Contact center operations: Keep it simple, keep it human - Calabrio
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Contact center operations: Keep it simple, keep it human

Many believe modern contact centers have become far too complex. In a world where ‘work from anywhere’ has become the norm, how do organizations manage the efficient scheduling and forecasting of their staff while keeping teams connected and meeting service levels?

The growth of digital platforms has merely increased complexity but not necessarily for the greater good. A survey by McKinsey & Company reveals that during the pandemic, consumers moved towards online channels. In addition, organizations are three times more likely than before the crisis to claim that at least 80% of customer interactions are now digital in nature. However, only 35% of consumers are actually satisfied with automated CX solutions and 38% would still rather speak to a human being.

Five golden rules of keeping it simple

The first step to successfully addressing operational complexity in contact centers is to be aware of the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’. Avoid the most common mistakes by following these five golden rules:

  1. Think before you digitize – rather than simply replace systems and processes with ‘like for like’ digital equivalents, check whether the original ways of working are still fit for purpose. This will save time and money further down the line.
  2. Value not cost – having the right mindset is critical to success. The usual reaction is to solve operational problems by cost-cutting – reduce labor costs, cut headcount and decrease costs in an attempt to increase profitability. It’s a common enough mistake but what about the customer? There shouldn’t be a trade-off between cost and efficiency. Better to ask ‘how do we add more value and get great results while achieving a positive business impact as well?’
  3. Involve the right people – when finding new ways to serve customers, ask frontline employees for their opinions and involve them early in the process. They have a wealth of valuable information and first-hand experience that is vital to selecting the right digital technology to best serve your customers.
  4. Learn from your users – when you are looking to introduce a new channel or service remember to ask customers what it should look like or if it is even useful. Getting the research, design and testing right will avoid costly mistakes and keep customers and employees happy through closer engagement.
  5. Reassess success criteria – too many customer service organizations are so focused on metrics – such as the number of conversations per hour or average handling times that customers end up being treated as a statistic rather than a real person. Put in place the right measures of success that evaluate the human factor of digital interactions.

Keep it simple with human-centered design

Once you know what pitfalls to avoid and have the right mindset in place, add the human touch to operations. Look from the outside in to establish what really matters to your customers and your employees? Involving people from the outset will mean that gaining buy-in and the budgets from the people who matter will follow naturally.

Building an operational strategy that starts with a human perspective achieves 7 positive outcomes such as:

  • Encouraging collaboration (to avoid siloed thinking, processes and ultimately costly mistakes as organizations transition to digital platforms)
  • Listening to stakeholders (including the IT department and other senior executives)
  • Involving everyone in the process (contact center staff, marketing, sales and operations)
  • Creating a shared vision for CX and EX across the organization
  • Identifying capabilities and therefore by default, where there are gaps
  • Aligning people, process and technology
  • Creating the CX and EX vision to drive the technology roadmap

Read our next blog for practical tips on addressing complexity in the contact center. For more ideas and inspiration, watch Calabrio’s latest webinar “How to enhance customer and employee experiences by applying human-centered design.”

As Chief Marketing Officer, Ross is responsible for Calabrio’s global marketing efforts, including digital marketing, demand generation and pipeline marketing, content strategy and creation, customer marketing, partner marketing, and corporate communications. Ross is also responsible for supporting Calabrio’s partners–driving strategic technology and platform partner relationships, channel programs and marketing, and developer and services partners. Prior to joining Calabrio in 2017, Ross spent 18 years at Cisco in roles encompassing product management, product marketing and marketing, including serving as the Senior Director of Collaboration Marketing for Cisco’s nearly $5B Collaboration business. Ross holds a BA in English from Harvard University and an MBA from Babson College.
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