Types of contact centers
There are different types of contact centers which serve different needs of a company like
- Customer Service
- Employee Service
- Marketing & Sales
Every contact center has business drivers that drive the performance of the center.
These handles inbound calls from customers related to various kinds of inquiries about products and services (billing, general informational, order processing inquiries, returns, and refund processing inquiries, claims to process inquiries etc) as well as other aspects of the company (policy inquiries, change of service, website assistance, complaints and feedback etc). It may be required for the agents to call (outbound) the customers back for followup.
Customer service centers also provide Technical support to inquiries where technical expertise is needed. These are typically driven out as paid services that have associated service contracts. The service is provided to customers after verifying the associated entitlements.
Business Drivers and how to achieve them
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Provide multi-channel support.
- Encourage agents to take ownership of problems.
- Turn customer survey data into action.
- Act according to customers expectation.
- Provide proactive support.
- Increase First Call resolutions (enable proper routing mechanisms to make sure the issue is routed to right technician)
- Understand the issue and fix them by identifying the source and by considering the factors that can contribute to those issues.
- Analyze customer contact behavior to anticipate their needs by analyzing their demographic data.
- Invest in call center software that provides a comprehensive history of the caller in one interface (service console), has automated tasks, has skills-based routing, has agent dashboard and metrics.
- Optimize support structure.
- Engage in contact ownership.
- Decrease the cost of service (cost per call, cost per agent, average handle time etc.)
- Perform a post-season audit to check what went right and what went wrong.
- use benchmarking to track and reduce cost per order, cost per call, cost per contact, cost per transaction.
- Adjust staffing models by checking the staffing ratio of full time, part time and flex time and their productivity.
- Improve training, enforce adherence, optimize occupancy.
- Review service levels and supervisor-to-agent ratio.
- Conduct a telecom audit.
- Integrate IVR for resolving basic frequently asked queries and review call flow prompts.
- Leverage your agents who are eyes and ears of customers for upselling and cross-sell.
- Increase average speed for a response
- reduce caller wait time in queue
- ensure proper technology, rules are in place so that agents do not miss out
- Reduce customer abandon rate (review available bandwidth and required bandwidth regularly)
- Provide customers with an estimate of what their hold times would be.
- Provide customer with a call back instead of them waiting on the queue.
- Staff based on call volume by checking historical data.
- Reduce average handling time carefully (do not sacrifice overall customer service quality).
- Increase ring time.
- Improve email etiquette
- Use meaningful subject
- Don’t use ALL CAPS
- Be concise.
- Proofread email before delivering.
- Ensure readability
- Take time when replying to angry or negative email to get proper perspective and to ensure proper supported content is in place.
- Increase knowledge about product and services
- Proper knowledge about the product to agents will strengthen their communication skills, develops confidence and boosts enthusiasm during service provision. It also ensures customers queries are properly answered and quality customer service is provided.
- Ensure that agents are the first people along with sales to get proper training about the product before the whole world knows about it.
- Optimize adherence to schedules
- Stress importance of schedule awareness throughout the service.
- Make sure an accurate recording is in place.
- Include schedule adherence in agent evaluation.
- Reward top performers
- Increase productivity
- Track and limit how much time agents are spending on tasks.
- Ensure agents are given regular breaks.
- Ensure proper deadlines are imposed like the number of closures per month etc.
- Ensure follow up and closing times are part of agents schedule.
- Ensure rewards and recognition are in place.
- Increase sales from field services (ensure support is aware of basic sales processes)
- Reduce average repair time (ensure required tools and knowledgebase are in place)
- Reduce average response times
- Reduce employee turnover and Increase employee retention
- Ensure agents are paid as per Industry standards.
- Offer flexible work schedules wherever possible.
- Ensure the work-life balance is in place
- Reward and recognize top performers to motivate.
- Ensure proper career growth is in place.
Most of the companies have an internal employee service contact center to support requests and inquiries from employees (full time or contract) of the company. These typically provide services like IT troubleshooting services through helpdesk, payroll services, travel services through travel desk, services for inquiries like internal processes, travel assistance, Human resources, and emergency services.
Business Drivers and how to achieve them
Reduce operational costs – By having proper policies in place and setting up thresholds
Increase the number of tickets resolved and reduce the resolution time – ensuring proper training and knowledge base is in place
increase agent productivity and availability – Review required and available bandwidth
improve technical and interpersonal skills – Ensure proper training is in place.
Sales and Marketing
Most of the companies involved in sales processes will have the contact centers for helping the sales and marketing users. The activities may involve queries related to Order Management, Outbound campaigns, Social media monitoring, market research, customer feedback and retention, Promotions, lead generation etc.
Business Drivers and how to achieve them
- Increase the number of calls and Leads generated
- Define a clear value proposition that resonates with customers.
- Create relevant content that informs and engages your target prospects.
- Collect meaningful and limited data points.
- Optimize website design to represent the brand.
- Increase number of leads converted in deals
- Provision of proper information about products and enabling ability to demonstrate those as required, ensuring sales management is involved wherever required.
- Publish a blog to gain trust. According to Forbes “The fact is that in the world of today you cannot become an authority simply by declaring yourself as one. Customers are more suspicious, and they want to see you prove it. By producing quality information that’s true and reliable in every blog, you are making sure that you can become that authority”
- Integrate CRM with marketing automation platform to leverage all the existing data, to present highly relevant messages, to personalize based on interests and past buying behavior.
- Setup leads scoring to qualify leads. Points can be awarded based on actions they take (like clicks, visits etc), for demographic data like job title, and a threshold score can be set to ensure eligibility.
- Include sales when developer lead scoring strategies.
- Revisit and refine the lead scoring process at regular intervals.
- Run lead nurturing and generation campaigns.
- Use social marketing and share content on social media.
- Increasing revenues
- Increase telemarketing campaign ROI:
- Effectively using by differentiating the masses and ensure every call has purpose.
- working with bad data and correcting the contact information to be up to date.
- Measuring right metrics like average conversation length and depth, how many phone calls resulted in moving a prospect to the next step and avoid measuring metrics like talk time minutes, dials per day.
- Avoid measuring the effectiveness of postal service (sending follow up messages to acknowledge email reception), instead be succinct and send compelling messages geared to the recipient.
- Do proper homework before making calls.
- Avoid selling on the first call, typically for complex high-end products with long sales cycles.
- Set appointments with sales person after proper qualification to avoid wasting their time
- Increase upsell and cross-sell percentages
- According to Predictive Intent, upselling performs 20 times better than cross-selling when it comes to product pages.
- Upselling drives over 4% of total online sales compared to 0.2% of sales driven by cross-selling tactics.
- Cross-selling is much more effective when presented on checkout pages versus product pages.
- Consider Value (avoid suggesting products that increase overall order by more than 25%) and Familiarity (greater familiarity with addon item makes it more likely to be bought).
- Increase number of sales deals per contact