Many businesses handle customer service out of a contact center and, until recently, contact centers were seen as a necessary, yet costly facility to support customers. New technology is allowing businesses to reverse that view, turning their contact centers into profit centers. In fact, Gartner has reported that by 2025, over 40% of customer service organizations will become profit centers, by virtue of becoming leaders in digital customer engagement.
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Contact centers seem to face certain problems again and again. If you’ve managed a call center in the past, then you’re probably already familiar with the three most common issues:
Call center work can be stressful, and stress levels are highly correlated with high absentee rates, burnout, low job satisfaction, and emotional strain. In surveys, agents report this dissatisfaction, due to inadequate training, lack of success, and problems forgetting key information needed to help customers. This can lead to high turnover rates, which means that the expense of training employees is often wasted — by the time a new employee is fully trained, they might be close to heading out the door.
Many contact centers are not harnessing the technology available to them to best serve their customers. They are failing to quickly resolve issues on the first call, which leads to customer dissatisfaction, additional forms of contact, and a poor use of resources.
Contact centers often do not make good use of the data and customer intelligence which is at their disposal. Most contact centers are taking in data on a constant basis in the form of customer activity, interests, conversion rates, and demographic information. However, the majority are not analyzing this data and using it to improve customer retention rates and boost loyalty.
With advances in artificial intelligence and automatic speech recognition, there are infinite ways to utilize these technologies to help agents work more efficiently during calls, improve call center monitoring, optimize agent training, and analyze customer data after calls.
Often times, contact centers also face scaling issues. As a business grows or experiences seasonal fluctuations in activity, a company’s customer service capacity might not keep up with the needs of a growing consumer base. This can be risky for business, since it often leads to clients being underserved and unable to reach a service representative when they need help.
CCaaS solutions were built to resolve common issues that many contact centers face. Here’s how:
Increasing Employee Engagement
According to Calabrio’s 2021 report on the State of the Contact Center, using cloud-based contact centers have visibly increased agent engagement (and productivity) in their work. It has also led to greater reported levels of employee satisfaction. The report says that contact center agents appreciate being able to access data quickly and easily in the cloud, no matter where they are (especially through mobile devices in a world with a more distributed workforce).
The more satisfied your employees are with their work, the more productive they will be. According to Gallup, the most highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable, because of higher work satisfaction, higher productivity, and fewer accidents. Together, this ultimately leads to better retention of agents.
A cloud-based CCaaS can transform capturing and using data into a streamlined, intuitive process. A good CCaaS can automate processes like generating action items or wrap-ups so that agents can focus on providing good service instead of taking notes. It can store all of your customer data in one place (by integrating with CRM or ticketing systems) so that it’s available to employees whenever they need it. For your customers, this helps prevent the hassle of having to repeatedly give their information to agents.
This is also an especially useful feature when your workforce is distributed across the globe. However, it’s a good function to have even when your staff is working out of a physical call center. Keeping data in one centralized and easy-to-access location helps to speed up all of your business operations.
CCaaS can eliminate hold times and can reduce your average handling time (AHT). Today, the typical employee in a call center is toggling between multiple tabs as they try to input customer data on their legacy operating system. This results in unnecessary delays, errors, and frustrated customers.
Working with a CCaaS platform eliminates the need to jump back and forth between several screens. Your agents will be dealing with a single interface throughout, which means quicker intake and much less possibility of human error.
Hold times can be totally eliminated by using a callback request, so that customers will no longer need to wait on the phone (listening to your hold music) for the next available agent—and instead go on to something else until an agent is available to speak with.
CCaaS also provides intelligent routing, which greatly reduces the number of call transfers required in order to direct each call. Nobody likes being transferred, again and again, and in the worst cases customers may simply hang up in frustration.
With intelligent call routing, this issue fades into a distant memory. Routing can be based on specific skills, product knowledge, availability, or even a customized set of conditions. Issues can be resolved faster, resulting in happier customers.
Some CCaaS solutions offer the ability to detect customer emotion while on a live call. These systems are capable of "reading" customer mood and can register negative (or positive) emotion in real time.
Think about the potential this represents. If your cloud-based call center software can detect a customer’s frustration levels, then it can also alert your call center managers so that they can intervene before bigger problems arise. Instead of your customers angrily demanding to speak to a manager, you’ll have managers jumping on the line early and resolving issues before tempers escalate. In the same vein, identifying happy customers helps you nurture them for upgrades, enhancements, or simply to become advocates for your brand with others.
Unlike legacy call centers that deal mostly with inbound voice calls, modern contact centers can support multiple channels, including both inbound and outbound calls, and digital messaging. Instead of waiting for customers to come to you with an issue—typically when their negative sentiment is at its highest—CCaaS allows you to proactively address known (or upcoming) service issues or support problems.
When a broad event occurs, such as when a product is backordered, agents can reach out to affected customers to offer an upgrade or at least a notification of the delay. If a problem is discovered with a previously purchased product, a proactive outbound contact center can quickly notify existing customers of the issue—and the potential fix.
Besides providing a better customer experience, this results in customers having a more favorable view of your brand—which increases customer loyalty and the likelihood that they’ll purchase from you again in the future. Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%, according to Bain & Company and Harvard Business School.
A good CCaaS can track the success (or failure) of your customer service approach, so that you can revamp your methods as needed to increase profitability and success. Using a CSAT survey to analyze calls with high and low CSAT scores help identify which approaches resonate (and don’t) with your customers.
Your CCaaS solution can also spot drops in performance and investigate their sources. It can closely monitor the rate of first call resolution so that you can put a solution in place if the rates are not satisfactory. Broadly speaking, it can identify operational inefficiencies through the call or contact center so that you can work on targeted improvements.
Like any other workplace, a call center tends to have some built-in inefficiencies. You may think of this as being inevitable, but in fact, technological solutions like CCaaS can streamline your workforce and eliminate unnecessary costs.
Some CCaaS platforms allow you to build powerful reports that give you a 360-degree view of your call and contact activity so that you can strategize when you need to have the most employees available.
Instead of having a fully-staffed operation sit idle for hours on end, you’ll be able to staff your call center so that you have the most people available when they are actually needed — and you won’t have a lot of people sitting by idly when there is no work for them to do.
Avoiding over-staffing will save your organization funds because you won’t be paying for employee hours that you don’t need. And avoiding under-staffing your organization will also save you funds, because you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently serve the customers that need assistance, when they need it.
What are your business goals for this year? Chances are, they include eliminating unnecessary overhead costs and increasing your employee engagement. Your goals should also include increasing customer retention and improving your company’s reputation among prospective customers.
All of these goals can be met by using the right CCaaS system for your business. CCaaS adoption leads to greater customer retention and a strong reputation for excellence. It also increases your agents’ engagement and productivity levels, and cuts down on the costs associated with clerical errors and repeated, unnecessary points of contact with customers.
Instead of calling again and again, and being placed on hold or shuffled from one point of contact to another, your customers will be able to call once and immediately reach the person who can help with their query. Much of the time, your employees may be able to resolve customer inquiries by text or email too, further cutting down on time expenditure.
In short, adopting a cloud-based contact center is the answer to many of the issues that have always plagued contact centers. It’s also the way to turn contact centers from cost centers to profit centers.
Dialpad is a cloud communications platform for talk, messaging, meetings and contact center in one beautiful app. Dialpad’s platform delivers AI across every employee and customer experience through real-time transcriptions, live agent coaching and sentiment analysis.
Published: Friday, September 24, 2021
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