the use cases and engage in rapid customer engagement experimentation that they could not do while on their on-premise and highly customized systems.

So how do we make the time spent off the grid matter? By taking advantage in the shift of perspective.

Making meaning

The changing landscape of remote contact centers due to COVID-19 has shifted the perspective on cloud-based solutions, but the promise of new and upcoming technologies—as well as programmable contact center solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and offer a better user experience—will keep the conversation going.

While COVID-19 has been life-altering, it’s also been an empowering experience for businesses of all sizes to better engage with their customers. And this shift in perspective has led to us to the cusp of a major evolutionary industry change.

The importance of how enterprises relate to their customers has become of strategic import: it can be the critical difference between winning or losing a loyal customer. Looking at digital native companies, it's the customer experience they are innovating on.

Which leads us back to the promise of new technology. Because while the phrase “the new normal” is pretty overused at this point, we can’t possibly go back to where we were before. Not when we have technology to push us forward and the proof that cloud-based solutions work just as well, if not better, for our customers.

So what’s next?

We have a new headspace, we’ve proven that it’s working and now, we dig in to continue to improve upon the future.

This leads us to the exciting opportunity of providing deeper engagement opportunities leveraging, for example, innovative AI capabilities that improve outcomes and engagement writ large. This means continued improvements across everything from deep personalization and meeting customers where they are, customer retention and loyalty, to their overall experience on the platform including accuracy and speed of resolution, and ultimately retention, revenue and profits.

Our customers are approaching this in a variety of innovative ways but the real takeaway here is that the future is more flexible thanks to the technology we’re developing today. Just a few examples of these AI opportunities include:

This, in turn, will lead to a breadth of opportunities in the contact center ecosystem, such as more deeply integrated learning systems, workforce engagement and optimization solutions.

That “a-ha” moment

For me, getting off the grid is transformative. It makes me a better listener, and allows me to focus on what is really important, both personally and professionally. I believe the same can be said for the transformation that’s happening across our industry. Stepping away from business as usual has made us all evaluate how to approach problems, find solutions, and be more open to new ideas in the future.

I’m excited to be a part of what’s next.

Read the report

Explore insights from our 2020 State of Customer Engagement Report

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Simonetta Turek

Simonetta Turek is the General Manager of Twilio Flex. Simonetta joins us from AWS and a long career in enterprise software and communications, with a passion for and extensive knowledge of the customer engagement space.