Earlier in the week, I spoke to a conference of call and contact center managers. When I was asked to speak some months ago, I wondered what I could possibly say to the group that would be interesting. I mean, I know a little about a lot of things (I am marketing and sales) but I didn't know what would be a concern for this group. Fortunately, when I arrived they were running a bit late and I got to listen to two other speakers discuss their "successes" in the industry. However, it was the definition of success that got my attention. Currently, the world of directory assistance and yellow pages is seeing a significant drop in revenue and traffic. Yellow pages are being used more for doorstops than a source of phone information. Therefore, you would expect the industry to working to develop strategies that would identify how to grow their revenues. Instead, I heard about how to slow the fall. It was a "Scotty beam me up moment."
The reason such businesses are failing is because they have not embraced the power of IP communications nor the change in how people want to access information. In the target age group of 18-30, "411" is typed more as an abbreviation when texting than dialed to request a phone number. I often refer to myself as the "old man". Mostly to remind myself that I have to avoid thinking as if I understand what the coming generations would find interesting or how they would use a new technology. Today, rather than dialing 411, this age group is more likely to use 1-800-GOOG-411, Gowalla, or Foursquare. The question then becomes what existing information services are doing to attract and support these users in the fashion they desire.
An effective contact center does not depend upon voice communications only and having a web presence is not enough. An effective contact center embraces the full capabilities of IP communications and makes the interaction with its target audience broadly based and defined by the user. Voice, video, instant messaging, social media, email, etc. should all be available. Interestingly, VoIP, while well known, has also not been embraced by these call or contact centers. While I always recommend using SIP Trunking from Broadvox, in this case there are very valid reasons to do so. With a SIP Trunk, the contact center will have the infrastructure to support the aforementioned methods of contact and receive the native benefits if load balancing, geographical distribution, instant scalability, bursting and business continuity.
In the end, I think I offered some interesting insights to the group. I know that I left thinking that how Broadvox positions its GO! SIP Trunking products to contact centers will be different in the future. Unified Communications, collaboration, and survivability features will be combined to offer a complete perspective of how our products can support their endeavors.
The IP ecosystem is a very dynamic place. We must reflect that dynamism with innovation of products and thought.
Have a great Labor Day weekend and I'll see you on Wednesday.