Recently, my colleague Josh Mejia, Collaboration Practice Manager at Insight, and I were talking about the importance of contact centers. He said, “If your organization has clients, customers or users, then you need a contact center.” I think he’s spot on. It’s not a “nice-to-have” solution — from investment banks to retail stores, it’s a must.
Modern organizations recognize the positive impact their contact centers can have on customers and are investing more to improve them. According to Deloitte’s Global Contact Center Survey, 88 percent of organizations cited improving the customer experience as the main driver for growing their contact center operations. Today, customers can turn to many competitors if they don’t get the service they need, so it makes sense to see this level of commitment and focus on customer interaction. As the marketing axiom goes, it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.
88 percent of organizations cited improving the customer experience as the main driver for growing their contact center operations
Chances are, there are things you could be doing differently, or that you can start doing to help your agents and customers to be more successful. With that said, here are five signs of a modern, state-of-the-art contact center:
Customers have more communication channels than ever before. To better serve them, you need to provide all the channels they use for the optimal customer experience. “Voice is still the leading channel in the majority of contact centers, but most are in the process of, or desire to begin, implementing additional channels like email and chat,” says Josh Mejia.
It’s crucial to have an omnichannel strategy and solution in place to centralize the management of customer channels and information. This means going beyond traditional channels such as phone and email and offering options such as website chat, video chat and even SMS text messaging. Offering these channels and effectively managing them can have huge implications. According to PwC, 73 percent of people point to the customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
It pays, quite literally, to be conscientious of how your customers interact with your organization. Companies such as Cisco and NICE inContact offer solutions to make omnichannel management less daunting. By implementing an omnichannel solution, you can consolidate channel management and connect your front-end and back-end business systems. This, in turn, provides the customer with a consistent experience and enables you to see all customer data in one place.
Establishing specific, measurable KPIs can help you to evaluate the performance of your contact center. KPIs such as first contact resolution percentage, average speed of answers and customer satisfaction are just a few to implement for a better understanding of your contact center efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, there are KPIs that are more agent-focused rather than customer-focused, such as agent turnover rate, agent occupancy and daily agent absenteeism.
Establishing KPIs that speak to both agent performance and customer satisfaction can provide you with actionable data and a baseline for your overall contact center performance.
By implementing self-service options in your contact center, your organization can slash the amount of issues requiring agent intervention. Automation tools, artificial intelligence (AI) and interactive voice response (IVR) systems can handle basic inquiries quickly, without having a live agent get involved. “A well-designed call flow can both automate many common customer interactions and streamline the process of getting a customer to the best agent for the situation,” says Mejia.
Solutions with AI and IVR can help quickly navigate customers to FAQ menus and the answers they need without human interaction. This means cost savings for your call center and increased agent efficiency. To be clear, automation tools and AI aren’t meant to replace live agents — rather, they are meant to handle the common, easy-to-solve customer issues that can eat into a live agent’s time when it could be better utilized on more pressing tasks.
In running your contact center, you will create, receive and store large volumes of data. To make good use of this data, you need an analytics and reporting solution. This helps in two ways. First, it provides agents with historical and real-time data pertaining to their customer. Second, it makes it easier to evaluate performance against your KPIs.
Organizations have been implementing analytics into many of their business functions, and their use in contact centers is gaining momentum. Gartner research shows that by 2020, 40 percent of all data analytics projects will relate to some aspect of the customer experience. There are many analytical tools that come with rich reporting features out-of-the-box. Whatever your established KPIs may be, you can create custom dashboards to show the most relevant data.
Having an experienced partner to guide you through contact center improvements is invaluable. Those that specialize in communication and collaboration systems can eliminate the time it would take for you to research and procure the right solutions. Insight can help you design new service offerings, as well as convert manual services into self-service options.
Bringing in a partner with expertise can help you significantly reduce risks and costs of implementing a new solution. A partner practice made up of seasoned veterans will have a breadth of experience to draw from and present to you the best option based on your industry and business operations.
Insight has a practice dedicated to contact center solutions, and recently earned the Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) Certification from Cisco. Insight is one of 30 Cisco partners worldwide to have this certification. We feature Cisco solutions, but also offer many other top-brand products that we can help implement.
Your contact center is critical to running your business efficiently and keeping customers happy, making it imperative to keep it up to date. Insight develops contact center solutions with a focus on uptime and redundancy and offers voice and contact center managed services to ensure script and workflow changes happen seamlessly.
If your contact center is not representing your business in the way it should, contact Insight about an in-depth assessment. We are certified in both on-premises and cloud-based solutions and have a team of collaboration experts ready to optimize your call center, no matter how big or small.