According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percent of telephone customer service representatives will increase to 38 percent from now until 2022, while the number of people employed in the overall field of customer service is to rise by 13 percent.
This growth, according to the Department of Labor, will be driven by an overall increase in the economy, “as well as consumers’ demand for products and services that require customer support. Some companies will continue to use in-house service centers to differentiate themselves from competitors, particular for inquiries that are more complex, such as refunding accounts or confirming insurance coverage.”
So these are the facts. What does this really mean?
Companies must have strategic plans in place to further elevate the role of the contact center. If the call center is to be used as a competitive advantage, representatives cannot be hired at minimum wage salaries with limited hours to forgo benefits. Sufficient time has to be spent on training and education about services and products. Additionally, companies should invest in technology that will help the representatives provide customers with a seamless service experience.
In most corporations, the Customer Service Department is seen as a necessary evil instead of a function that can significantly contribute to the company’s bottom line profitability. Representatives who excel at knowing the product, personalizing the interaction and making all customers feel welcomed, important and that their business is appreciated should be paid a wage equal to those in the fields of account management and marketing. Human resource departments should look at hiring college educated associates who see the positions in customer service as a profession and not just a stepping-stone to another job.
Those companies that hire the right people, compensate them appropriately, reward and acknowledge superior performers, will never have to worry about a new competitor picking away at their customer base one customer at a time.
Don’t wait until 2022, start the process today.