Software Helps the Contact Center Do More With Less
Contact centers are busy places, which is why contact center managers are busy people. There are schedules and forecasts to be created, workers to be reviewed and coached, monitoring to listen to, call volumes to be tracked, metrics to be measured and reports to be read and filed for operations executives. During the busy day, it’s sometimes easy to forget the reason the contact center exists: the customers.
Customers haven’t forgotten that they are the primary reason contact centers exist, and they don’t forget bad support experiences. Studies have shown that 86 percent of customers will drop a company entirely after one bad customer service experience. This should set off alarm bells even in the most confident company.
Call centers as a whole have a very negative reputation for being more of a hindrance than a help, which is why a third of people say they’d basically rather do anything than contact a call center,” wrote Anand Srinivasan for Customer Think. “Luckily, technology is giving call centers new ways to connect with consumers and provide an exemplary customer service experience.”
It’s easy, however, to pick the wrong solutions when looking for ways to serve customers but keep costs under control. Following are some solutions that companies can choose to keep contact center operations beneficial to customers while simultaneously keeping efficiency high and costs under control.
Contact center software. These are solutions that provide telephony but at the same time capture call data and use it wisely for reporting, analytics and customer relationship management.
“Look for contact center software that can do more than just collect data,” wrote Srinivasan. “Programs with added features like allowing the customer to receive a callback and letting managers keep tabs on calls as they happen, provide a lot of extra value. It’s also important to select contact center software that can easily integrate with your CRM.”
Self-service. Customers like using self-service, as long as it’s easy, fast and provides them with the answers they need. Old-fashioned self-service solutions like interactive voice response (IVR) are being replaced with newer, more usable solutions such as automated chat (“chat bots”) and mobile app. Good self-service helps customers find answers on their own, leaving agents to handle more complex inquiries.
“One other very good reason to consider adding a self-service customer support portal is it can provide information for your call center if the customer does need to speak with a representative,” wrote Srinivasan. “Feeding the portal data to the call center allows the rep to know what the issue is before they get on the line so they’re better prepared to help.”
Workforce management. This solution lies at the core of a great customer experience (and cost control). It allows contact centers to get precisely the right human resources in place for each part of the day and avoid expensive over-staffing and customer relationship-killing understaffing.
Call accounting software. While this solution may not be directly related to the customer experience, it’s a great way to ensure that agents are using the variety of media channels and telecom resources available to them wisely and efficiently. A good call accounting solution enables organizations to extensively measure and monitor employee productivity. Managers can view metrics based on hours, days, or weeks, or can review call handling summary reports based on hourly data.
Edited by Alicia Young