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Creating a Win-Win-Win for Call Centers, Customers & Your Bottom Line

Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the power of customer experience, particularly as it pertains to initial interactions with an organization. Typically these interactions occur via the call center, making this a focal point for continued improvement. As such, Deloitte Consulting performed a survey of contact center industry leaders’ perspectives to uncover challenges and expected trends. Upon reviewing these results, I was struck by an interesting point – the answer in practically every trend was the same.

Call Center Solutions

The Deloitte survey covered the perspectives on both current and forward-looking topics across the areas of call center strategy, operations, people, and technology. Specifically, insights were obtained on specific concentrations including growth projections, customer experience drivers, location considerations, multi-channel focus areas, and organizational alignment.

Creating a winning strategy for call centers, customers, and your business bottom line means finding ways to improve the customer experience while also reducing costs or increasing efficiency in the call center. This can be achieved by creating feedback loops that allow for quick resolution of customer issues, using customer data and analytics to find better ways to meet customer needs, providing incentives and rewards for great service and loyalty programs, automating routine tasks, and creating self-service options. Additionally, investing in technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) can help call centers save time and money while providing a personalized experience to customers. All these efforts will result in cost savings for both businesses and customers while also improving overall customer satisfaction.

In reviewing the trends, I found that there was a common thread of success for each of the 10 outlined – virtualpreneurs™. It’s interesting that no matter the trend or challenge, in each case utilizing virtualpreneurs would yield a positive result. Let’s take a look at each of the points outlined in the survey to see what I mean…

Call Centers Continue to Grow – In Size and Strategic Importance

  • 77% of call centers expect to maintain or grow in size in the next 12-24 months.
  • Expansion plans are driven by the need to improve service and/or to support business growth.

Virtualpreneur Effect: The DNA of a virtualpreneur (VP) is excellent customer experience, which will drive business growth. Happy customers tell others, giving your organization built-in advocates. Plus the virtual model allows for rapid expansion with minimal cost – always a plus to the bottom line.

Location Strategies Continue to Shift

  • 36% of organizations are actively or planning to relocate contact center facilities.
  • The United States is the location of choice for many relocation and/or growth plans.
  • Access to labor is an important consideration for choosing a possible expansion location.

Virtualpreneur Effect: Access to a high-end talent pool is built into the virtualpreneur model. Plus, the benefits of virtual remove the expense of relocating or expanding facilities.

Volume is Growing Across All Channels

  • All contact center channels expect volume growth in the next 12-24 months, with Email (46%) and Social Media (38%) anticipating the largest growth.
  • Specific-channel growth differentiates by industry and closely ties to industry-specific contact center maturity.

Virtualpreneur Effect: Having the higher end skills ensures a multi-channel opportunity for any organization. Virtualpreneurs are technically savvy, and have the ideal balance of intelligence and customer orientation, ensuring they can easily learn even the most difficult product or service details and deliver them to your customers effectively.

Customer Experience is a Competitive Differentiator

  • 62% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator.
  • 40% of organizations have dedicated customer experience resources.
  • 82% recognized “Accuracy and quality of information” as the most important customer experience attribute.

Virtualpreneur Effect: As we have already mentioned, VPs have positive customer experience at the heart of everything they do. Our clients have experienced positive bottom line impact from the VPs’ ability to provide outstanding customer experiences.

Multi-channel Contact Centers are Now Expected

  • 85% of respondent organizations support multi-channel customer interactions.
  • Today, 33% of call centers provide social media contact channels.
  • 92% of organizations that view customer experience as a differentiator offer multiple contact channels.

Virtualpreneur Effect: We are acutely aware of the need for multi-channel interactions to improve customer experiences. The ideal scenario is having the best agents handle each transaction based on the platform. Social media requires interaction, timing and engagement rules that are different from email or phone, but not lacking in quality information and interaction. VPs are adept at handling transactions quickly and appropriately based on the channel.

The Struggle to Balance Cost and Quality Continues

  • 56% of organizations believe cost and quality management are equally important.
  • Cost becomes more important in larger call centers and contact center organizations with more outsourced and remote resources.

Virtualpreneur Effect: The quality levels virtualpreneurs bring to the table improve quality metrics significantly. By ensuring that the focus is on customer engagement, the typical metrics measured, such as AHT and first-call resolution, take care of themselves. Coupled with the virtual model that automatically saves money on facilities, cost and quality achieve a good balance.

Contact Center Leaders Balance Multiple Reporting Relationships

  • Overall, there is a 50-50 split between single and multiple function reporting relationships for contact center leaders.
  • However, nearly ¾ of contact center leaders have a multi-functional reporting relationship when contact centers span multiple regions.
  • Contact center leaders report to Operations or Business Units most frequently.

Virtualpreneur Effect: Because they are entrepreneurial and own their own businesses, VPs alleviate challenges for call center leaders. By self-managing, they bring excellent skill sets to the table while minimizing the need to manage them. This creates less stress for the call center leader, who is then free to manage up regardless of the reporting structure. 

Call Monitoring Emerges to be the Top Customer Feedback Mechanism

  • 55% of organizations believe “Call / Contact monitoring” to be the most effective way to gather customer feedback.
  • Direct Customer Feedback via the web or email and Customer surveys continue to be a popular method for capturing customer feedback.
  • Social media listening has not emerged for capturing customer feedback.

Virtualpreneur Effect: As the basic nature of a virtual contact center, the contact monitoring structure is robust. This allows for quick and efficient feedback to VPs during quality coaching sessions while also providing critical information to internal leaders and our customers. 

Integrated Reporting Continues to Grow in Importance

  • 62% of organizations have completely- or somewhat-integrated reporting and analytics.
  • 87% will either keep or extend the level of cross-channel integrated reporting and analytics.

Virtualpreneur Effect: Virtual models perform best with strong reporting and tools, ensuring that this model stays on the forefront of integrated reporting. 

Large, Outsourced Call Centers Have the Highest Turnover Rates

  • Large contact centers suffer from very high annual turnover rates among their representatives.
  • Organizations with fewer outsourced or remote resources have less annual turnover.

Creating a win-win-win situation in call centers involves balancing the needs and goals of call center agents, customers, and your business. Here are a few steps you can take to achieve this:

Empower and Train Call Center Agents

Provide them with the tools and training they need to handle customer inquiries and resolve issues effectively. This will help improve customer satisfaction and reduce call handle time, which can boost your bottom line.

Foster a Customer-Centric Culture

Encourage your call center agents to focus on meeting customer needs and providing an excellent customer experience. This will help build customer loyalty and increase repeat business.

Implement Technology and Processes that Improve Efficiency

Use technology like AI-powered chatbots and automated call routing to streamline processes and reduce wait times for customers.

Encourage Feedback and Collaboration

Ask for customer feedback on a regular basis and involve call center agents in the process of improving customer experience. This will help ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Offer Incentives for Good Performance

Reward call center agents for meeting performance targets, such as high customer satisfaction scores or low call handle times. This will motivate them to continue providing excellent service.

By balancing the needs and goals of all stakeholders, you can create a win-win-win situation in your call center and improve your bottom line while providing excellent customer service.

Virtualpreneur Effect: Because they value freedom and desire to have their own business, VPs are loyal. The turnover for this group is significantly less than the average contact center, simply because they are creating their own environment, a key for VPs to remain happy. Coupled with work they enjoy, VPs will stay with a program and organization for long periods of time. Our experience is not in alignment with this particular finding. We have long-standing relationships with our VPs.

Virtualpreneurs provide a solution to address all of the 10 issues identified by this survey. VPs can help you manage growth, keeping costs down and customer satisfaction and engagement high. Virtualpreneurs can do this because of who they are and what they represent – qualified, highly motivated individuals who desire quality, and provide excellent customer service, regardless of the channel. Expanding your contact center using virtualpreneurs will result in a win-win-win scenario – A win for your call center, for your bottom line and for your customer.

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