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.
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.
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…
1) Call centers continue to grow – in size & strategic importance
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.
2) Location strategies continue to shift
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.
3) Volume is growing across all channels
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.
4) Customer experience is a competitive differentiator
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.
5) Multi-channel contact centers are now expected
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.
6) The struggle to balance cost and quality continues
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.
7) Contact Center leaders balance multiple reporting relationships
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.
8) Call monitoring emerges to be the top customer feedback mechanism
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.
9) Integrated reporting continues to grow in importance
Virtualpreneur effect –virtual models perform best with strong reporting and tools, ensuring that this model stays on the forefront of integrated reporting.
10) Large, outsourced call centers have the highest turnover rates
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.