This, of course, is not exactly breaking news. A decade ago, the authors of a study published in the journal Production and Operations Management pointed out that, as technology and communications channels have evolved, “the operational challenges faced by call center managers have become more complicated.” Some industry leaders have already taken notice and embraced the idea of outsourcing modern contact center activities to dedicated experts to replace the outdated, cumbersome brick-and-mortar call center.
That’s a smart move. Given the diversity of technology that’s currently in play, the challenge of managing it—and doing so effectively—increases almost daily. In the traditional, brick-and-mortar call centers of decades past, a single manager could easily oversee and organize all calls. So diverse and vast are the communications channels comprising today’s multifaceted contact center—also known as the blended contact center—that best practices demand the use of a diverse team of specialists.
For most businesses, hiring, training and employing specialists may not fully align with their goals—even large, established brands. There’s more technology to invest in; more diverse variety of training to engage in; more factors to consider when working those all-important key performance indicators (KPIs). Making sure you get all this right rarely fits easily into a cost-sensitive business model.
So fast are things changing that even the solutions of a decade ago no longer hold up. Saving costs by using customer service reps from other countries is now more or less rejected by customers, fairly or unfairly, because of factors such as a perceived communications barrier or distaste for the idea of sending American jobs offshore.
The good news is that solutions exist to meet this challenge, leveraging North American-based virtual agents on a scalable, on-demand model. The rise of the dedicated modern contact center—as exemplified by Working Solutions—brings to market services designed to fulfill every need for sophisticated contact methodology, without sacrificing customer satisfaction.
A modern center keeps up with customer demand for a variety of communications channels. It also addresses the market realities of leveraging every available means to expand your base of customers, solicit their feedback and present them with opportunities to engage.
Here are a few more reasons to partner with a dedicated contact center specialist:
1. Quality. Companies, such as Working Solutions, put a great deal of care into educating customer service agents. This emphasis ensures that not only are communications of the highest quality, but also keeps agents engaged. Such focus reduces turnover, which maintains consistent service.
It’s important to remember, as the contact center experts at ICMI point out, “studies suggest that customer loyalty is determined by the quality of service the customer receives, and not necessarily by the cost of the product or service.”
2. Variety. A specialized contact center can offer expert-level support across any relevant channel—not just by phone, but also live chats and other instant communications that consumers increasingly prefer. People want to decide how they engage with you. Your best bet is to empower them to make that decision for themselves.
As opposed to off-the-shelf services that offer inflexible, and often quickly outdated, service models, a modern contact center partner will let you select the services you need— whether it’s voice only, chat only or whatever works best for your business model. Better still, when you decide to, or need to, expand or change your communications channels, your partner will easily be able to adapt, often while giving you the benefit of leveraging economies of scale.
3. Expertise. What types of communications should you be using? A modern contact center with true expertise can help you work out what’s appropriate or not. It can help you avoid wasting resources on the all-too-common trap of taking on channels you may not actually need.
4. Specialization. The advent of social media has made customer communications a public-facing aspect of any business. Many companies now issue statements and customer feedback first and foremost on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. But handling communications via those channels isn’t as easy as it appears. As many companies have learned to their chagrin, a misstatement or mistimed communication can spur instant and irrevocable backlash. A modern contact center ensures a representative will make the right call at the right time, on social media, along with all other channels you use.
5. Scalability. Communications tend to spike during certain times of the year—around the holidays for retailers, for instance, or during the summer months for many travel and accommodation providers. And those are just the foreseeable surges. The reality in many industries is that usage spikes aren’t always predictable. A standard, on-site call center with a fixed staff and limited resources may struggle to accommodate these fluctuations. But a specialized contact center has the personnel on hand to smoothly deal with them, while maintaining a consistent level of quality and brand messaging, to boot.
6. Selectivity. Some customers have favorite customer service reps and prefer or demand to speak with them. With a sophisticated contact center, agents can easily transfer calls, chats or other communications from one rep to another, or flag the conversation for a later transfer, without requiring customers to repeat their explanation.
Other customers may refuse to engage with you outside of their preferred channel, which is increasingly live chat. Today, instant communication is essential. And, while an email contact form is still a useful tool for building your mailing list, among other reasons. Some customers, however, are no longer content to wait for a response to an email inquiry, no matter how fast it may be delivered. Other customers, ever wary of SPAM, may reject form signups entirely.
7. Analytics. An underused aspect of contact center success is measuring its performance, according to various criteria, and then making the appropriate course corrections. This is the function of analytics, or the capturing and tracking of data to identify trends and discover any problems that may exist, and then use that knowledge to optimize the process and improve efficiency.
Again, for an on-site team of call specialists, this is an aspect of the modern contact center that may pose a challenge not easily met. An expert-level contact center partner, on the other hand, will be equipped to track the metrics necessary to ensure you’re making the right decisions to most effectively engage with your customers.
8. Resources. These new forms of outreach require, almost without exception, the need for better and continuously updated software. This includes not only the customer relationship management (CRM) software essential to organize and coordinate your communications, but also a patchwork of additional applications to support it. A dedicated contact center will expertly handle the software needs as a matter of course, without passing on additional costs.
Again, managing this software may not be within the area of expertise for traditional call center personnel. There are hidden dangers here, too: Even using the wrong version of the right software can pose a security risk. Partnering with a modern contact center that specializes in a sophisticated, multifaceted approach will ensure the right software is in place, updated and used correctly.
Interested in learning more about the advantages of working with an experienced, high-level contact center with skilled North American-based representatives?