Customer service has come a long way. These days, businesses have more options than ever before to customize the live support experience — and technology is playing an increasingly vital role in keeping customers satisfied. Of course, existing processes can always be improved upon.
In particular, when it comes to improving the customer service experience and streamlining operations, today’s call center agents now have a wide array of tech solutions to resolve these matters. Here are three proven ways today’s call centers can better streamline operations and achieve greater success.
Cost savings are integral to the business model of most call centers. While providing first-class customer service is imperative, the main reason most companies rely on a third party to perform these functions is to keep costs down and save on overhead.
That said, too many contact centers are penny wise and pound foolish. Believe it or not, dogmatically squeezing every last cent out of wages and employee costs can actually lead to higher spending in the long term. This is because employees who feel like they have enlisted in boot camp don’t typically stick around long.
Such employee churn kills overall retention rates, and that means companies must devote precious resources — and time — interviewing new candidates, refilling seats, and retraining new hires. In addition to these direct costs, this can leave key campaigns understaffed, risking poor performance and straining client relationships.
For this reason, companies that are a bit more generous with benefits, vacation time and other perks often outperform the competition. This is especially true if there is high competition in the city, where offering creative packages for employees (i.e., giving Fridays off) can make a big difference. Drop the old-world iron fist mentality and watch as your work environment blossoms.
A few short years ago, companies were still struggling to adapt to a world in which cloud-based solutions and software as a service platforms were threatening to overtake traditional business models. But those times are now in the rear-view mirror, and the customer service call center industry has been transformed exponentially.
Today, leading businesses are starting to see the upside of implementing cloud contact center solutions into their operations. Flexibility, agility and reliability are three of the immediate benefits to be had. As business needs change, so too can the underlying software. If scaling up quickly is a must, the cloud contact center can respond, which is particularly helpful for seasonal upticks in support demand.
The cloud contact center is also better able to integrate with third-party applications, especially through open API frameworks. Ultimately, this means combining operations with the most popular platforms on the market is usually a breeze.
Automating mundane tasks is becoming increasingly common in call centers. However, businesses that have taken the bait are also employing some form of robotic process automation software. Simply put, RPA is easy to integrate, relatively cheap and allows “digital workers” to complete tasks with 100 percent accuracy around the clock.
While RPA software requires some upfront costs, the benefits of deploying robots isn’t a massively expensive undertaking that takes some time to reap rewards. In fact, the return on investment can be shockingly quick. Integrating one digital worker into day-to-day operations can cost mere thousands of dollars, but it can do as much work as multiple human employees.
Better still, companies don’t have to downsize their workforce and instead can put their employees to work on more high-level cognitive tasks. In this way, putting innovation to work (quite literally) offers other benefits as well. Case in point: When you tell someone they no longer have to toil away at busywork, they become more engaged and happier at work. And this is especially true in customer service, where a more cheerful employee is a better employee.
Of course, not all call centers can implement this technology overnight. Still, the key is to embrace a mentality of change. Indeed, the call center industry is transforming rapidly as technology continues to offer new ways to streamline operations, increase efficiency, improve the customer experience and ultimately cut costs.
Ultimately, adaptation is now the name of the game. In other words, if you can’t or don’t evolve, you can’t compete. Today, the best of the best are now leaning into the cloud, looking at what automation can do for them and starting to finally understand the benefits of valuing workers and prioritizing employee retention.
It isn’t rocket science; it just takes a concerted effort to make improvements. Finding the time for such strategic planning can be difficult in this fast-paced, competitive service landscape. But it is no longer a luxury — it is a necessity.