The Changing Face of Contact Centers Series—Part 4: And the Winner is … Everyone

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Customer services reps assisting customers at a busy contact center.

In the past few months, we’ve been talking about the evolution of contact centers and the inherent benefits they provide to both companies and customers. With all this great information, you may be wondering how to implement and build out the infrastructure for a successful operation.

Contact centers see the highest success rates when three important factors are considered: technology, business processes and company culture.

1) Selecting the right, integrated technology.

The most fundamental step to ensuring successful, long-term contact center operations? Investment in the most appropriate technology. By nature, customer service requires collaborative, integrated systems that allow customer service representatives to handle multiple interactions efficiently and seamlessly. The best service calls are conducted when the customer service representative has access to the right information, can provide streamlined routing to the correct department, and has the ability to collaborate internally on customer inquiries.

According to a recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Avaya, only eight percent of companies surveyed use technology that provides multichannel access from a single desktop, citing expenses in dollars and time as the reason for non-implementation. The fallacy in this line of thinking is that by sticking with the less integrated, less efficient technology, employees are less productive and customer satisfaction is reduced—both of which impact the bottom line.

2) Streamlining business processes.

Lagging technology isn’t the only factor that drives inefficiency. How many times have you called for customer support, only to have your call rerouted two or three times before connecting with the right person or group? Customer needs should never take a backseat to process; therefore, the process must be designed as efficiently as possible. Nothing is more frustrating for customers than having inquiries left unanswered or worse, a demonstrated lack of effort on the contact center representative’s part to find a solution.

To prevent customer service agents from being bogged down in business processes, inquiry routing should be directed to the proper agent in a streamlined fashion; consistent service delivery should be given across all media types (and don’t forget the multimodal inquiries referenced in part 2); and proactive alerts and notifications should be implemented to ensure prompt attention to all customer inquiries.

3) Building a culture of empowerment.

Finally, it’s important to instill a company culture that empowers the customer service agent to handle customer inquiries. Investments in employee training are also key elements of corporate culture that can improve customer satisfaction. Forrester Consulting found that 55 percent of survey respondents listed agent training as a top priority. Finally, performance measurement and feedback allow customer service agents to continually improve and enhance their service delivery, providing a career path and mobility that will help to combat one of the biggest challenges in the contact center industry: employee turnover.

Contact centers have changed drastically in the past decade and will continue to evolve as technology changes. It is important for businesses to embrace these changes and realize the resource savings inherent in adopting these three best practices.

For more information about contact center optimization, contact Windstream. We have the expertise to set your business up for success!