The Always-Online Consumer and the Fluid Contact Center Experience

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As we have chronicled many a time in this blog, consumer communication is constantly changing. New devices, new channels, and new trends often converge to thwart the customer contact world’s best efforts to keep up. All of these trends, of course, just go to show the importance of an adaptable contact center, but there is growing evidence that this perpetual evolution extends even further—beyond devices and channels and into the very mindset of the modern consumer.

A new report from Forrester shows that U.S. consumers are a reporting a decline in the amount of time they spend online. While this finding may seem puzzling at first, it all becomes clear upon examining the specifics. As Forrester’s Gina Sverdlov puts it, “Our analysis revealed that ‘being online’ is becoming a fluid concept. Consumers no longer consider some of the online activities they perform to be activities related to ‘using the Internet.’ In fact, given the various types of connected devices that U.S. consumers own, many people are connected and logged on (automatically) at all times.”

In other words, the Internet has become so deeply ingrained in our lives that we no longer even consider ourselves “online” while using various Web-based tools.

And just as consumers no longer associate being online directly with using the Internet, they also no longer think of the contact center as a singular entity or offering—and the thought process behind these two phenomena are intertwined. A consistent, multichannel customer service experience is now an assumed entity, much like how being online is now taken for granted.

Just as the smartphone has made communication a fluid multiplatform experience encompassing a multitude of contact options—including email, social media, text, video, and voice—consumers have come to view the customer contact experience as an “anytime, anywhere on any device” resource. And as mobility continues to become the new normal, this trend of constant connectivity will only further fuel the necessity of “all of the above” contact center functionality.

As consumers continue to shift toward a mobile-centric lifestyle, the importance of a dynamic and consistent customer contact experience will only continue to grow. Customers will gravitate toward those organizations that are able to provide them with a next-generation customer service experience, and that means having a nimble contact center with flexible functionality.

How has your company adjusted to the ever-online consumer? Please share your thoughts and experiences below.


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