Here at Zailab, we’re working towards creating the contact center of the future – a future where cloud-based tech and hardware work hand in hand.

If you’re not familiar with our software, here’s a brief rundown. We’ve created an omnichannel contact center solution based in the cloud. Our solution makes use of a single waiting room that uses machine learning to intelligently prioritize calls. Plus, it’s pay-as-you-go, so you literally only pay for the features you use.

We pride ourselves on being able to offer our solution to businesses of any size, especially small to medium companies that have never been able to access enterprise-grade solutions.

Pretty sweet, huh?

I guess you could say that we’re passionate about two things: sci-fi and contact centers. After all, why else would we work inside a spaceship or drive around a huge space truck?

It’s our love of futuristic designs that first got us thinking about the future of the contact center, which is about the time we turned to our in-house industrial design team.

If you can bear with us a second, here’s a quick mental exercise.

Close your eyes and imagine what you think the world will look like in 20 years’ time. Let your imagination run wild. Think flying cars. Teleporters. Alien Customs queues at major airports.

Now try and imagine what a contact center would look like in 20 years’ time.

Chances are your vision, and our team’s designs, won’t be that far apart.

Welcome to the future

To date, the Zailab industrial design team have created several custom devices for contact centers. They’re designed not only to complement our solution, but to also provide business owners with everything they need to create a well-run contact center that’s optimized to the gills.

With Zailab’s software, you only need an Internet connection to set up a contact center. With Zailab’s solution, you’re arming your super agents to perform at their best. (Plus, it gave our designers the chance to play around with LEDs, giant monitors and plans so complex they would give Ridley Scott goosebumps.)

We’ll let some of the designs speak for themselves.

The ZaiAgent and ZaiPod

The ZaiPod is an immersive workstation that allows agents to serve customers from a central location. It goes hand in hand with the ZaiAgent, featuring two work screens, built-in directional microphone and speakers, and a colour-changing LED light that shows the agent status from across the room.

The ZaiConsole

Remember that giant touchscreen in Oblivion? Well, yeah. This is it. The impressive 55-inch ZaiConsole provides a detailed, real-time summary of call center statistics and agent performance. It can be used as a monitor when a team leader is seated, flattened for team brainstorming, and used vertically for group presentations. And its got wheels to move around so you can really annoy impress everyone in every corner of the office.

The ZaiKiosk

The ZaiKiosk acts as a self-help station for customers visiting your branch. It features a branded screen, camera, built-in directional microphone and speakers, as well as a document and fingerprint scanner. So your customer can literally provide all their documentation and biometrics in one go. Oh, and it’s also covered in ultra-cool LEDs.

Not just nice-to-haves

Research undertaken for the tenth annual Applied Ergonomics conference argues that workspace design has a significant influence on job satisfaction, with workstation features counting 9% towards respondents’ reasons for staying at their job. The research looked at factors such as adjustability, ergonomic features and pain and discomfort.

It recommends that adjustable, ergonomic workspaces can improve agent health, satisfaction and performance.

So while we’d love to drone on about our amazing our futuristic designs are to look at, the truth is a lot of research went into the health benefits of each and every prototype.

Our chief industrial designer, Roelf Mulder, says being able to focus on products specifically designed for the contact center industry allowed him to delve deeper into his designs. Taking a user-centered approach, he and his team not only looked at how the end user would interact with these products, but also the environment they would be used in.

‘The shortfall of product design is often the designs are meant to impress the customer, forgetting the needs of the user,’ he says. ‘Our approach is empathetic, which means we take care of the user’s needs first. We try to create an environment that is so comfortable that you would have to beg your staff to go home.’

This human-centered design philosophy is central to everything Zailab does. ‘At the end of the day, our products are going to be used by someone,’ says Roelf. ‘We don’t want our agents to be working in chicken coops. We have to ask ourselves, do they want to be here? Are they energized? Do they feel important?’

In their paper, The Role of Ergonomics Towards Performance Management, authors Kem Ramdass and Leon Pretorius argue that proper use of ergonomic hardware and furnishings can positively affect absenteeism, low productivity, attrition, fatigue and strain.

Need we say more?

So, we’ll say it again. The future of the contact center is here. Contact centers don’t need to be dull, soulless halls of identical cubicles that are as exciting to work at as they are to see. Imagine walking into a dynamic, ergonomic, comfortable contact center both you and your agents can be proud of. And it doesn’t need to cost more either. ‘Look at it like having a huge window in front of you,’ says Roelf. ‘It’s just an ordinary window, but that wonderful light you get to experience is free.’

Now that’s a future we can all look forward to.