With well over 6,000 in the UK alone and over £500 billion invested globally, call centres are big business. With the advances in technology, there is also a shift from over reliance on calls, and evolving ‘contact centres’ into multi-channel ways for customers to reach your business efficiently.
Despite many call centres already adopting high levels of automation, voice recognition technology and other efficient contact-handling processes, many are lagging behind. We recently looked at 4 ways to pick the best cloud-based telephony for your call centre. In this article, we look at how to complete your transition from ‘call centre’ to ‘contact centre’ in order to win new customers, retain existing customers, and drive the bottom line.
Automation isn’t just for manufacturing and logistics companies, it can be surprisingly effectively deployed in call centre environments to reduce costs and make your operatives more productive. Using the entire portfolio of tools can also increase automation, with cloud-based chat bots, search, and support forums encouraging customers to find the information they need without needing human intervention.
To get started with automation, introduce an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. This gives callers the ability to speak to the phone system and get answers to common issues such as billing, changing personal contact information, or to make online payments. In the same way that different levels of IT support enables the reduction of costs, this leaves your call operatives free to answer more complex, serious or urgent questions.
Drive customer satisfaction and staff loyalty
Even in times of digitalisation, human contact is sometimes necessary; moreover, it is a competitive necessity. With automated call centres, even with minimal staff it is possible to reduce workloads while increasing customer satisfaction – and loyalty. The crucial aspect of this is to ensure that when customers do get through to a human agent, they are met with a motivated and empowered individual that can solve their issue quickly and efficiently.
Automated workflows, and integrated systems that work in harmony with one another are a sure-fire way to increase the satisfaction of your operatives. Skills training is also appreciated, such as giving agents the access and ability to respond to customer queries via new, innovative channels such as SMS, chat applications, or social media platforms. Operative performance can be measured by key performance indicators such as customer retention rates and/or satisfaction scores, first contact resolution rates, abandoned call rates. Operative turnover rates are also an important measure for satisfaction.
Getting on the front foot with customer issues
To really take your call centre to the next level, using the data at your fingertips is the next progression. By using the data obtained through customers searching for common issues, questions they type into the chatbot or ways they interact with operatives, you can put yourself in a position to anticipate customer issues before they arise. With this level of data mining, you can leverage IoT tools to flag recurring issues to your product team, recommend potential improvements, or potential upsells into potential new revenue streams (e.g. instead of saying “no” to a common question about a product or service you provide, you can develop it into a new solution to be able to say “yes”).
Contact centres for the modern era
The transformative potential of a highly functioning contact centre creates benefits for your customers and staff. With it comes an overall change in culture, reduced customer churn, lower acquisition costs, and highly efficient feedback loops. Turning the call centre from a cost centre into a profit centre is the underpinning measure of this shift in culture.
As customers become more complex and demanding in a modern world, well-run contact centres that use the right suite of cloud-based tools to leverage the data available to them can create seismic turnarounds in the perception of a company. Automated processes can free agents up for proactive work such as outbound callouts to customers experiencing service outages for example; contrast this to a customer’s negative experience waiting on hold with an expensive inbound call just to restore the service they are already paying for. Building the right mix of tools, analytics and staff training can make contact centres proactive, and in a position to deliver next-generation outcomes to customers.
Start your journey from ‘call centre’ to ‘contact centre’