Most telephone contact centers are expensive to operate and maintain. Their executives often announce that calls will increase significantly over the coming year, but require agent staffing levels to remain the same.
Unfortunately, most organizations believe that simply streamlining or purchasing new technology will solve all their problems, but it is only part of the solution.
To continue meeting key performance indicators (KPIs), maintain service levels and absorb additional volume, contact center operations managers should consider four things: efficiency, process changes, self-service, and technological upgrades.
Keeping these four things in check will allow your company to cut costs in contact center operations without the possibility of increasing employee churnover rate and risking your contact center culture.
Efficiencies in Contact Center Operations
Using certain technological tools can increase efficiencies across contact center operations. Some tools include prepopulating address and phone number fields, which cuts down on the time an agent needs to verify information. That allows the agent to spend time-solving the problem rather than filling in blanks.
Also, providing an option for agents to call back customers instead of leaving them waiting on hold decreases customer frustration while allowing agents to be more efficient in their call handling.
Most importantly, focusing on first-call resolution will increase customer satisfaction while making sure your agents are not stuck dealing with compounding issues. Each time a customer calls in, reviewing notes consumes time, and customer frustration increases.
Evaluate process changes
Nothing can decrease customer satisfaction and increase the cost of a call more than when several agents are handling the same call. Blind call assignments can lead to customers hopping among agents until they are lucky enough to find one with enough knowledge to solve their problems.
Accurate routing of calls to the most-skilled agent available at the time can increase customer satisfaction and efficiency.
Similarly, real-time call monitoring can capture where operations may be failing the customer. Additional training needs and time traps that slow down contact center operations while frustrating the customer can be highlighted and reviewed.
Self-service and automation opportunities
Although self-service phone technology can be frustrating for some customers, well-designed self-service and automation can decrease call volumes while increasing customer resolution. Self-service options that are intuitive and require little effort from the customer will resolve issues faster and more efficiently.
Also, educating customers via informative hold messages can help build knowledge for customers to handle issues themselves. More customers prefer handling issues via internet or other methods over calling into an agent. Providing knowledge and resources allows customers to help themselves while decreasing call volume.
Self-service phone tree options have been around for a while, with mixed reviews from customers regarding call resolution. That does not mean phone trees are the only option. Chat options can build communication among agents, allowing them to talk about a customer issue before transferring the customer to another agent.
Also, chatbots are becoming a strong contender for customer resolution. As mentioned, more customers prefer to help themselves. In fact, millennials prefer using FAQs and chatbots over phone calls. While it may be easy to discount the importance of chatbots, well-designed language-adaptive chatbots and artificial intelligence technology can resolve issues faster than agents, and with more customer satisfaction.
It goes without saying, if clients are calling less often because the quality of your online content is good enough to solve their problems, you can cut costs in contact center operations sooner than later. Make sure to implement ways for clients to send feedback about every piece of content that is designed to help them solve problems, before calling. With better and ever-evolving content, the fewer the calls.
Keeping an eye on basics
If you noticed the pattern, it all comes down to Customer Satisfaction, Customer Experience and as Jeff Bezos puts it in many interviews, Customer Obsession. He says many times that the #1 thing that made them successful was Customer Obsession. Another tip, your company will certainly benefit if you cut costs in contact center operations but if you have raging fans and clients, your company will grow steadily and exponentially, so make sure to understand what your priorities are.
Contact center operations can fall into a hole in which they purchase all technology available. But, no new technology is a magic bullet. Improving operations and processes requires technologies that are properly implemented and monitored.
Managers are still required to monitor and keep track of the right flow measurements and accurate KPIs to make sure contact center operations continue to add value. Technologies that are not monitored rarely show value, especially if they are not implemented well.
Instead, optimized call centers use a combination of operational efficiencies to decrease agent time and process changes to ensure the customer is connected to the correctly skilled agent the first time. Automation opportunities and self-service education can boost the benefits of chatbots and other technologies for customers to use.
Ultimately, you can cut costs in contact center operations using a variety of options rather than by decreasing staff. Using all the tools at a contact center operation’s disposal will ensure KPIs are met, service levels are maintained and call volume is handled within the required staffing level. Call us for a free consultation on how Call Center Power can help your organization streamline for additional cost savings.