Delivering results within the corporate structure is primarily driven by meeting customers’ needs and reducing operating costs. This has kept the top three concerns of contact center executives fairly consistent over time. However, as technology advances, the methods to solve these challenges keep changing. While there is no “one size fits all” solution, the key to successfully delivering results for all three concerns requires expertly combining people, processes and technology to solve these top challenges:
- Increasing efficiency and lowering operating costs. Each contact center has a variety of objectives they must achieve, from increasing the satisfaction of existing customers and improving the customer experience, to increasing efficiency and reducing operating costs. One of the ways companies can meet these objectives is by employing solutions that include automation as well as incorporating lower cost agent channels. Technologies such as AI-enhanced virtual assistants can completely automate many functions; ominchannel can move part, or all, of a conversation to chat or messaging, where agents can handle multiple conversations at one time, using the customer’s preferred contact platform. Both additions will dramatically increase efficiency. Remember, technology is only half of the solution. Successfully implementing any automation technology requires that you first design smart processes and call flows to reach the end goal of increased efficiencies and lower operating costs.
We solved it! A case study: A major financial company had automation, but the system was outdated. Complex IVR call flows prevented most callers from successfully navigating the self-service features, so 98% of their calls required agent assistance, resulting in a very high average cost per call. With a smart redesign of both the call flow and the IVR systems, we were able to free up agents, and allow customers to quickly self-serve on most account inquiries and basic functions, while still routing high value calls to agents for cross-selling and up-selling. This redesign enabled the company to:
- Shift 150,000 calls per year to self-service
- Dramatically reduce call handling times by resolving many issues prior to agent transfer
- Save over 11,600 agent hours
- Reduce contact center costs by an estimated $1.8 – $2 million per year
- Enhancing customer satisfaction and providing a superior customer experience. One of the most common KPIs in any contact center is customer satisfaction, frequently measured by Net Promoter Scores (NPS). Organizations should think about the customer experience holistically and strategically. This starts by analyzing the customer journey flow and any resulting customer pain points. Making the experience smooth and intuitive is crucial, so remove any clunky or cumbersome processes. For example:
- Don’t make the caller identify themselves more than once (this is all too common)
- Add technology to collect information once and pass it along to the agent desktop
- Incorporate IVR improvements to match calls to the most suitable agent
Another key to customer satisfaction is faster service. This can be achieved with well-designed, multi-platform, self-service options, such as chat, virtual agents, IVR and messaging, as well as incorporating technology such as natural speech.
We solved it! A case study: A dermatology service provider acquired a network of neighborhood skincare centers and needed to consolidate customer service and booking to streamline the resulting 1,000 different processes and procedures. We helped redesign the entire solution, including new internal procedures, integrating online workforce management, automating customer reminders, adding quality assurance, increasing training and incorporating advanced analytics. This resulted in one process and procedure for all appointments, billing and lab functions, while standardizing and simplifying customer service. The company saw dramatic improvements in internal efficiency and customer satisfaction. These changes resulted in:
- A 20% increase in completed appointments by automating email and text appointment reminders that delivered significantly higher customer engagement and built better relationships
- Dramatic financial transformation – over three years the company achieved:
- A $1.7 million gain from increased patient retention and loyalty
- A $1.2 million increase in revenue
- $3.4 million in operational savings
- A 33% reduction in call volumes
- Automating agent training delivered a 50% reduction in time to productivity
- Agent satisfaction. A great agent experience equals a great customer experience. It’s no secret that experienced agents gain knowledge and value over time, so keeping your agents happy is important. In addition, labor is the largest expense for almost every contact center. Hiring and training new agents, plus the decreased productivity for new, versus experienced agents, makes attrition expensive. You can solve agent attrition by incorporating analytics to optimize agent scheduling, ensure appropriate call routing, and design intuitive processes for agents and customers to create a better work environment.
We solved it! A case study: A growing healthcare technology company had acquired multiple companies, resulting in an amalgam of call centers with disparate systems, phone numbers and processes. This ineffective integration resulted in agents transferring most callers, multiple times. Everyone was frustrated, especially the call center agents. By consolidating into one solution and redesigning the contact flow, we were able to help the organization:
- Reduce call handling time by 20 – 30%
- Reduce agent and customer frustration by simplifying processes and eliminating redundant systems
- Integrate CTI screen pops to provide agents with the information they need to provide the best possible service
- Provide increased visibility into call volumes and IVR reports for better, more efficient call center management
Reaching your contact center performance metrics requires a goal-oriented plan that starts from where you are now, and implements a solution that fits your company culture and business needs. Meeting the top three concerns of contact center leaders requires a combination of process analysis experience, technology expertise and technical implementation knowledge. By taking the time to find the customer pain points and discover the root cause, companies can achieve dramatic improvement in operational efficiencies, customer service and agent retention.