21. Aug. 2019
Chris Rall

How Contact Centers can Meet Evolving Customer Expectations

How is your company dealing with evolving customer expectations in customer service?

Yet, no matter how many years pass or what new software comes along, we still find contact centers struggling with many of the same problems in 2019 that they did in 2009. Moreover, they continue to play an important role in customer satisfaction. How can service departments rise above the day-to-day and implement strategic change that helps them make a real jump forward? Let’s find out!

Employee Attrition and Turnover

The elephant in the room for many call centers, the constant churn of employees is a challenge everyone is aware of and no one has solved. We also don’t have a magic solution but instead let’s focus on how to retain more agents and reduce the cost of losing others.

Better & Faster Onboarding

Onboarding is one of the key costs of both hiring and losing agents. Streamline the process by making it both shorter and more effective with the right software. The benefits are:

  • Reduced training costs
  • New agents are productive taking calls faster
  • Higher ROI on the agent-level

Streamline your process by ensuring it is:

  • 100% Digital
  • Has a large e-learning component
  • Includes digital knowledge tests

Invest in a standalone learning management system (LMS) or ideally a knowledge management platform that has e-learning and testing components integrated into your knowledge base. It will yield a consistent and long-term ROI.

Preventing Loss of Institutional Knowledge

You can’t keep everyone, but you don’t have to lose their knowledge and experience. As much as some people still love paper, it is crucial to  ensure that your support information is both digital and centralized in your company’s knowledge base.

Otherwise, turnover will indeed lead to regular gaps in knowledge that mean:

  • preventing loss of institutional knowledgeLonger handling times
  • More repeat calls
  • Lower service quality
  • Higher error rates

Even if you don’t fully adopt a Knowledge Centered Service (KCS) working style, creating a culture of regular contribution and collaboration. Articles should be created in real-time as needed and every agent should have the ability to create new content. It can then go into a custom workflow for review and approval.

Lack of Collaboration between Departments

Silos are not unique to call centers. However, they can be particularly crippling with agents are expected to be competent in a wide range of product, policy and event information that spans the entire company. They cannot quickly and satisfactorily solve customer inquiries without information from other departments.

Your call center’s knowledge base should be accessible outside the department as well. This means opening it to new non-support users not just for reference but also collaboration. This point ties into our discussion of KCS and enabling everyone to contribute.

Connecting your CRM and ticketing system such as Salesforce and Zendesk are probably the two main must-have integrations to ensure both maximum efficiency and that nothing falls between the cracks.

Trends & Technology that will Help Contact Centers Succeed

So, we’ve looked at some of the systemic challenges that contact centers struggle with and that prevent strategic change. So how can you rise above it and create long-term improvements?

1. Cloud-based Call Center Software

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platforms such as Genesys offer cloud-based software that enables companies to purchase only what they need as well as easily scale up and down with seasonal changes. This means not just adding more seats as necessary, but the ability to easily add remote workers whether domestic or abroad.

CCaaS platforms offer analytics, IVR, custom routing and all the bells and whistles you expect from traditional software. When choosing yours, pay careful attention to the integrations they offer with your knowledge base, CRM and ticketing system.

2. Ticket Deflection via Chatbots and Self-Service

ticket deflection via chatbotsSmart deployment of chatbots can make a dent in frequent requests. Start small by identifying one or two narrow use-cases where they will add value for customers. Instead of choosing high-volume requests, start with lower volume (but easy to answer) ones for the initial rollout. Once you’ve ironed out the kinks, you can extend it.

Self-service offers nearly everything you dream of at night: less tickets, less calls, happier agents and more time to focus on complex cases. We recommend choosing self-service software that is part of or integrates with your knowledge base so that it can pull support data directly. This means no separate information source to maintain.

3. Software integrations

Eliminating siloed systems and information delivers many benefits including lower handling time, more first call resolutions and happier agents who don’t need to stumble through multiple systems looking for answers. Identify critical systems and work to bring them together.

How Contact Centers can Meet Evolving Customer Expectations

4. Knowledge Management Platforms

Gone are the days of a simple knowledge base software for basic search and document storage. Today’s software can bring together the entire range of tools needed in a modern contact center including:

  • Knowledge Base with AI-powered “Google-like” search
  • E-learning
  • Testing
  • Chatbots for self-service
  • Decision trees to create structure and consistent service
  • Social media management
  • Voice assistants like Alexa or Siri

Even if you only need the basics to get started, as customers with homegrown solutions often do, your choice will have long term implications. Therefore, an extendable and modular platform ensures you can grow on your schedule without being locked into limited functionality.

5. Analytics

Learn where to deploy new technology and automation by understanding both your daily and overall needs and trends. What queries can be best solved via phone and which can be rerouted to self-service.  See which inquiries take the most time which agents excel at different topics to best deploy your resources.

Conclusion

Future proof your contact center by strategically investing in platforms instead of single tools. Technology itself is not the solution, but an enabler and force multiplier that can bring huge gains if deployed thoughtfully and strategically.

Learn more about our knowledge management platform

 

 

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