Your budget may be in place for 2013, but it’s not too late to consider the people, process, and technology in your contact center. In my last post, I discussed ideas for improving your most important asset—your people. In today’s post, let’s take a look at your processes.
Consultants spend a lot of time with clients helping them analyze and improve their processes. You might consider doing the same. Spend time with a group of your agents and ask them what needs to be changed—and make sure you are really listening. When consultants work with companies to improve processes, we find there are three main areas to consider:
- Workflows – While there are hundreds of reasons customers call the contact center every day, there are probably only 10-20 call-types that make up 80% of the agent’s work. These calls are the best place to look to find ways to streamline processes and improve efficiencies.
Tip: Create diagrams of each call, taking into account all possibilities for transfers, system issues and the need for call-backs based on a lack of information. You will find many gaps in processes that can be fixed to reduce talk time and improve the customer experience.
- Communications – The contact center is one of the toughest places to communicate because agents usually work shifts and may be in and out on different days each week.
Tip: Conduct a survey of your agents asking them where they get their information. Is it the intranet, email, weekly meeting or memos? Ask them how you can communicate better. In my opinion, the best source of effective communication is a pre-shift huddle every day. In most cases, the best communication happens through a multi-channel approach.
- Silos – The contact center has become the center of the universe for many companies when it comes to customer contact. It deals with issues across almost every department in the company. It is paramount that the contact center has a good relationship with the management running the business units of the organization (Marketing, Sales, Distribution, Operations, Finance, etc).
Tip: Schedule a lunch date with the manager of each of these business units in the next 60 days. Use the meeting to update the executive on the value of the contact center by sharing data around, for example, the impact on customer loyalty. Talk to them about how your center helps make their jobs easier. Finally, ask the executive how the center can provide even better support for his or her employees and customers.