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Analysis of a Software Objective

BCI is not a software company, but I believe the role of software in call centers is essential and evolving. I recently viewed a commercial for St. Jude Children's Hospital, and on the television screen was a QR code viewers could scan with their phone to make a donation rather than dial the hospital's call center. I think this is amazing as are other digital tools.

I also follow call center-related podcasts and read articles wherein software industry folks sometimes discuss their latest goals and ambitions. Lately, the conversations touch upon the future and go much like this:

Interviewer- "We have discussed how chat, text, analytics, etc. have helped call centers, but it feels like much current technology has kind of run its course. So where do you see the future going, say in the next 1-5 years?"

Executive- "We seek to develop software that can gain insights into human behavior to identify what makes customers/patients happy during live calls, so agents will incorporate what it uncovers into what they say in live conversations to really maximize that organic, human experience." (In simpler words, to develop software that can train agents to offer exceptional service and professionalism on the phone).

I have heard this more of late, but this has been a top software industry objective for many years that seems to get repackaged and reattempted in various forms every so often.

And I am always struck by it because what these companies are seeking has long been found and all such insights have long been known. As a seasoned pundit whose 26-year career has been focused solely on this subject, I would like to offer some thoughts about why the software field has yet to reach this coveted goal despite many years of effort.

The original software industry goal was to replace agents with bots. This has long been conceded as unrealistic and sights have since been set on developing software that can train agents to offer exceptional service and professionalism over the phone.

This is particularly now viewed as the big fish because software companies have recently realized that while peripheral tools like analytics, texting, and chatbots are relevant, the dominant call center challenge (and user channel) remains verbal phone conversations.

The hurdle for these companies is the software field has no background with this type of expertise. Software programming and verbal communication expertise are two fields that are all but opposite in terms of skill set and knowledge base.

For example, imagine a speechwriter, publicist, or call center trainer entering the software field expecting to succeed with little knowledge of how software creation works. A programmer might pull this person aside and delicately explain, "With all due respect, software programming is a complex language unto itself with established rules you will need to learn in order to create software."

What the software field apparently does not realize is phone interaction related to service and professionalism is a complex language unto itself with established rules they will need to learn in order to create a legitimate call center training product.

And as human language is more complex than software programming languages, even if programmers learned the language of service and professionalism, its many nuances are far too complex for programming tools to assemble into a legitimate training product. The divide is technologically insurmountable.

BCI offers call centers a proven training solution. We are not seeking answers, we bring them, and our clients count on us for that.

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