Contact centre technology – more than the front line

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When outsourced contact centres are looking to invest in new technology to improve their operations, it’s only natural they’ll be focused on the tools that will have the most visible impact on their interactions with callers.

After all, this is where most people will form their opinion of the call centre, and the service they receive here is often the most direct impression consumers will get of a client’s brand, so ensuring strong levels of satisfaction is vital.

But an effective call centre needs to go far beyond workforce management (WFM) solutions for front-line staff. Often, many of the issues that prevent swift and effective resolution of customer queries can in fact be traced to back-office functions.

Therefore, having the right technology in place that can link up front-line staff with key back-office activities can make a huge difference to the performance of a contact centre. But this might not be a straightforward process.

The challenges facing firms

Many businesses may assume that they can repurpose their existing WFM tools to cover back-office activities as well, but in reality, most traditional tools aren’t well-suited to this.

This is primarily because they are unable to cope with the complexity of back-office operations, particularly the fact that a single piece of work may be passed around between multiple departments for weeks before it is considered complete. By contrast, standard WFM tools are optimised for single encounters that rarely have follow-ups.

Another issue is that back office functions are not typically integrated with one another, and will usually see a variety of disparate, department-specific tools in use – such as finance departments using dedicated accounting software – that are highly compartmentalised.

The right technology solution

To meet these challenges, outsourcers need specialised technology solutions that have been designed with the demands of back-office functionality in mind. This will mean strong integration across multiple departments and full visibility into every aspect of a contact centre’s operations.

A good solution needs to be able to offer a consistent approach to managing work, people and processes across all functions – both front-line and back office, regardless of channel. It should also serve as a single point of information and end-to-end insight into the full customer service process, while meeting the differing demands of each user.

Streamlining operations

The result of this, if implemented effectively, will be a much more efficient operation, where outsourcers are able to create a great deal of time for their business. By streamlining behind-the-scenes activities and cutting out common errors and bottlenecks, it will be much easier for front-line staff to access the information they need to solve customer queries on the first contact, and empower them to make the necessary back-office changes themselves.

Not only does this mean contact centres are more efficient, it also leads directly to happier customers, as queries and complaints can be resolved faster. For outsourcers, this is also important, as it enables them to demonstrate added value to their own clients.

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