This year’s Call Centre & Customer Management Expo at London Olympia focused on the delicate question ‘if the customer is king, how can the contact centre industry afford to foot the royal bill?’

Rostrvm Solutions @ Call Centre Expo with AdtechIn the brand new Customer Service Excellence Arena at Expo one expert, Mike Harris, founder of first direct, spoke about the need for ‘contact centres to raise the bar by being a symbol for excellent customer service’. He talked about ‘providing the kind of iconic customer service which leaves each and every customer feeling totally taken care of”.

This has come about because, to use another ‘king’ analogy, some businesses still think they can ignore the fact that customer expectations have been raised and are acting rather like King Canute, trying vainly to command the tides. One case in point is where contact centres say they are not yet equipped to deal with significant customer service issues by social media. That’s fine unless you’re in a business sector where social media can be a massive source of information to gain valuable customer insight.

The tide has well and truly turned since multi-media channels arrived and, as Rob Williams, IT Director at the National Ice Centre & Capital FM Arena said in his presentation about creating a multi-channel customer contact centre, ‘customers want different things and they want them now.’

This can be difficult to resource and achieve every time, especially where processes and transactions are lengthy and complex. Business budgets, targets and external influences from the weather to the stock market will also impact how the contact centre is able to respond to customer demands.

Fortunately, Expo showed that there is technology available which will help Contact Centres achieve more without spending a fortune – and even, when it comes to using functions like call blending, ‘do more with less’.

Products such as the rostrvm suite of contact centre and back office applications are robust and flexible enough to enable contact centres – both big and small – to meet their customers’ needs now and as they evolve. rostrvm works whether on premise, hosted or in the cloud and integrates with existing business hardware and software. It enables contact centres to manage inbound and outbound interactions and supports multimedia customer engagement.

For example, to ensure predictive dialler campaigns actually make contact with customers, rather than dialling randomly, rostrvm enables contact centres to obtain intelligence from their inbound communications to find out when customers are usually available. This can gain them a significant increase in outbound operational efficiency, depending on specific campaign circumstances.

Rostrvm applications also route calls to the right person, make complicated IT systems easy to navigate and provide customer information, scripts and management stats. rostrvm Desktop streamlines messy desktops to optimise productivity, whilst BackOffice gives the non-customer-facing areas the same comprehensive operational support as the contact centre.

Contact centres can also improve response times and queues. With products such as rostrvm QueueBack a caller on an inbound queue can hang up but “maintain” their position in the queue, or, with CallBack, instead of the caller being held in queue, he or she is asked to leave details and receives a callback at a later time.