Your contact center budget is already in place for 2013. What else can you do now to impact your bottom line? It’s never too late to consider your people, process, and technology. In my last post, I discussed ideas for improving your processes. In the third and final installment of the series, we will finish with your technology.
Technology is the engine that enables the contact center. While we have already discussed that people drive the customer experience, technology can help organizations be more efficient and provide better access to information. Based on the feedback that you receive in your process planning, you can determine how best to improve your technology to better serve your agents and customers.
Customer Relationship Management
An entire article could be devoted to customer relationship management (CRM) and the opportunities that new CRM systems provide to the contact center, but here are some questions to focus on first:
- Do your agents have access to up-to-date information that allows them to do their job?
- Do you have some form of knowledge management system (KMS) that helps them find answers to questions?
- Do you need to make changes to desktop systems to ensure that workflows are in sync with the technology?
- Did your agents help design the workflows?
When evaluating your current CRM system, remember a contact center CRM should be designed through two lenses—the customer and the agent. Also, while a new CRM system may not be in your immediate plans, consider ways to improve what you already have. Perhaps it is also time to address the executive team with specific examples how the CRM system deficiencies are affecting your agents’ success and the customer experience.
Interactive Voice Response
When was the last time that you called your center and navigated your current interactive voice response (IVR) script? Here are three great tips:
- Request a hard copy of the current script and analyze it from a customer point of view. Attempt to shorten menus and ensure they are tied to effective queues within your call routing system.
- Review the IVR reports to understand where callers are “zeroing-out” to determine if changes to the menu may assist in keeping callers in the IVR for their answers.
- Make it easier to get to a live agent. An IVR should not be a call deflection device, but a helpful and useful tool as seen through the lens of the customer.
Knowledge Management (KM) is a hot topic in contact centers. While the technology has been around for many years, organizations are beginning to understand the power of putting complex solutions into the hands of the agents (and the customer in self-service scenarios). Current cloud technology is bringing KM to new levels. Even small centers can now access strong searchable access to knowledge. With the right technology and processes, the knowledge can also be pushed to the customer via websites and portals.
Review your website to ensure that it aligns with the services that you provide in your center. Create a quiz for your agents which asks them basic questions about the website. You will be surprised what they do and don’t know. Schedule a class to train all agents on the website and ensure they can answer basic customer questions. Of course, there is another article waiting to be written about self-help and the agent’s ability to help customers navigate it.
We may almost be to March, but you can still plan for the future and set your own course for success. In the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen Covey wrote, “If you’re proactive, you don’t have to wait for circumstances or other people to create perspective expanding experiences. You can consciously create your own.” Prepare now for the circumstances that will drive success in your contact center in 2013.
Looking to transform your customer strategy? Check out Bluewolf’s Customer Service and Support practice.