Often considered a company cost center and the Rodney Dangerfield of departments, contact centers have historically been overlooked and underfunded when it comes to digital transformation initiatives. But doing nothing today is only driving costs even higher – to the tune of millions of dollars – as disconnected agents spend their time trying to get information to resolve issues and improve the customer experience.
Aberdeen estimates that siloed contact center agents spend almost 15% of their day trying to find information, and that a 200-agent contact center loses $1.5 million annually to these collaboration hurdles alone. If there ever was a time for contact center transformation, 2020 – with the push to remote work across the organization – is making the case. Here’s what modern contact centers, untethered by physical real estate and hardware and connected and collaborating with the rest of the company, are realizing – and yours could too:
1. Improved customer experiences. While 88.3% of organizations consider customer experience a competitive differentiator, more than half (53.5%) of CX operations are still managed in silos. Those that are not – unified communication-enabled contact centers – are seeing a 2.9x average handle time improvement year-over-year and an 80% decrease in customer complaints, according to Aberdeen.
2. Noticeable productivity gains. Aberdeen’s research also reveals that unified communication-enabled contact centers see a 50% increase in agent productivity. That’s no small change, and neither is the next reason for contact center transformation.
3. Cost savings. So if a 200-agent contact center loses $1.5 million in labor costs annually from siloed communications, imagine what the whole company is losing. A recent Planview survey shows that all knowledge workers lose around 20 hours a month due to siloed communication tools. Imagine the recouped savings in increased productivity alone – then think about what your company could save from a reduced real estate footprint and hardware costs if your contact center could operate from anywhere.
4. Reduced employee turnover. Siloed tools created employee frustrations. In a 2020 State of Work survey, 88% of workers said the technology their company uses is an important part of the employee experience, and 91% say they crave modern technology solutions. 84% say businesses today are missing opportunities by not moving to more modern solutions.
5. Higher quality talent. Modern contact centers are attracting tech-savvy agents who can meet tech-savvy customers’ high expectations, as well as more experienced employees who want long-term remote options with the ability to collaborate just like they’re in the office.
6. Greater visibility and actionable insights. According to Dimension Data’s CX Benchmarking Report, customer analytics is the #1 factor that respondents think will reshape customer experience in the next five years, followed by AI and digital integration. When contact centers are easily able to communicate, collaborate and share information with the rest of the business, it informs customer experience, product and service improvement — and most importantly potential new business models which are the key to true digital transformation.
7. Ability to adapt to change. Sadly, according to the same benchmarking survey, only 15% of respondents say their current customer experience technology will meet future needs. It’s time to raise that percentage.
8. Positive culture change. Another recent survey shows that for more than half of employees (58%), culture is more important than salary. For companies working to build a customer-centric culture, the number one reported challenge is functional silos that are preventing customer data sharing.
Looking for advice on transforming your contact center? I recently talked with Acer leaders on their recent initiative and how employees are responding. I invite you to listen to the interview here.