Like any frontline business department, Contact Centre Managers face a daily challenge to meet customer expectations, ensuring contact centre agent training is up to date and shift schedules are filled. But at the same time many Contact Centres are under pressure to deliver higher productivity on less and less budget, which can make it difficult to maintain customer service standards.
A recent report from Call Centre Helper magazine identified budget as the top factor preventing Contact Centres from running at peak performance, followed by IT issues and the need to update technology to better integrated systems.
What barriers stop you from running your dream contact centre?
|3||Need new Technology||53.8%|
|4||Conflicting Business Priorities||47.9%|
Why are these issues so prevalent and how can they be resolved? In reality, all of these issues are related, and are connected to how well the Contact Centre services are integrated, and whether they are seen to deliver value to the wider business.
Contact Centres are seen as a cost, not a core service
In many businesses, Contact Centres are seen as a cost centre that doesn’t contribute revenue to the business, due to the high costs associated with staffing. As a result, managers are under constant pressure to minimise costs and eliminate inefficiency by any means possible. Cutting back on staffing and ‘unbillable’ training time is often seen as the obvious answer, but this is almost always a false economy, leading to Contact Centres being unable to deliver top quality customer service.
The Call Centre Helper report suggests that businesses should view their Contact Centres as part of the business that delivers unique value for customers and is in fact a key business differentiator and potential source of competitive advantage. But how can Contact Centre managers prove the value of their teams? Data is key: managers need to be able to accurately analyse processes to uncover where improvement is required, evaluate staff performance and assess where training or a change in strategy could be beneficial.
By implementing a process that identifies the most common complaints or inefficiencies, Contact Centre managers can build a case for the need to implement customer experience into the wider business strategy. For example working with the Marketing team to create customer touchpoints that list Frequently Asked Questions online, or a set of How-To videos, minimises the need for customers to call and reduces the burden of responding to common enquiries.
Technology isn’t aligned to the business needs
It’s common for Contact Centres to use several different systems to capture information or perform different tasks, such as CRM, automated telephone systems or sales ordering. It’s even more likely that these systems are not joined up with wider business systems. This makes it hard for agents to complete basic tasks efficiently or find crucial information about customers, which in turn delivers a frustrating customer experience for anyone calling the Contact Centre.
Poor customer experience is one of the main reasons for customer attrition, which can cost businesses dearly. Broken processes are detrimental to the customer service journey, for example when customers are passed between different departments because agents can not access their full details and face a long wait for each agent to answer the call.
To understand how processes could be made more efficient and improve customer satisfaction, business managers need to identify whether these issues are due to poorly performing technology, understaffing or lack of training, but using multiple systems can limit managers’ ability to accurately track where exactly these problems are arising.
Business managers often believe that the answer lies in investing in newer technology that essentially does the same things, but this often does not address the core issue that systems are not integrated.
The solution for many businesses could be to instead add a layer of technology that enhances existing systems. Awaken software provides a suite of complementary technologies that bring all Contact Centre systems together to create a single unified view. By integrating all Contact Centre system data in one place, managers can better understand customer behaviour and how common issues may be affecting their interactions with the company at any point, from marketing touchpoints to the Contact Centre response time. Managers can use this intelligence to make improvements and efficiencies without having to fall back on overhead reduction to reduce costs.
At the same time, with a holistic view of data from across all customer interactions, it’s possible to take a proactive approach that uses historical data to anticipate the future behaviour and needs of your customers, ultimately delivering both market-leading Contact Centre performance and customer satisfaction that drives value and revenue for the whole business.