Are Contact Centers at Risk of Obsolescence?

January 13, 2016

Imagine a world where you no longer have to call a contact center to get an issue resolved. Instead, you can activate a new app, and text your concern to the company involved to get an immediate response without having to deal with recordings, folks with language difficulties, or the lies of “Our menu has changed.”

If Richard Smullen has anything to say about it, that will be your future, and it will be here sooner than you think. Smullen is the brains behind Pypestream, a new kind of standalone messaging app that, according to a report in CNN Money, “creates a direct, secure line of communication between businesses and their customers.”

The idea is deceptively simple, Smullen notes. “Most people can’t stand robotic voices,” he told CNN. “They want to go immediately to a representative. Yet with messaging, they won’t know it’s a robot.”

Texting enables call centers to respond to many consumers at once, making them much more efficient, CNN said. As such, Pypestream will use artificial intelligence along with machine-learning, so businesses can automate more of their customer service. It would appear to be a win-win for the consumer.

“In Pypestream’s app, consumers can switch on ‘pypes’ for businesses they want to connect with,” the CNN report said. “Pypes let businesses ping customers with promotional types of messages, and consumers can respond directly. People can also send their own texts at any time, like ‘What’s on sale?’ and ‘Why did you charge me $5 extra this month?’”

The company launched last month and has already signed on more than 500 businesses. Among them are MetroPCS, Billboard Magazine, South African Airways, and energy supplier Washington Gas. Signing up is free; companies are charged based on how many users interact with them.

Smullen believes messaging will change the industry for good and asked CNN rhetorically, “Are we the guys to do it? We hope so.”

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