In a recent New York Times article, author Kate Murphy disclosed an unsettling trend occurring now in the contact center industry: Many organizations are wittingly institutionalizing poor customer service to cut costs or monetize support.
She cited an International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) survey in which 92 percent of customer service managers claimed their agents could be more effective, and 74 percent said that company procedures actually prevent agents from providing satisfactory experiences.
Contact center managers are attempting to cut costs by operating on a cost-per-contact model, which limits the amount of time agents can be resolving customer inquiries. At the same time, their organizations are inserting advertisements for premium support, which costs a fee, into the messaging customers hear while they’re on hold.
If these practices became known to customers of a particular business, how long do you think they would continue their patronage of that business? How long until they left for a competitor more attuned to their needs?
Sacrificing service in favor of savings is a preposterous model—a recipe for financial ruin in the long run—especially considering that today’s contact center managers do not need to select one or the other to be successful.
Here are four ways that contact center leaders can change the way they conduct business to cut costs without sacrificing customer service.
- Leverage cloud-based software. Outdated on-premises legacy hardware is costly and expensive to maintain. Migrating to the cloud will reduce those costs while also promoting uptime with network monitoring and automatic security updates. Furthermore, automatic software updates will ensure that your agents are ready to field all interactions supported by the most effective and up-to-date tools.
- Introduce more support channels. By increasing omni-channel touch points with email, Web chat, IM, SMS and video, customers will be able to engage in the medium that is most convenient—and quickest—for their needs, relieving the burden on your agents.
- Increase automation offerings. Any inquiry that can be addressed with next-generation automated solutions that utilize natural language understanding (NLU), such as intuitive voice or text response and chatbots, will mean one less call that your agents will have to scramble to cram into a busy day. These solutions give customers the chance to resolve issues on their own, and also give agents more time to address the concerns of customers that they have on the phone.
- Introduce agent coaching solutions. Agents must also be held responsible for improving both the speed and quality of the support they provide. Introducing agent coaching solutions into your contact center will track interactions and demonstrate where employees can improve their performance to provide a higher level of service.
To learn more about the solutions that will allow savings and support to converge seamlessly, click here.
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