Over the past decade companies have had to shift the way they do business – a move driven large by the widespread use of the Internet, which is enabling consumers in making better, more educated choices about the companies with which they do business.
There has also been a significant increase in global competition as consumers gain the ability to access, compare and purchase products and services from a large number of businesses via the Internet.
“As a result, contact centres are being seen as competitive differentiators, rather than as compulsory cost centres,” says Ebrahim Dinat, sales and marketing director at outsourced professional services provider, Ocular Technologies.
“This shift in perception, coupled with increasingly demanding consumers, is putting a sizeable amount of pressure on contact centre managers to maximise their agents’ performance and to improve their operations. To meet these elevated expectations, contact centre managers must begin to optimise their contact centre resources and enhance the quality of the experiences their centres are providing.”
By synchronising people, applications and processes, contact centre managers can reduce labour costs, enhance service levels and build customer loyalty but, most importantly, they can align operations with their company’s overall strategic objectives.
“Contact centres that are successful in these efforts will be able to meet executive and consumer mandates, and drastically increase the overall value they contribute to the corporation,” says Dinat.
There are a number of specialised applications that can be used to help contact centre managers consider everything that has happened in the contact centre and then develop a logical plan that can control costs, enhance service levels and align performance with strategic goals.
These tools, which can enable contact centre managers and agents to act immediately in making goals-driven adjustments across multiple groups and locations, include workforce management tools, call recording and quality management reporters, performance management tools, campaign management and speed analytics.
“Contact centre management should also not dismiss the data gathered by automatic call distributors, diallers, voice portals and other telephony platforms,” says Dinat. “These applications can provide critical agent and queue level data that can be used, along with information being pulled by analytics applications like those mentioned above, to gauge the performance of the entire contact centre on both a real-time and historical basis.”
Looking at the information gathered from a strategic perspective provides greater opportunity for engaging customers, maximising agent performance, optimising resources and improving the quality of interactions and the customer experience delivered, says Dinat.
“And, when contact centres align strategic business objectives with the goals of front line employees, it is much more likely to achieve success.”
However, he adds, the right tools will not make a difference in a contact centre that is not analysing and evaluating the right metrics, or has not properly trained its agents. The real mark of a successful contact centre is what happens after the agent is connected to the customer, and this is entirely dependent on the customer’s ability to reach a knowledgeable and empathetic agent, who can provide fast and efficient service.
“Performance optimisation solutions make it easier for contact centres to be proactive as they know what has happened in the past, they can see what is currently going on in the contact centre, and can take action right away, making intraday adjustments and planning for future scenarios.
“Ultimately, they have the tools, knowledge and power to ensure they are meeting both consumer demands and achieving overarching strategic corporate goals. Using the right data for the right reasons can help contact centres consider everything that is happening and act immediately to improve their performance, meet the soaring expectations of senior executives and make greater contributions to the bottom line,” says Dinat.