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Customer Contact Centers in the Communication Age

We are currently in the communication age.  We want to do what we want, when we want it and generally expect to get instant feedback.  Customers expect a high level of service at a low cost.

Contact centers are investing in IT integration platforms, avatars, self-service platforms, mobile websites, mobile apps, not to mention productivity technologies, auto call back, voice analytics, call analytics, voice recognition and the list goes on, and on and on.  They are all supposed to increase customer service and lower costs.   Unfortunately there are not very many technology based success stories out there.

Often technology installations take 1-2 years to be fully integrated, and have a 5-10 year pay off, frustrating staff and customers along the way.  The negative impact of these projects on contact center staff is often underestimated, whilst their ability to delight customers is grossly overestimated.

Investing in technology does not prevent age old process pitfalls, e.g. how you segregate staff can have a significant impact on productivity, e.g. staff are segregated by communication methods, resulting in rework where a customer first emails, then impatiently follows up with a phone call.

The complexity of contact centers is growing by the day, and with the focus quickly shifting between Twitter, Facebook, and Skype we can easily get caught up in the sassiness of the technology forgetting about our most important platform of all, OUR PEOPLE.

Process optimization streamlines processes, systems, and behaviors and is proven to improve customer service and reduce costs in a sustainable way.

Successful process optimization programs consistently provide 3 to 4 times the return of IT projects and a payback within 12 months (without investment in technology).  Your staff are empowered and in turn will delight your customers.

Although technology upgrades are a necessary evil in today’s high tech world, next time you are looking at a technology solution step back and ask yourself are we getting the most out of what we have today?  If the answer is no, you can bet you won’t get the most out of the new technology either.

Time to invest in your people?

By: Brad Horan