Netcall - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
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When consistently trying to make efficiency savings in your contact centre it can be difficult to try to secure more budget. We've put together some top tips for formulating a plan and making your business case.
Competing for budget, have a compelling outcome from your request
Budget constraints mean project funding has tight scrutiny. Any project plan must meet business goals with a strong likelihood of success. You need to show how your actions align with the top three business strategies. Now and in the future.
For example: show how your Customer Experience plans will drive down costs and improve agent productivity. Then detail the impact for the next two to three years after you have achieved return on investment.
Define your pain points, do you know the real reason you need to change?
Before you start, ask yourself if you are able to clearly identify the reason change is needed. What is broken or has changed? Do you know what’s holding you back and why you can’t meet your goals? If you can’t answer, then take a step back and focus time and energy to understand the ‘real’ reason you need change. Then identify the costs associated with this challenge. Complete a financial analysis.
For example: consider using the “5Why’s” methodology to reach root cause. Map out a SWOT analysis of these root causes. Identify threats and opportunities. Define how they will impact both business and contact centre success now, and in the next two years.
Cost vs. profit centre – what do you offer?
Objectively consider if senior management view your team as a cost or profit centre. If cost centre, what could you do to show that you are making a real contribution to the success of the business?
For example: how will these actions drive down costs in other areas? Will you promote customer loyalty and increased lifetime customer value? Will your team be able to deliver renewed customer focus?
Who’s point of view – only yours?
Take the time to consider the project from every stakeholder’s point of view. Your project will compete for time and resource from wider stakeholders. Others such as IT, operations and management have their own issues. How do your goals impact them? Work with peers to see their picture. Understand if they can identify with your pain. Consider how your project will help to solve a shared problem. Plan how to align team actions and improve success. Be sure to canvas your leader’s opinion. Learn about their challenges. Present your plan with their context in mind.
For example: understand each stakeholder group’s needs and concerns. Consider how your project will compete with or support their plans. Plan to engage with them to keep your project on track.
What is the cost of doing nothing?
Detail how not acting will impact your team and its productivity. While the human cost has a value, be sure to detail the business cost now and in the medium term. If there is no cost, rethink.
Do you know what success looks like?
Success has two sides; the financial measures and the team engagement. Ensure that you have a clear return on investment. Back up the reasons that your project has a compelling priority. Your challenge has a real cost, usually in both efficiency and morale. You are proposing a solution to remove those costs. There will be real benefits too. Be sure to specifically quantify each cost.
For example: ‘we will remove 30 seconds of call time, this will allow us to handle 10% more calls each day. The integrated system means agents will be in control from the start of each call. Currently our team satisfaction rating is 78% we expect that ease of working and confidence boost will improve this to 85%.’
Publish Date: May 9, 2017 5:00 AM
As a Microsoft user, your office tools and your contact centre channels need to work together. We can now confirm Liberty ContactCentre's collaboration with Skype™ for Business. Streamline contact and gain greater call control with our unique media handling within Skype™ for Business.
Drive competitive advantage
Improve agent experience. Give agents the relevant customer information and support on the call, using office tools they are familiar with. Help agents identify why a customer is calling, without having to ask.
Improve customer experience. Ensure each interaction is seamless, no matter what the channel of contact.
Highlights of Liberty working with Skype for Business
- Allow agents to access your corporate directory in one click
- Route calls quickly and easily to available agents
- Mobile home working from anywhere, anytime
- Enable staff to work together using any device
- Support agents in real-time with instant messaging (IM)
- Enable agents to open an IM session to anyone in Skype for Business
- Scalability and functionality as and when you need.
To find out more visit our Liberty ContactCentre and Skype™ for Business page.
Publish Date: May 2, 2017 5:00 AM
1. Choose telephony for you… and your organisation.
When you make contact centre tech decisions there may be a knock on effect for all departments. So, unless you are a standalone unit consider how your choice of telephony will affect others. For example, what will a change in handsets and devices mean to your back-office?
Why not think about:
- Call transfers to and from the back-office
- Your businesses bring your own device policy (BYOD)
- Your need for end-to-end CX. Ask your vendor if they support agnostic integration with other legacy software.
2. Plan for flexible agent skills.
Your agent teams handle different tasks and channels. They will need flexible functionality. Avoid the ‘one size fits all’ trap. It’s will limit your ability to respond to customers and cost you more. Make sure that you are able to meet peak seasonal demand, and then when it’s all over, return to your baseline. Plan for specialised groups of agents that will need extra features.
Ask your provider:
- Are more features available as and when agents need them?
- Are these features hard linked to agents or transferable between agents?
- How are these billed? What about peak demand?
- Will the extras be part of a tiered integrated approach?
3. Check data security means the same for you, and your provider.
Data security used to be about how your team uses and stores data. Yet, you may share some of the data with third parties. Other departments may access data connected to your contact centre systems. Now, it’s about how they access your data in the cloud. If you have outside 3rd party customers this challenge becomes greater. (Such as outsourcers or contractors)
We recommend that:
- You map the data compliance for each touch point within your cloud deployment
- Confirm with your Data Compliance Officer that your new plan has their approval.
4. Rethink your resilience and stability plans
A. Business continuity
On-site systems have well-developed resilience and stability plans. When you move to the cloud, the issue of resilience takes on a new emphasis. Take steps to protect yourself against a single point of connection failure. Also consider the routing you use for data and telephony between your cloud provider and your sites. Poor transport link routing introduces latency (delays) which affects performance. Be careful that you don’t compromise data packet transport with your business continuity routing.
B. Performance monitoring in real-time is essential
When your systems are on-site checking data traffic is irrelevant. In the cloud you need to watch the flow of data traffic to see when delays happen. You need real-time visibility to follow performance along the whole route. Track each step of the route and track provider SLAs. Avoid being performance blind. Measuring “what’s happening” and “where” keeps you informed of any delays or downtime.
For best performance and resilience:
- Watch data as it exits your service provider cloud site and on each transport link between the sites
- Check what happens as data crosses your perimeter and firewall
- Plan the best number of data and telephony links between you and the outside world
- Design your connection to minimise latency and unintended consequences.
With more than 20 years of cloud experience our technical teams are here to help. They will support you as your plan your cloud contact centre. Our project teams remain at your side for every step of the implementation and roll out.
Publish Date: April 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Customer Experience (CX) remains top of the priorities list for many contact centre leaders as organisations strive to stand out from the competition. Mapping customer journeys is a hot topic associated with improving CX. We’ve previously asked ‘Walk a mile in your customer's shoes, where does it take you?’ [link to blog.] But what if the opportunities to improve CX are closer to home? What about the insight you can gain from your contact centre’s agents during this process?
Agent journey mapping is an area that is often overlooked when considering customer experience. But, removing barriers to success for your agents is crucial if you want to provide superior customer service.
Read our consultants’ top tips for reviewing your agent journey and things to look out for.
Customers who call your contact centre tend to be frustrated before they even reach your agents. Especially if your IVR isn’t up to scratch, but that’s a whole other issue.
If the agent then has to scrabble around for information while the customer waits, your CX will suffer.
Agents can become easily overloaded if they do not have a single connected view of information. And this can lead to inconsistent service. An agent who has been with you for 6 weeks should find the system as easy to use as someone who has been with you for 6 years. If they don’t the system is creating a barrier between them and the customer. Both suffer as a result.
Guiding agents without scripts
We’ve all experienced those phone calls to a contact centre where agents are overfamiliar, disinterested or too scripted. But have you ever thought what the agent goes through at that time? What systems they have to navigate through while still keeping the conversation going and ensuring their customer is happy.
You hire a contact centre agent because you feel they will do a great job. But getting tied up with difficult and distracting systems means that they are less able to allow their personality to shine through.
By offering simple and intuitive Agent Guidance, you free your agents up to be more ‘present’ in their phone calls. To actually listen to what customers talk about rather than just ‘padding’ the conversation until the systems catch up or they find the relevant info.
Look beyond the logistics
When embarking on process or journey mapping, don’t simply look at your technology or the logistics. You need to take into account the emotional and empathetic elements of the process.
Your customers don’t care about how your back office processes work. But they want to know where they are in the system. Automated updates are essential. But if the customer calls in the agent will need to be able to tell them the situation clearly and concisely. Customers who call in want reassurance. Agents need to be able to give that reassurance without battling the system.
Make sure you take into account wider communication channels such as social media, emails and website forms as well. These are vital in stitching together the true experience of both your agent and customer.
Time to get started
Not sure where to begin in mapping your agent journey? Our consultants give their top tips:
- Simply sit with your agents and observe their processes. This can give you enough information to make a good start. But make it clear that they are not under scrutiny. This may give you false results
- Assign two separate teams to look at the Agent Journey and the Customer Journey – this provides focus and clarity.
- Assign a third team to look over the outcomes of the other two teams’ investigations
- Then, elect representatives from all three teams to conduct a review and discuss moving the project forward.
To see how Eurotunnel approached their change project, listen to our recent webinar ‘5 steps to implementing successful contact centre transformation’
Gain a fresh perspective of your contact centre. Book your complimentary discovery session with Netcall’s consultants today.
Publish Date: April 18, 2017 5:00 AM
6. Update your queue handling by using customer focused options.
Your customer's experience starts as they dial and come through to your IVR. Using ‘press 1 for…’ (DTMF) is no longer a customer-friendly option as many will be using mobiles. Consider using speech recognition instead, so your customers can ask for what they want.
7. Plan for end-to-end technology.
With so many technology vendors, it is tempting to add a single-purpose solution. This is a bit like using technology as a plaster. You may gain small improvements but the lack of integration will affect your customer experience. Take a step back and consider your whole strategy.
8. Improve service and productivity with a 360° agent view.
67% of agents use 3 or more applications.** This slows speed-to-answer by 73%, call abandonment rises by 34% and wrap-up is 23% longer. A 360° agent view gives them all the information they need at their fingertips, improving CX and performance.
9. Use Agent Guidance to enable teams to multi-skill and multi-task.
Your contact centre answers many queries on wide-ranging subjects. So training your agents for every task and outcome takes time. Agent Guidance makes it easy. It allows you to offer faster, high-quality training and then on-going support at their desk.
10. Quick wins
- Test all contact journeys - Don’t wait until a customer complains. Regularly test your contact journeys and fine-tune the routing. Including prompts in the queue and on the web.
- Prioritise messaging by urgency and importance – Use your IVR menu to identify the highest priority. So you can deal with the most urgent customer needs first in the menu.
- Use callbacks and web abandonment – Use callbacks to reduce your call abandon rate and avoid keeping your customers on hold for long periods of time. Cart abandonment on your website can also increase your revenue.
- Test web forms to avoid complexity – Ensure your web forms are easy to use and only request exactly what you need to know.
You can also watch the full recording of the webinar here.
Publish Date: April 11, 2017 5:00 AM
Complaints about nuisance calls are up 12.5% (Ofcom)
1 in 5 direct marketing calls is from an anonymous or false number. Rogue traders that break the law make it difficult for normal businesses. (Ofcom)
According to BBC Watchdog, the public now treat any call with suspicion. However contacting customers is essential to running any business. Organisations need to balance serving their customers as they meet the strict legal requirements.
Here are six things you can do to make sure that customers answer your call.
1. Stay Compliant
It is unlawful to make unsolicited sales and marketing calls to people registered with Telephone Preference Service (TPS). By listing their number, they are opting out of nuisance/direct marketing calls.
To do: To follow the law, ensure you do not make calls to listed numbers, customers who ask you not to call them or customers within 28 days of them registering.
2. Display your number
When you call you must always say who is calling and display your number to the person receiving the call - this is a legal requirement. You also need to provide a contact address or Freephone number if asked.
To do: Check your PABX, and ask your telephone systems provider to make the changes you need.
Just so you know - The law is more complicated for automated calls. People must specifically agree to receive this type of call. See our '6 steps to responsible and effective outbound' infographic.
3. Plan and offer value in every contact
Have a clear purpose that makes the call useful for the customer too. Have a support plan that provides help to customers. Make sure agents know what is expected and the goal of the call.
To do: Know exactly what every campaign is for and check for the most suitable time of day.
4. Data management
Are your customer records up to date? Save time and prevent waste. When your records are clean, outbound calling runs smoothly.
To do: Clean your records and give agents time to check and amend incorrect details.
5. Provide agents a guide to the process
Make sure that agents have all the information they need for every call. When the agent has a 360° view of customer details and the process they need to follow, they control the call from the start.
To do: Invest in agent guidance to improve success rates. Use a step-by-step agent guide to make the processes clear.
6. Always agent first
Plan your campaign calls. Screen pop customer details with the campaign to the agent before dialling.
To do: ‘Agent first’ delivers responsible calling. Stay clear of regulation and reputation concerns. Your agents will be confident and in control from the start.
Perhaps if there were no regulations it may be tempting to take a risk. Be responsible about managing your outbound calling processes.
Netcall will help you to be responsive AND compliant. Keep and grow your customer goodwill and loyalty.
To find out more, download our Outbound Campaigner product sheet, or get in touch.
Publish Date: January 18, 2017 5:00 AM
As a successful business, you’re achieving great results. You want to offer an amazing customer experience.
You know you need to continue to transform your contact centre. Quality, performance and processes are high on the agenda. Your valuable legacy systems need to be included in any change.
To support your journey we suggest these three transformation stages.
Stage one: Give agents instant access to information.
Informed agents take control from the start. By integrating systems, you give agents relevant customer details and what topic/query they are likely to discuss. Customers do not have to repeat details, improving their overall experience.
This reduces the time to handle each call by 20 to 30 seconds. You will make business efficiency gains enabling you to move to the next stage.
84% of respondents said that they do not currently identify incoming customers. Agents receive the contact blind, and then search for the details.
Stage two: Joining the dots with contact management.
This is an interim step on your journey to the customer engagement hub. Inform agents about recent customer contact history. Have they contacted you before? Is this a follow up or a new case? Display contact across channels for agents to better serve your customers.
The integrated view of recent contacts improves agent productivity and morale. These benefits translate into business gains. The return on investment you make will finance your move to the next stage.
76% of respondents said that they do not currently identify repeat contacts.
Stage three: The 360 degree view, full case management<p "="">Customers expect to achieve their goal as a smooth end-to-end journey. Your internal processes and departmental silos are irrelevant to them. Full case management automates and streamlines manual processes to optimise your agent’s time. They use a single interface and kick-off processes at the click of a button Their quick and efficient responses result in happier customers.
Your workflows automatically feeds tasks to the appropriate back-office or field colleagues. Alerts are sent to supervisors to avoid any delays and meet service levels. These streamlined actions will improve your quality and performance!
82% of respondents say that they do not currently store interactions against the customer.
Transformation is more than technology.
Netcall offers you a three stage path matching your needs today and in the future. Start where it best suits you. Only move to the next step when you are ready.
Our end-to-end customer engagement solutions are available in modules. From contact distribution (ACD) to experience management (CXM), we are able to support your contact centre.
Our passion is to help you find the right solution, ask us how.
Publish Date: December 22, 2016 5:00 AM
The day-to-day running of your contact centre can take the lion’s share of your time. So how do you ensure that you’re matching daily operations with the strategic aims of your business? And how do you work out your priorities?
Luckily, ContactBabel has done some of the hard work for you! They are the leading analyst firm for the contact centre industry in the UK. So to use their own words, if you have a question on how the industry works, or where it's heading, the chances are they have the answer.
We’ve worked with the team for several years. One of the latest projects being the ‘Strategic Directions’ chapter of its 2016 UK Decision-Makers’ Guide.
Around 200 contact centres took part in this research. We’ve outlined the top three technology investment trends below.
- 47% CRM or agent desktop
- 39% Making omnichannel work
- 29% Back office integration
Here’s our take on each of the three priorities. Do you agree?
Tell us what you think on the form at the end of this blog.
1. CRM or agent desktop
Over half of contact centre leaders want contact with customers and agents to be easy. But research shows that agents waste 30% of their time struggling to manage multiple screens and processes.
Our advice? Create 360° customer view for the agent.
Agents with a holistic view of the customer solve more queries. They can see a full customer history and access relevant information within one screen. This means lower average handling time with greater first contact resolution. Read how The Warranty Group achieves this.
8 out of 10 contact centres do not have end-to-end visibility.
A Netcall survey cites 58% of customers saying that having to repeat information is their biggest irritation and 44% saying “each time I speak to a company, they don’t really know who I am” (2014 Netcall study).
2. Making omnichannel work
Research shows that it disappoints customers when they have to repeat information. Companies that don’t have full customer history are also a source of frustration for today’s customers.
Tackle this by fixing broken journeys.
Having an omnichannel contact centre means integrating processes. But consider that change doesn’t have to be a ‘big bang’. It’s often possible to find a way to integrate legacy systems with new solutions. One step at a time. Data shows that good customer experience and journeys improve revenue potential and results because:
Happy customers come back
Happy staff don’t leave
3. Back office integration
This features in third place with 44% of respondents highlighting as a priority investment area. There’s an increase in interest to join up front and back office systems. With the end-to-end customer journey in mind.
Break down silos join up legacy systems.
The changing role of the agent means that they work more with specialist back office functions to support customers. Find ways to help the whole team focus on the customer experience. For example, use SIP to deliver voice and chat. This will join the front and back office. Ensure that contact transfers between staff include the full customer history. This will drive down costs, improve morale and teamwork.
Share your views
If you are a strategic decision maker for your contact centre, feel free to share your views! Are you looking to invest in these areas in the next 2 years? Or are there other priorities for your contact centre and your business?
Join the conversation and complete the form below:
Want to read more?
Our ‘Strategic Directions’ chapter features within ContactBabel’s 2016 Decision-Maker’s Guide. It covers issues that contact centres face. Learn more by reading the full chapters at netcall.com/cb-strategy.
Publish Date: December 15, 2016 5:00 AM
You have a whole team of agents to manage as well as many other demands on your time. Making sure that every individual gets the most appropriate training on every process is tricky.
Our new Agent Guidance is a useful tool for both agents and Quality Management.
1. Agents gain a dynamic step-by-step dialogue and process guide for each specific task. No matter how complex the process, the guide provides them what they need as they need it during a transaction. This can significantly cut down their initial training time.
Your agents know they will get information at each step just as they need it, so they relax. They feel confident and driven to multi-task and offer every customer 100% of their attention. System frustration decreases and team morale increases.
2. Quality management gains deep insight into where processes cause agents to stumble. When you are able to see their step-by-step progress, you understand exactly when things go wrong. The detailed reporting shows you exactly where agents have a training need. The Quality Manager is able to focus on any particular call and screen recordings that relate to difficult areas.
You are able to personalise your training plans and give specific coaching to each agent or identify where the whole team needs an update.
Individual training just as it is needed
When you support your agents by using specific step-by-step guides, you free them to deliver exceptional customer service. At the same time, you gain detailed visibility of each step and are able to direct quality improvement. You improve agent morale and reduce agent attrition. Matching each agent's exact training needs means they feel heard and valued.
All of this enhances your customer's journey too! Seems a good idea, doesn’t it?
Discover more about our Agent Guidance tool and how it can:
- Help agents deliver a warm personalised quality experience… every time
- Uncover hidden processes in your call flows
Publish Date: November 28, 2016 5:00 AM
Different generations prefer different channels of communication. When you match the most effective channels, by age and value, to your target audience, the potential to improve resolution rates multiplies.
Your marketing team have typically practiced customer segmentation already. When Customer Service use this information to match customer communication expectations by channel, it is likely to require a new outlook.
Gain competitive advantage and differentiate your offer with the way you deliver customer service and radically improve efficiency. There is no reason to offer all channels necessarily, rather choose the ones that best fit the customer needs and your ability to offer them.
- Use Generational Research (such as Dimension Data or ContactBabel) to develop a future-focussed framework which will support you to plan and then provide, easy to use, convenient and personalised services
- Conduct ongoing customer surveys and agent feedback to gain needed insight to fine tune your channel offer.
We offer 3 steps to improved productivity and customer experience (CX) management.
Step 1: Analyse your customers
- Are you confident you understand the interaction complexity, level of reassurance and the urgency of any event?
- What is the impact and cost of a failed contact? Our research shows when they have not received resolution, 42% of customers will call and request to speak to the supervisor
- Monitor the purchasing power, and match the cost to serve with the segment profitability, it is just good business
- Invest in segments which will deliver your future growth.
- Scripted guidance improves consistency
- Empower your agents. Provide them context and information to ask the correct questions and deliver the highest possible first contact resolution
- Monitor process bottlenecks
- As peaks appear identify whether it is business as usual or due to faults/issues in the process. As you find efficiencies, implement them
- Automate alerts between departments and break down those silos
- Providing updates and triggers keeps the process moving and reduces frustration for agents and customers
- Monitor progress and share the successes and concerns with your team in real-time
- Everyone likes to win, help all the team to see how their efforts are making a difference
- Take the team with you! You may have five generations in your team now, keep in step and be open to internal change too.
Step 2: Match channel to task type
- Make tough decisions, if a channel is not profitable find a way to close it
- Reassure customers, clearly demonstrate how they are able to access services in an alternate way
- Use proactive communications to avoid contact. Contact them before they need to contact you, use cost effective SMS, email or voice outbound. In fact 73% of customers believe a proactive reminder could have helped them (Nuance)
- Reduce costs and improve productivity.
51% of webinar respondents said that siloed use of technology was their biggest hurdle to meeting customer expectations.
Step 3: Map your work processes
There is a temptation fueled by social hype to offer more and more channels. Instead, focus on the match between specific channels, transactions and demographics, which will deliver successful outcomes for both customers and agents. Appropriate channel choices will:
- Improve productivity and reduce your cost to serve, as correct channels provide the best possible first contact resolution
- Provide a foundation for future channel requirement planning.
The journey to omnichannel is demanding. It requires that agents follow every interaction by journey, no matter the channel. This means that over time your customer’s lifetime of journeys is immediately available enabling agents to see the full context and improve their service and support.
Publish Date: August 15, 2016 5:00 AM
When you walk a mile in your customer’s shoes you will rapidly see where and how you demand high levels of effort from them.
Making it easy for customers will ensure you keep them. In fact 94% of customers who have a low-effort service experience will buy from that same company again. (CEB)
How you map the journeys, whether on a flipchart, using post-its or with a sophisticated application, is immaterial. What will make a material difference to the way you view processes, will be if you:
- Dream big and agree your end goal
- Clearly define the specific customer service you want to resolve
- Then borrow from Olympic sporting success, and ask just one question; will this new idea/ action/decision get us closer to our goal?
- Even if it’s a useful idea, if it doesn’t add value to this situation discard it
- Consider each relevant journey and ensure that every step in those interactions is mapped.
‘Define all touch points, workflows, bottlenecks and any delays, and consider if both the number of interactions and the requirements of each contact are fit for purpose’ Gartner.
Mapping redundant processes is an inefficient use of everyone’s time. Your revised journey path will eliminate unnecessary or wasted steps. Prioritise important stages and investigate smarter options, self-service or automations to reduce effort. (For tips on lean, perhaps see ‘Lean for Dummies’)
Investigate and honestly consider:
- Where do your internal silos impact your customer experience?
- When and how are your customers better informed than your agents? Look for knowledge gaps which mean customer requests force your agents to ask for help, and find ways to update their knowledge
- How do you involve your stakeholders and, in particular, your agents? Centres that collaborate with their agents have a greater chance of achieving long term productivity goals
- What internal ‘political’ barriers stand in the path of success? Consider which are crucial to your plans and harness support from other stakeholders to overcome the hurdles
- Ask your project team to identify quick wins that will convince and encourage the wider team and plot your steps to success.
We recommend you avoid:
- Extensive system changes which will typically overwhelm the team, unless of course your actions have delivered breakthrough simplification
- Sole reliance on business analysts. Instead support them to make contributions to the team dynamic
- Launching an untested plan. Deadlines often mean changes are rushed through. Testing, if the system is in the “best interests of the customer”, will support improved agent performance.
What's bad (in your processes) for customers is bad for agents
Making it easy, and improving productivity.
The business of mapping may get in the way of the purpose, which is to resolve a customer query first time.
Focus, focus, focus.
In each process step you design you may find it helpful to:
- Focus on providing the capability for the agent to handle the task in the first instance
- Have a clear step-by-step understanding of each process
- Enable agents to ask the right questions to get correct information specific to the task
- Empower your agents to reach resolution, with information or with the ability to satisfy complaints
- Enable agents to finalise routine back-office processes
- Avoid irrelevant questions in any work process, however tempting, unless you can prove the value.
These are significant business benefits to getting it ‘right’. Customers demonstrate improved first contact resolution, reduced average handling time together with consistent performance quality.
The greater reward, however, is in the easier end-to-end management of every customer interaction. It enables you to move from multichannel/multimodal to omnichannel. Improved customer loyalty and retention coupled with a decrease in complaints will be the signal that you have moved from a transactional customer experience to customer lifetime management.
Read how Honeywell Analytics improved efficiencies and increased throughput fivefold with Eden.
Publish Date: August 8, 2016 5:00 AM
Everyone wants loyal customers. They buy more, they pay more for your services, they are your advocates and they have fewer complaints. When you think of loyalty, what emotions immediately come to mind?
71% of contact centres see driving operational efficiency and cost savings as their number one priority for 2016.
You need solutions which help you to meet your productivity and cost savings targets. Often the most popular response is to move customers to self-service. They do the work, they achieve their goals, the organisation is more productive and everything is good – or is it?
Forrester advises that as companies strive to break ahead of the pack and gain a competitive edge through the quality of the CX they provide there will be a battleground shift to new areas like emotional experiences. (Predictions 2015: The Race From Good To Great Customer Experience Heats Up)
The hidden cost
When self–service becomes the only way customers can transact with your organisation, previous opportunities for sales may have slipped through the net and now you are missing revenue targets. Any additional customer needs may then fall into the hands of your competitors.
Refocus on cross-sell and up-sell
There are two sets of tactical tools as you work to reconnect with your customers and re-engage with them in a more personalised experience.
- The most professional processes and technical delivery
- A secure and consistent emotional experience
When processes and technologies fail, any investment you make on your emotional connection is likely to be lost. For example, if your loyalty card does not register the points/provide the rewards, its purpose is undermined. We recommend that you first check your processes and technology.
- Where historically did you gain the greatest cross-sell and up-sell opportunities?
- How have you moved these processes to self-service?
- Are all those self-service processes still fit-for-purpose?
- Given that other routine tasks have been eliminated, evaluate where you would have agent capacity to handle revenue generating tasks in person, no matter the channel. Only switch to self-service during peak times
- On all appropriate responses, give your agents an identity to create personal connections especially on social media
- Use technology to monitor self-service actions and provide status updates e.g. ‘thank you for your order’, ‘thank you for updating your details’ etc.
- Harness your data and create a 360° view to intervene at process bottlenecks or critical times in your customer’s journey.
Customers expect your processes to be flawlessly executed, they will remain loyal and repurchase when value is clearly demonstrated. Organisations that provide unforgettable effective experiences are on a journey to secure their success, now and in the future.
Increasing customer expectations and ease of switching providers mean that growing closer to customers is essential to grow loyalty and increase retention. Use these pragmatic steps to ensure that the relationships you foster have a steady foundation of efficient and consistent process outcomes.
Read our infographic to learn more about the changing expectations of customers.
Publish Date: July 25, 2016 5:00 AM
It is interesting that 40% of customers using self-service also contact the call centre (Orange) while 82% of store visitors make a follow up phone call (Orange).
Customers evidently need to follow up when they feel that they have not had a suitable resolution.
As a contact centre manager you have matched the transactions to the channels (see previous blog) and now you need to understand the true cost-to-serve by transaction.
Some analysis of costs is simplistic in that it only accounts for single contact transactions and not the impact of repeat contacts for the same query. In this illustrated example we show how repeated contact increases costs – times to contact x cost of channel. This however, does not even include the escalated cost when 42% of the complaining customers call and ask to speak to a supervisor.
We have compiled a check list of items to consider as you calculate total interation costs. Making marginal gains, tweaking processes one step at a time, will lead to reduction in the cost per interaction.
- Service levels. What is it costing you to meet your targets? For example have you ever needed to ‘switch off’ webchat to handle voice? What is the biggest cause of this target failure, and could you automate or deflect this contact volume.
- Handling time. Are you able to calculate the total handling time per interaction across channels?
- First contact resolution. Are you able to track when customers return for the same query as they feel it was unanswered? What is most common reason for the initial contact failure, what would it require to resolve this ‘one’ process issue?
- Customer effort. Consider how you could match the interaction channel to a specifc demographic to ensure the biggest chance of acceptance and success. Using alternate strategies for the same transaction by age segment may deliver a solid a business case
- Urgency and the emotional impact of the transaction can cause customers to demand real-time communication. How could you provide proactive communication or adjust the channel for urgent/bad news delivery to more closely match your capacity and reduce peak demand
- Harness channel slide. Do you use a mixture of channels in an orchestrated way for each interaction? Maintain the majority of contact on a lower cost channel but have an agreed approved route for agents to use to provide personalised support. For example use voice or web chat when specific data sensitive help is needed
- Avoid inbound contact with proactive outbound messages. Reduce costly inbound contact by providing tailored, channel-specific messaging to reassure customers or send them a reminder e.g. “missed payments” or “delivery status update”.
The journey to finding the most appropriate route or sweet spot for each transaction and demographic is demanding and requires focus and ongoing improvement. You will gain improved customer loyalty together with increased productivity and boosted staff morale.
Publish Date: July 20, 2016 5:00 AM
Many organisations are looking to change their customer interaction focus from ‘isolated transactions’ to long-term relationships to help improve the customer experience.
Moving from unconnected contact to integrated customer experience means ensuring continuous improvement for people, process and technology. Right first time query resolution becomes the primary goal for every department. As each team across front- and back-office participates in the workflow, they monitor and contribute to a 360° customer view across the entire organisation and all its channels.
A brand is defined by the customer‘s experience. The experience is delivered by the employees (Shep Hyken)
Typically technology is a trigger as it enables the change, however successful change requires transformation of both people and processes.
Extensive change has the potential to disrupt and carries some risks, however using a step-by-step approach is more likely to deliver a positive outcome. Staged changes have the added benefit of opening a balanced discussion on the next level of adjustment to people and processes.
Seek to find productive solutions in all three areas:
- Process; an in-depth review of your processes will highlight areas for change and will often provide savings as you remove ‘it’s the way it’s always been done’ and improving your understanding of what is fit-for today’s purpose. You will identify and then can investigate the reasons for bottlenecks which is likely to result in a removing unnecessary hurdles alongside a redesign
- People; increasingly you may find five generations within your workforce each with different attitudes, ambitions and motivators. When you ‘take your people with you’ you help them to identify with your goals, understanding that they can deliver value within your plans, this motivates them to contribute and achieve. Support every agent to reach their maximum potential with agent guidance, quality and performance systems that empowers rather than penalises.
- Technology; the rapid pace of technology change guarantees the next thing will be on the horizon sooner than you can consider it. Omnichannel focuses on the joining up of all your systems, on being able to report in real-time, being proactive to customer needs and then being equipped and prepared to take on new channels (such as web RTC) in a synchronised way.
You were motivated to make the change to omnichannel, your goals were clear and you could see what success looks like. Use the continuous improvement mantra of ‘plan do check act’ to confirm; if you are moving in the right direction, and ensure that every adjustment to process, people and technology will further your goals. Take special care to avoid project distractions in your quest to deliver an improved customer experience.
Our eGuide, “Multichannel Myths” explores this further looking at whether you are effectively meeting your customer’s expectations or for more information on omnichannel visit netcall.com/omnichannel.
Publish Date: July 18, 2016 5:00 AM
Today customers expect to be able to contact companies using any channel and receive the same experience, every time.
The omnichannel world requires that you sharpen the focus on how well you deliver customer experience (CX). Instead of a primary emphasis on operations and the productivity of each department or team, CX allows you to remove silos.
Meeting changing demands is only achievable with a complete end-to-end customer view.
Omnichannel contact centres put customer experience at the heart of what they do with a 360o view of all interactions, so how to you change your siloed multichannel approach to omnichannel?
We explore 4 steps you can take to help you.
Step 1 - Find an executive sponsor: it will help you motivate every department.
An omnichannel contact centre removes silos and promotes fully integrated working. When you have an executive sponsor who can emphasise the importance and benefit of the project your preparation and execution is typically more successful.
Step 2 - Confirm your objectives: agree the business benefits and return on investment to the company.
Review your plans and confirm the ‘end in mind’ and what success looks like.Providing a clear picture of success enables teams to identify with the direction and each action or change can be evaluated against the goal. In other words, will this action contribute to success or is it a distraction?
Step 3 - Change readiness: take your team with you.
Support colleagues by engaging individuals from marketing, back office, field staff and the contact centre in the pending change. Help them to see that data from all channels, activities and processes now belong to the organisation and not to their department. Improving the experience for all your customers’ demands total integration and cross functional working. Use your executive sponsor to motivate why this change will enrich their work and improve their job satisfaction.
Step 4 - Map your customer journeys
Understanding what you want to achieve, then consider each relevant journey ensuring that every interaction is mapped. Before embarking on a mapping frenzy which can be an inefficient use of everyone’s time, consider Gartner’s advice …..’Define all touch points, workflows, bottlenecks and any delays, and consider if both the number of interactions and the requirements of each contact are fit for purpose’. Unnecessary or wasted steps are easily highlighted. Prioritise important steps and investigate smarter options or automations to reduce effort.
Why not take a look at our eGuide, “Universal queue; it’s more than just technology” or for more information on omnichannel visit netcall.com/omnichannel.
Publish Date: July 11, 2016 5:00 AM
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