Call centres will not drive demand for new telecommunications technologies

Call centres will not be a major driving force behind the adoption of any new telecommunications technology in the foreseeable future.

This statement may contradict some of the recent industry hype, but any technological changes that were driven by call centres have already happened.

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is not to suggest that call centres are not going to drive demand for business intelligence or database administration applications, but call centres are not going to have a huge effect on telecom technologies.

Take voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), for example. At first, the major driver was its ability to bypass long-distance tolls, whether the customer was a consumer or a business.

Other technologies that were supposedly driven by call centres include computer-telephony integration applications — the screen pop, for instance. In this scenario, you call a customer service centre, enter your personal data (such as your name, phone number and account number) and when the customer service agent takes your call, a window pops up on his or her screen with your account information. Anecdotal evidence suggests this isn’t in widespread use, because most of the time, you have to repeat information to the agent who takes your call.

Some may argue that recent developments in telecommunications technology have allowed organizations to contract out their call centres. At the recent International Call Centre Management conference and expo in Toronto, a panel discussion focused on outsourcing call centres. But most of the comments were on the economics, rather than the technology, of outsourcing call centres. Outsourced call centres take advantage of economies of scale and lower wages in areas of high unemployment, though voice over IP can help reduce long-distance charges.

In the future, call centres will be affected mainly by economic factors, and this is not necessarily a positive development, as columnist Ron Scott notes in his Viewpoint on page 6.

If you believe call centres will actually have a noticeable effect on telecom technology, please send us a message at [email protected]

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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