Crowds, Clouds and Customers: Business as Unusual

So what does a futurologist think about the future?

Dr Nicola Millard, BT’s Customer Experience Futurologist was expounding on how you transform service in an era of “Business as Unusual” at the recent Planning Forum conference in Birmingham and we were listening with interest.

In line with what Customer Experience directors were saying at the IQPC forum a few weeks ago, Nicola Millard agrees that the Contact Centre is moving back into the heart of the customer – not least because customer information is now of such strategic importance.  So what does that mean?

Well now mobile phones are omni-present you can be on-line on the move and we have even seen people going up to shop assistants brandishing a mobile phone at them – saying “I can get this cheaper online” or “your policy published online differs from what you are telling me”. So if the customer is now in charge and they can look online for what they need and want – truth is – by the time they get to your contact centre agent – they are pretty much experts and are only calling because what they need next is complex and they can’t sort it out for themselves. So they want to talk to the person who can solve their problem – whoever they are!

Welcome to the next phase of Customer Experience – adapting to your customers by getting them to the networked expert agent! The networked expert is the person who has the answers and isn’t just there to take the call – they are there to answer the problem.

And that is where Homeshoring or Crowdsourcing comes into its own. If you want to flex your company to offer your customers the best experience, you don’t want to be tied to the bricks and mortar chains of 25 miles around your call centre to find your expert, you want to have access to experts wherever they are. It seems after all the hype, the UK are now ready to implement Homeshoring in anger.

Arise have been helping clients for the last 14 years to hire experts and people who are like their customers – Agents who play golf to help a resorts company booking golfing holidays, travel experts to help people plan where they want to go on their cruise, Technology geeks to help people learn what they need when they buy the latest MP3 or Pad device.

So it seems that the futurologists are saying it is actually right here, right now.  The recession means more people are willing to set up their own companies and customers are looking for “people like me” to interact with their customers – Homeworking in the 21st century has finally come of age. Take a look at other companies that are applying this methodology – TopCoder, 99 designs, Axion legal and tell us what you think!