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Contact Center Operations: Keep It Simple, Keep It Human

Many believe modern contact centers have become far too complex. Call center leaders need to balance scheduling, forecasting, keeping the team engaged, and meeting service levels. In a world where ‘work from anywhere’ has become the norm, how do organizations manage a remote workforce with contact center operations?

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 complexity in contact center operations 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. This can look like reducing labor costs, cutting headcount, and decreasing costs in an attempt to increase profitability. It’s a common enough mistake, but we need to keep employees and customers in mind. There shouldn’t be a trade-off between cost and efficiency. It’s better to strive to deliver more value, and great results, and still achieve positive business success.

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. This 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. By focusing on the number of conversations per hour or average handling times, customers end up being treated as a statistic rather than actual people. That’s why it’s essential to use analytics to evaluate the human factor of digital interactions.

Keep It Simple With a Human-Centered Design

Once you know what pitfalls to avoid and have the right mindset in place, add the human touch to contact center 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, processes, and technology
  • Creating the CX and EX vision to drive the technology roadmap

Improving Contact Center Operations With Analytics

While managing a contact center continues to be a delicate balance, there are still ways to address it’s complexity. Try incorporating some of these tips to improve contact center operations and employee engagement. For more ideas and inspiration, learn how you can redefine the customer journey with analytics.

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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