Rod Jones: “Customers no longer view channel flexibility as a luxury but a necessity”
An interview with the founder of Rod Jones Contact Centre Consulting
This January, we reached out to a number of industry leaders to find out what they learned from 2023 and what they predict for the new year. Rod Jones, Founder of Rod Jones Contact Centre Consulting, spoke to us and revealed what he thinks 2024 will hold and how we can prepare for it.
WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN DURING 2023?
In 2023, the customer experience (CX) landscape underwent a pivotal transformation, primarily driven by the ubiquity of AI-enabled omnichannel contact centre technologies. This evolution was not just technological but a direct response to customer demands for seamless channel-switching capabilities. The key lesson from this shift? The paramount importance of listening to the 'voice of the customer'.
Customers no longer view channel flexibility as a luxury but as a necessity. Adapting to this expectation requires businesses to provide diverse channels and platforms and ensure these channels are integrated and responsive. For CX professionals, including consultants like myself, constant vigilance is necessary to stay ahead of strategic and tactical trends. Moreover, understanding AI's influence on customer behaviour and contact centre operations has become crucial.
2023 taught us that success in CX is no longer just about meeting expectations – it's about anticipating and adapting to them, with technology and empathy in equal measure.
WHAT ARE YOUR CX PREDICTIONS FOR 2024?
As I look towards 2024, the Customer Experience (CX) industry stands on the brink of an AI revolution. The impact of artificial intelligence will be significant, reshaping big and small contact centres. The expectation isn't just for AI-enhanced support processes and tools; it's for a paradigm shift in delivering customer service. Customers, growing more tech-savvy by the day, will increasingly demand AI-based self-service options alongside AI-enhanced 'live' call or interaction handling.
The pressure on organisations to improve Service Level and First Contact Resolution (FCR) will intensify. However, this must be balanced with the ever-present mandate to reduce costs while enhancing service quality. The solution? A strategic pivot towards automation, bots, and an increased reliance on outsourcing and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
In 2024, the CX landscape will be defined by this delicate balancing act—embracing the efficiencies of AI and automation while maintaining and improving customer interaction quality. It's a year where technology and strategy must align more closely than ever to meet evolving customer expectations.
WHAT WILL YOU BE FOCUSING ON THIS YEAR?
In 2024, I'll deepen my focus on speech analytics in the Customer Experience (CX) sector. This technology is more than a monitoring tool; it's a game-changer for operational performance in contact centres, enhancing efficiency and ensuring regulatory compliance. My writings will explore this, along with major CX trends like omnichannel, predictive analytics and the evolution of customer expectations in an era dominated by AI-driven services. These writings aim to shed light on the evolving CX dynamics and offer actionable insights for professionals in the field.
Much of my efforts will also involve utilising my extensive business networks to promote Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to South Africa and across Africa. Central to this initiative is emphasising Social, Environmental, and Governance (SEG) criteria, Impact Sourcing, and youth job creation. These efforts aim at business growth and fostering sustainable and socially responsible practices. I plan to contribute to the global CX conversation by concentrating on these aspects and advocating for an inclusive and equitable industry.