Managing a contact center in today's competitive environment can make or break your operations. So how do you maximize the upside?
CRM Daily surveyed some contact center experts from various angles to come up with five tips to better manage your contact center.
Invest in Best-In-Class Contact Center Technology
With the rise of social and mobile communications channels, brands need to go where the customers go to ensure requests are being taken care of on consumers' channels of choice, according to Marty Beard, president and CEO of LiveOps. Beard told us this new era of customer service requires seamless integration of all available customer communication avenues.
"Aberdeen research shows that brands using integrated agent desktop technology see a 74 percent increase in year-over-year revenue compared to non-users," Beard said.
"By arming customer service agents with access to a multichannel, integrated agent desktop, contact center agents can better manage their workflow and resolve customer inquiries faster and with greater accuracy across all channels. Increased agent productivity increases customer satisfaction, which, in turn, increases revenue."
Tapping Social and Mobile
Social channels and mobile devices are great tools for reaching out to our customers, said Shana Duthie, vice president of marketing and customer experience at MDLIVE.
"Many customers have grown very accustomed to using their smartphones and tablets to interact with each other and with companies," Duthie explained.
"When we went looking for a customer service technology provider, it was critical that social and mobile channels were right there next to all of the other channels we use for inbound and outbound communications, in both marketing and customer service. Taking a multichannel approach has allowed MDLIVE to ensure customer requests are being taken care of in a timely manner and on the customers' channel of choice."
Kelly Weinhold, the product strategist for Angel, told us about one tip that can help with better managing a contact center: Using analytics to gain invaluable insights into caller behaviors, attitudes and preferences.
"For example, when a customer calls into an interactive voice response system, a call center manager can use analytics within the platform to monitor how well the caller is navigating through the process," she said. "The business can instantly see when an issue happens and ideally make immediate changes to the call flow, all with the help of analytics. Analytics can drive call centers to make data-driven decisions to consistently improve the customer's experience."
Optimize the Workforce
Workforce accounts for more than 50 percent of total contact center costs and hence it needs to be optimized, said Iain Regan, executive vice president and global head of sales for CRM at Firstsource.
"Contact centers should have a robust forecasting engine which predicts the correct call volumes, and a best scheduling practice to plan and optimize resources that are sufficient for handling these call volumes," he said. In addition, "call volumes and resource scheduling need to be tracked on a continuous basis for future forecasting."
Keep It Fun
Kerry Carstairs, senior vice president of operations for C3, a global business process outsourcing firm that specializes in the operation of customer contact centers on behalf of medium and large companies, has a plethora of quick tips to share.
"Employee engagement -- keep the employees updated with business news, updates, new products, etc. Provide an avenue for employees to give feedback and suggest improvement. Keep it fun," she told us.
"The repetitive nature of contact center work requires a lively, activity packed environment. Provide plenty of options for career progression to keep people engaged and intact. Provide opportunities for employees to give back to the local community."
Ultimately, managing your contact center for maximum profitability and productivity requires a hands-on approach with managing your people as well as your technology.