A modern contact centre represents a significant investment for any business, and ensuring it delivers the best possible return is vital. A balance must be achieved between running costs, agent productivity and customer service levels.
For this reason, businesses are constantly on the hunt for ways to improve their contact centre's functionality. Even incremental changes can have a significant positive impact over the longer term.
Some of the ways in which contact centres are evolving include:
- Better CRM integration: Traditionally, a contact centre's telephony platform has operated separately from a business's CRM system. By creating a tighter integration, agent productivity can be increased and customer service levels improved.
For example, rather than needing to find a customer's phone number in the CRM system and then keying it into a dialler, a clickable link can be created within the customer record itself. This may only save a few seconds for the agent each time a call is made, but when aggregated across the centre, such time savings become significant.
- Audio links: Most interactions with a contact centre are recorded, and by linking recordings with customer records, further efficiency improvements can be made. If questions come up at a later point, an agent can quickly navigate to the relevant portion of a recording to determine exactly what was discussed during the previous interaction.
- Caller pre-verification: Most contact centre interactions begin with an agent verifying the identity of the caller by asking a series of questions. Technology can be deployed that automatically steps callers through this process while they are waiting for an agent to become available. This saves time for the agent and ensures the customer can proceed with their query as soon as their call is answered.
- Voice analytics: Evolving analysis tools can monitor conversations for key words and phrases that may indicate a customer is not happy or is considering shifting to a competitor. Specific words can be given scores and alerts issued if a pre-set total is reached. For example, if a customer uses the words 'unhappy', 'leave' and 'cancel' during a conversation an alert could be sent to a supervisor who can determine whether an intervention is required.
- Agent availability: It is easy to monitor agent availability when they are taking calls, but this becomes more difficult when they are engaged in web chats or responding to emails. Extra capability can be added to the contact centre platform to ensure incoming calls are only directed to agents that are in a position to deal with them. This integration between the chat and telephony platforms reduces wait times for customers while at the same time maximises agent productivity.
Achieving the gains possible from these enhancements requires that the core contact centre platform is deployed correctly and is fully functional. Adding extra features to a platform that itself is causing issues for agents will only serve to cause frustration and a reduction in efficiency.
Careful selection, deployment and management of the core contact centre system will ensure it provides a solid foundation for these and any further enhancements that may be delivered.
The contact centre will then be able to deliver the best possible value to the business by making agents more productive and improving the level of service offered to customers.
By Steph Holt, Senior Consultant at QPC
This article was prepared by a guest blogger and the opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Fifth Quadrant.