Training Talks—The Future of Contact Centers: A Chat with Fred Stacey

At Lessonly, we’ve helped hundreds of teams across the globe learn, practice, and Do Better Work. We found that the best teams examine their training efforts through six key phases: Assess, Plan, Build, Learn, Practice, and Perform. That’s why we decided to create Lessonly’s Better Work Guide to Customer Service Training

In the process of putting together The Better Work Guide, Lessonly’s VP of Marketing, Kyle Lacy talked with Fred Stacey, General Manager of Cloud Contact Center Search, Outsource Consultants. With a background in call center leadership and consulting, Fred has experienced the evolution of customer service. See what he has to say about the future of contact centers and how leaders can create happier agents. 

Kyle: I talked with a lot of people who mention how AI, machine learning, and chatbots are going to take care of a lot of contact center tasks. But, we still need reps. What do you think the future of contact centers look like? What should people think about when they look towards the next two to five years?

Fred: It’s an interesting conversation, and everybody is talking about AI. The reality is that only some basic, customer-focused touchpoints can be handled by chatbots or self-service modules. There’s still a long way to get voice-based AI technology that truly solves the majority of problems.

When it comes to the next two to five years, the agent is going to need a much higher level of skills. Sure, technology is causing a shift in operations, but I don’t think AI is going to have as big of an impact as a lot of people believe. It will have the biggest impact on the agent themselves. Agents will have to leverage elements of machine learning like speech and voice analytics.

For example, when leaders do live call monitoring, they need to listen for inflections in voice and tone. That will help leaders give full feedback on what an agent should offer next whether that’s a potential upsell, cross-sell, or some other opportunity. That’s where technology is definitely impacting us. 

For more customer service insights from Fred and 15 other industry experts, check out The Better Work Guide to Customer Service Training.

Kyle:  When it comes to AI and voice inflation, agents need to know when a customer is getting upset. How can we train agents to read customers’ emotions and gain other important skills that they need to keep customers happy?

Fred: My first job in contact leadership was training a small call center team. It’s always been a passion of mine because I believe that training and mentoring is all part of leadership.

But, contact centers, in general, don’t do a good job at training. Oftentimes, I think it’s because trainers aren’t given all of the toolsets they need. Or, they were agents who were brought up to train, but they don’t really understand the fundamentals of adult learning. 

I think the right technology can definitely impact the ability to onboard and do continuous training. I’ve seen plenty of instances where companies have tremendous onboarding training, but then they have nothing for the follow-up. When it comes to adult learning, we don’t maintain that information after two weeks unless we use it on a consistent basis.

Leaders miss a huge opportunity to improve an agent’s life through onboarding and ongoing training. This is my one piece of advice: don’t forget about training. It’s as important as the ongoing management of agents. If you can bring tools and incorporate technology to improve training and ongoing education, you’re going to have happier agents. 

Do Better Work with Lessonly’s Customer Service Training Guide

Customer service matters more than ever. Don’t miss your chance to get insights, best practices, and tangible steps to Do Better Work. Read The Better Work Guide to Customer Service Training and get started today.

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