A Look Into The Modern Contact Center Part 3

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Contact center metrics are important for understanding how your contact center is performing and assessing where to make improvements. Performance data such as average handle or hold time are easy to ascertain with traffic analysis, which we discussed in our last blog entry. By knowing your customers’ calling habits, i.e., who is calling, when they are calling, and how often they call, you get a good estimation of your contact center’s overall volume. However, other metrics like first contact resolution, customer satisfaction, and agent productivity are equally important measures for contact centers as they speak to your brand.

Agent productivity is tied directly to costs, and you may want to know how much each customer interaction costs you. If you’ve added more contact channels in your modern contact center, such as video and chat, you can drill down into the cost-per-contact with simple arithmetic. An increase in agent productivity necessarily follows since your agents are working multiple interactions and resolving more issues. It stands to reason that if each agent handles more interactions in an hour than they did before the addition of the new channels, there should be a reduction in the cost-per-contact. Simply divide the agent’s hourly wage with the number of interactions they’ve handled. Justify technology purchases for additional channels through that equation and demonstrate how omni-channel contact centers outperform single channel call centers, where agents can only service one customer at a time. It is important to note that first contact resolution be made a priority, because if it takes multiple attempts to resolve a single issue, then cost-per-contact may not decrease.

Once you begin to view your contact center as a profit center, the acquisition of better technology will be seen as a revenue booster. Raising your business intelligence, allowing for more intense scrutiny of performance/agent productivity and customer data, leads to an elevated consumer experience, improved branding, and ultimately increased sales opportunities.

If you want more insight into your customer’s thoughts about your company and products, you could survey them, or you can listen to or read their voice or chat interactions in real-time, or after they’ve been recorded and analyzed via Collaboration Recording and Speech Analytics applications. These revenue boosters offer some understanding of the consumer’s total frame of mind, including their level of satisfaction, but also how well the agent did in resolving their issues. They let you 1) measure and monitor agent skills and readiness; identifying any skills gaps, script adherence, or areas for additional coaching, and 2) hear the voice of the customer; detecting agitation, dissatisfaction, escalation, or competitor mentions. Timely feedback supports a flexible and responsive contact center with the ability to adapt quickly to trends and implement improvements that will enhance the consumer’s experience. Whisper coaching or redirecting to more knowledgeable agents, along with building best practices for future encounters, streamlines your contact center strategy. The faster you successfully resolve customer issues, the more satisfied your customers will be, and the better it is for your brand. Happy customers may or may not talk to their friends, but unhappy ones definitely talk to their friends.

Today’s digital consumer is well informed and has the wealth of information provided by the Internet at their disposal. Therefore, today’s contact center agents need to be well equipped to handle this new turbocharged customer. The technology should enable shorter queuing, shorter average handle time, and customer information should be readily accessible to all channels—no one wants to have to repeat their issues to multiple agents if they get transferred. Your customer’s demands may be simple, such as prompt response and easy access in a 24-hour cycle in spite of your regular business hours, and if your customers are demanding more contact options, it is in your best interest to service them wherever they gather. Other channel options include social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram among the most popular. Using self-service forms and auto-prompts with auto responders informing customers their submission was received are viable service options depending on what your customers have expressed. Be certain to survey and ask if their inquiry was solved, to be sure your options are working as intended. Constant quality assurance is a must for the modern contact center. A benefit to keep in mind is the more virtual or text-based your channels are, the less the need for centralized physical spaces and traditional operational hours. Agents can telecommute to improve productivity and further reduce your capital expenses as well as save on the agent’s expenses such as gas and mileage; it is a win-win situation.

The more customer-centric features you add to your contact center, the more data and metadata it is possible to funnel from it. Metrics that allow for better first contact resolution, customer satisfaction, and agent productivity offer significant benefits to the customer and the business.

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Darlene Jackson is a published writer with many years of experience in digital publishing, advertising, and public relations. Her diverse assignments include stints with Chicago Public Media, The Chicago Tribune, and various print and online media and communication outlets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree at Northwestern University.

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