Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Will Twitter Replace Call Centers?

At the early stage of the rise of Twitter, a lot of expert as myself have seen the great potential of Twitter to deal with after sales services. It works somehow like a mix between a FAQ (frequently asked questions) and an email inbox.

Some companies like Best Buy have already adopted the system with success. Also, we have seen how good Air France has used this tool to deal with the Icelandish volcano crisis to propose new flights to its Twitter followers.

During the 90s and the 2000s, the call center industry has skyrocketed. Thanks to new routing technologies, setting up a call center to deal with customer disatisfaction was a very effective way. Also, it was a great way to enhance customer relationship management for direct sales company, and the new coming E commerce actors.

But as every technology, it is challenged when a new one appear. And therefore, I was wondering if it was possible to switch a call center activity to a Twitter feed.

Now let's start with what is sure: in a near future, all companies will need a Twitter account to deal with customers/prospects questions.

The only problem for companies is that it will once again complexify the way to deal CRM, and customer relationship manager will have a lot of questions... In fact, call centers will cost more and more money, and it will certainly lose its competitive advantage upon owning a salesforce or a retail chain. But human voice is one of the most important medium for human interractions. And therefore, if you want to keep a strong customer relationship, it is important not to avoid this very important factor.

Customers are fed up to deal with machines, and human would rather speak to an actual person instead of dealing with a machine.

Here is my conclusion:
  • Call centers will still exist, and it will actually be a strength for businesses which owns some. Nevertheless, their activity will probably slow down.
  • Twitter will for sure take some of the flow of questions of customers. Not only Twitter, probably Facebook will too.
What is for sure, it is that both will be reunite with the arrival of the mobile area: You will use your smartphone either to find on Twitter your response, or to call a call center if you haven't find what you were looking for.
What do you think about it?