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Integrating the Customer View

The role of contact centers in today’s economy is clear: make customers happy. (A more demanding goal than many realize.) For a long time, companies have avoided investing in their contact centers as an important segment of their business. This attitude is changing, as companies see better service as the only way to differentiate themselves from the competition, especially in a well-informed world where every customer can easily check offers and products.

To get a better understanding of what customers really want and need, companies often invest in market research or conduct extensive marketing campaigns, unaware of how easily they can get directly in touch with customers and secure this vital information.

Contact centers can provide superior customer service to set your company apart from the competition, and one of the best ways to do so involves upgrading its infrastructure with workforce optimization (WFO), a comprehensive system including communications recording, quality management, speech and content analytics, e-Learning and workforce management.

The Evolution of Contact Centers

Over time, contact centers have becomes increasingly proficient, more productive and better in monitoring and training agents. They have recognized the truth of the business maxim, “It’s easier to keep a customer than find a new one.” New and innovative technological tools have played a central role in this evolution.

With the extensive training available to agents today, they have become, more highly qualified, skilled and success-oriented than ever before. New training capabilities and committed employees have converted money-burning contact centers into a source of constantly increasing revenue streams.

The industry term “customer experience management” is completely outdated. In today’s economy, customers expect competence and speedy resolution of their needs. Companies who fail to do so will lose business to their competitors in a heartbeat. Contact centers today must not manage customers but treat them with respect and service them in a friendly and efficient manner. And customers are beginning to benefit from this new breed of well-trained and informed agents who understand the power of FCR (first-call resolution).

The Power of Workforce Optimization

The latest technology and systems for contact centers utilize workforce optimization. Speech analytics categorizes customer interactions and is especially useful for larger contact centers with an otherwise unmanageable volume of communications. e-Learning determines each agent’s weak areas and automatically forwards customized instruction; then, as the agent improves, it finds new weak links, thus creating a loop of continual learning.

Workforce management matches the right agents with the right customers at the right time, ensuring an expert will be found to handle specific issues. This skill-based routing boosts the percentage of first-call resolutions tremendously, improving the reputation of contact centers, and, by extension, the entire organization.

The Customer's Viewpoint

A study by Bain & Company found that 80 percent of contact centers operators believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but … only eight percent of their customers agree! And the contact center industry today realizes the power of the saying, “The customer is always right.” They have created customer surveys, politely requesting their opinion, and made the process as convenient as possible by letting the customer choose the format, either a web form or by email.

At the end of the day, the results are compiled in a report as a trend analysis to identify individual improvement potential and training needs, and may also be used to verify and benchmark evaluations by supervisors.

Integrating the customer view almost always makes call center operations more effective, efficient and enjoyable. Listening and learning works for call centers in the same way it works for so many other fields of endeavor.

Ralf Roesel Ralf Roesel is Product Manager for ASC telecom AG.