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Past, present and future of contact centers: a literature review

Morteza Saberi (University of New South Wales Canberra, Canberra, Australia)
Omar Khadeer Hussain (University of New South Wales Canberra, Canberra, Australia)
Elizabeth Chang (University of New South Wales Canberra, Canberra, Australia)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




Contact centers (CCs) are one of the main touch points of customers in an organization. They form one of the inputs to customer relationship management (CRM) to enable an organization to efficiently resolve customer queries. CCs have an important impact on customer satisfaction and are a strategic asset for CRM systems. The purpose of this paper is to review the current literature on CCs and identify their shortcomings to be addressed in the current digital age.


The current literature on CCs can be classified into the analytical and the managerial aspects of CCs. In the former, data mining, text mining, and voice recognition techniques are discussed, and in the latter, staff training, CC performance, and outsourced CCs are discussed.


With the growth of information and communication technologies, the information that CCs must handle both in terms of type and volume, has changed. To deal with such changes, CCs need to evolve in terms of their operation and public relations. The authors present a state-of-the-art review of the challenges in identifying the gaps in order to have the next generation of CCs. Lack of an interactive CC and lack of data integrity for CCs are highlighted as important issues that need to be dealt with properly by CCs.


As far as the authors know, this is the first paper that reviews CCs’ literature by providing the comprehensive survey, critical evaluation, and future research.



The authors would like to thank Professor Felix Naumann for his invaluable comments to improve the paper. Also, the authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for constructive comments on an earlier version of this paper.


Saberi, M., Khadeer Hussain, O. and Chang, E. (2017), "Past, present and future of contact centers: a literature review", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 574-597.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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