Off Center
 
Some people are simply blessed with the power of prognostication. They have visions and pick up signals the average person cannot, thus enabling them to provide unique insight into how things are likely to go down in the future.

I am not one of those people, but that has never before stopped me from making bold predictions about contact centers and customer care.  

With the aid of my crystal ball and a couple cans of Red Bull, here’s what I see happening in 2012:



A new metric – “Average Speed of Anger” – will take hold.  Customers are more demanding than ever. It’s nearly impossible to respond to their calls, emails, chats, and social media comments/inquiries before they start whining or worse.  Many companies now find measuring traditional accessibility metrics like Average Speed of Answer (ASA) to be a waste of time. After all, even when the contact center hits an ambitious ASA objective, customers still complain and clamor for quicker service.

That's why a growing number of centers have started secretly tracking a new metric: Average Speed of Anger (ASA grrr),  which measures the average time it takes customers to become so enraged they curse your agents/IVR and/or blast your brand on Twitter. By focusing on ASA grrr, the contact center can make training and staffing adjustments that will quite possibly keep customers from killing anybody, and maybe even satisfy a few.


A law will be passed that makes it illegal for a contact center to not have a home agent program in place. Study after study has shown the huge impact home agent programs have on employee engagement, retention and performance, as well as staffing flexibility and operating costs. Nevertheless, three in four centers still don’t have a single home agent in place.

Fortunately, the leaders of these centers will soon be imprisoned and/or fined if they don’t get with the program. A militant but growing group – led by me – has been lobbying Congress about the issue for over a year now. I’ve been told by powerful sources that, thanks to my group’s efforts, Congress now views expanding home agent positions as a top priority, right behind balancing the Federal Budget and bringing down Kim Kardashian.  



A new type of cancer caused by over-exposure to acronyms will plague the customer care industry. This is one prediction I hope doesn’t come true; however, I don’t see how it can be averted. Medical researchers have strong evidence that excessive absorption of acronyms radically alters brain cells and can cause severe vowel deficiency.

A recent landmark study showed that lab mice placed in a cage lined with shredded ACD reports were 17 times more likely to develop malignant growths than were mice whose cage was lined with shredded long-winded speeches free of any abbreviations. The study led medical researchers to conclude that excessive exposure to acronyms may be more dangerous than smoking two packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day while standing next to a Japanese nuclear power plant. The researchers implore contact center and customer service professionals to start using fully spelled-out terms as much as they can, and to do so ASAP.