Contact centers are frequently under cost scrutiny, particularly by those who believe them to be peripheral to core business. But the well-run, multichannel contact center is gaining approval by executives who understand their value in lending support, increasing revenue, and retaining satisfied, loyal customers.
Sometimes understanding the value of a contact center comes once costs are effectively cut, and services are uninhibited by broken processes, ill-trained employees, and outdated systems. Take a look at 10 ways you can save money through your contact center below.
1. Integrate database services
Bringing together data from across the company and making it visible in one, all-encompassing platform will give every agent a complete understanding of the client. Information readily available like this allows agents to improve productivity, decrease call duration, upsell more effectively, and give personal customer service.
2. Online training
Agents will be using a computer for everything they do while assisting clients. Online training eases the burden of scheduling training meetings, hiring additional personnel to provide training, and prepares agents with applicable skills and knowledge to handle accounts. Properly trained agents have lower job stress, lowering the turnover rate.
3. Effectively screen potential employees
Take the time to refine your screening process for potential employees. Inform them thoroughly about the job details. Better educating your applicants will lower the 90-day turnover rate, also lowering recruiting, hiring and training costs.
4. Home agent transitioning
Implement a work-at-home program and allow agents to transition to a home-based model. Not only will you save on overhead, you’ll have a lower turnover rate. Agents working from home are more likely to agree to working after hours, providing extended customer service hours to your clients. You’ll also likely have a larger skillset pool to draw from as you’ll not be constrained by geography.
5. Step into your customer’s shoes
Understand your customer service “map” to know what your customers experience after calling your number. Take the time as an executive to call in and pay attention to the processes and service rendered and whether there is anything that hinders reaching company goals. Experience firsthand what can be adjusted or eliminated in order to improve call times and system and website efficiency.
6. Promote self-service
Are you aware of how many calls include issues that could be processed through a cheaper self-service method? Are customers aware of your self-service options? Ensure that your employees or even your automated system is educating customers on ways their needs can be met through these channels, which will allow you to reduce the number of unnecessary calls being processed.
7. Use averages, but not as golden standards
When it comes to evaluating staff, understand that you have hired agents who all have unique strengths and weaknesses. Utilizing averages can be helpful, but try to train your employees based on facts and not aggregates. It may take more attention to detail, but have your supervisors identify which issues specifically lead to poor performance, rather than blame an unmet goal of averages. Agent evaluations will be far more constructive, giving you faster, more productive improvement and customer satisfaction.
8. Don’t be afraid to take the blame
Undoubtedly, there are procedures, policies, corporate roadblocks, and broken processes that increase call volume and handle times. Consider utilizing root analysis to get to the bottom of the issues your customers and agents experience in order to repair them and improve your customer experience.
9. Trust technology
Technological advancements are making contact center communications easier and more effective than ever. Advancements such as real-time software use complex algorithms to personalize the customer service experience by giving accurate product recommendations, and giving agents real-time prompts, converting contact center communication from a reactive process to a proactive. Stay up on the latest technology. Doing away with antiquated technology, despite the investment to upgrade, will have huge payoffs with the level of customer service provided.
10. Utilize all possible channels
Creating a multi-channel experience plays to customer’s increasing willingness or preference to solving issues through SMS, email, or live chat. Ensure that these channels are readily available and accessible to customers and rank as an equally effective means of communication in order to lower phone costs. Make it a competitive differentiator by integrating all channels into one excellent experience.
Implementing these 10 tips will not only cut contact center costs, but create a more integrated and efficient system while allowing your customers to experience top quality service and satisfaction.