Simplify Contact Center Ops, Maximize Customer Satisfaction


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In today’s gurgling economy, companies are under more pressure than ever to ensure their customers remain satisfied. Increasingly, customer service improvements hold the key for competitive differentiation and customer retention, and the decisions about how companies define and understand improvements to the customer experience is critical.

The most successful organizations are making decisions based on a careful analysis of actual customer needs and desires versus being driven by technology. They have learned that it is important to deliver the right mix of multi-channel services to optimize and simplify customer contact interactions. Even those technologies that promise to simplify operations (such as self-service or chat) may not deliver that benefit if the customer doesn’t want to use it. Instead, there’s the backfire: By attempting to simplify operations based upon technology instead of customer need, the company has actually made operations more complex.

Understanding customer needs is key to simplifying offerings

In virtually every vertical industry today, firms should be careful not to treat all customers alike, even though doing so might seem to simplify processes from a corporate operational perspective. When it comes to determining which multi-media channels to offer, companies should evaluate that need by customer segment and learn what each distinct group needs and desires. An older segment of the population might prefer live agents to self-service or chat, while a twenty-something demographic could favor Internet, chat, or even text messaging. Determining the right mix of multi-media channels is key to reducing operational complexity and increasing customer satisfaction.

Think about the company that offers, for example, new self service IVR or web chat options under the assumption that these will simplify operations and therefore increase quality of service. It will miss the mark altogether if customers actually prefer to talk to live agents. Instead of simplifying operations, it has actually made them more complex. And why? Because technology led the decision, not customer requirements.

Devise a Solution Map

Only when the company understands how the right mix of multi-media options will drive the highest satisfaction from customers is it ready to devise a solution. Companies should evaluate the value of each option based on their new understanding of customer segments. Obviously, the most desirable solution will be both easy to provide and have a high impact on the customer.

Create a grid, take each potential option, and place it in one of the following grid categories:

• Easy to provide with High Customer Impact
• Medium to provide with High Customer Impact
• Hard to provide with High Customer Impact
• Easy to provide but Low Customer Impact
• Medium to provide but Low Customer Impact
• Hard to provide but Low Customer Impact

What’s the lowest hanging fruit? Easy to provide with High Customer Impact


The company is now ready to evaluate how to implement the highest value items from its grid. Options for implementing technology include on-premise, outsourced, and hosted; or, some combination based on where the company stands with its current technology. This is key — there are multiple viable choices.

Implementing the most effective solutions that simplify operational complexity by delivering a quality multi-channel experience to customers may require new technologies. Are these changes going to be evolutionary or revolutionary? A company might take an evolutionary approach and add a hosted IVR to its premise-based call center, or outsource a pool of agents to serve seasonal upswings in call volumes. It may choose to equip a set of agents with different tools to serve the needs of the highest value customers, or offer web chat through a third party during hours its contact center is closed. It could even choose to have an entire second site that is hosted as a way to grow its existing capacity-constrained, premise-based contact center.

The implementation choices are varied. To offer the best mix of multi-media options that balance customer needs with the company’s ability to meet those needs and to simplify the complexity of its operations, a company might consider several options.

1) Eliminate what was previously assumed to be a good multi-media component because customers don’t like it. No matter how advanced the component is, if customers don’t use it, the company has complicated their operations — rather than simplified them — by adding it.

2) Create new multi-media components that previously seemed to make operations more complex, if a clearer understanding of customer needs has proven they are high value. If this simplifies processes for the customer, ultimately it will also simplify operations.

3) Find alternative delivery mechanisms to provide different multi-media or core call center technologies. The choice of implementing these solutions can be evolutionary, with the company merely adding components, or revolutionary, if it replaces an existing premise-based solution with hosted services.

The Future is Now

President Obama is looking to usher in a new age where technology and innovation are leveraged to solve our nation’s most pressing problems, from health care, to climate change, to ensuring that America remains the world’s leader in technology. Likewise, corporations must harness technology and innovation to solve their business problems, a fact which takes on even greater importance in a struggling economy. Customer retention is more important than ever, and by delivering the right mix of multi-channel services — ones that customers demand — companies will succeed in both simplifying their operations and improving customer satisfaction.

Bruce Dresser
Bruce Dresser is chief marketing officer for Echopass Corp., the experts in on-demand, always-on, hosted contact center solutions. Learn more about Echopass at


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