How 5G will transform the customer experience and the role of the contact centre operator.

Originally featured in Contact Centres Magazine, July 2019

Nick Beardsley, Enterprise Director at Cloud Telephony and Unified Communications (UC) provider, Olive Communications, examines how the hotly anticipated 5G technology will be a step change to mobile working, and the positive impact this will have on the flexibility and scalability of a business’s customer service centre and the role of the contact centre operator.

The next generation in mobile technology has been dubbed as ‘here to change the world.’

Never more is this true than for the contact centre industry. 5G, with its superfast speeds of around 10 times greater than 4G, according to Vodafone means even greater quality, ultra-high resolution video calls (the same used for commercial digital cinema) and much quicker downloads to mobile devices. 5G’s use of millimetre wave spectrum enables the technology to support more devices – one million per square KM compared to 4G’s 4,000 devices – so more uninterrupted video streaming and voice calls.

5G in the contact centre

Greater speeds and capacity for a larger number of connected devices will empower the customer service operator to work anywhere at any time, whilst delivering a faster and more efficient service, often remotely, enabling greater flexibility. 5G will allow for the delivery of even greater customer experiences through speed, efficiency and next generation AI integration. AI is already rapidly establishing itself across Call Centres via chatbots, virtual agents, agent assist technology etc and, according to Olive’s own recent research, is radically transforming the role of the contact centre operator. Olive’s study into AI in the contact centre revealed that 60% of customer service operators now work from home. 59% feeling more empowered, motivated (51%) and positively challenged (23%) as a result of the technology available to them.

This in turn can transform the contact centre’s service delivery, productivity and operating costs; less overheads, faster productivity and opportunity for increased sales. For example, video interactions will become the norm. Agents will be able to push content to the customers’ mobile device in real time, and digital interactions will be managed at lightning speed – all increasing customer loyalty.

But, one can argue, as 4G is already providing consumers with an immersive experience – and even that is yet to have full adoption throughout the UK, what will really be the difference? The answer? Opportunity for exponential growth. As the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) stated in its report, connectivity had become a “necessity” in society and 5G will play a crucial role in the economy.

What are the challenges?

Overall, it remains a big challenge to deliver 5G in the UK. There is a lack of dark fibre and numerous infrastructure challenges, not to mention that the rollout of 4G is still ongoing. In a Parliament report, The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) identified 'investment risk and uncertainty’ as an important policy challenge for 5G deployment and urged policy makers to ‘focus on boosting 4G networks while 5G investment cases develop.’

That said, Vodaphone’s 5G network has now successfully gone live in seven UK cities, including Cardiff, London, Manchester and Glasgow, plus a focused regional rollout, and further cities to follow.

In reality, it maybe some time before businesses are able to truly harness the potential for 5G beyond mobile telephony, until all the networks go live. In the run up to this, however, it’s important to be prepared by having a cloud based digital strategy in place that accommodates for 5G’s arrival, so the organisation is ready to reap the benefits for when the time does come.

Looking to get ahead of the game, or already in 5G enabled city? Speak to Olive today and let us help you assess just how much of difference 5G could make to your business. Simply call 0203 675 3300 to speak to one of our experts.

TOPICS: Vodafone

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