Being in the contact centre industry for over a decade, I have witnessed several changes in technologies, demographic shift, and corporate crisis. Yet our contact centre’s processes remain pretty much the same, and C- level executives have left us alone, simply because the contact centres make little impact on corporate strategies, partly due to the fault of the contact centre managers’ incompetence in executing changes and managing processes. A contact center exists to cut waste, delight customers and generate revenue. Managing these processes with measurable results will be the key to the success of any organization.
My conversations with CEOs have convinced me that most of them don’t really care about their contact centres as they see their centre as merely managing tasks and not processes. All these can be something in the past, given that the corporates are going through transformation enabled by a new business model and digital strategy.
Strategy, process, structure
Everything starts with a clear strategy and articulation from the top. A well-articulated strategy spells out how we achieve our vision and, it gives clarity on who we serve, how we serve and what type of resources required. We then change our processes enabled by digital means. One insurance company integrates its front and back ends by automating their claim process. They drastically reduced manual tasks through automation and machine learning. They promote self-service via portal/mobile application. These actions result in fraud ratio reduction and timeliness and accuracy of claims. They also turned its contact centre as a revenue generator by re-training their contact centre professionals.
New Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), New behaviors
We all remember the traditional KPIs of a typical contact centre. Most of them were set by technology vendors. Thus, most of them are operational in nature and after all these years, most of them are so outdated that by deploying them, it would not just be a waste of time and effort, but also i detrimental to growth. Only a handful of the best practice contact centres are using new KPIs such as revenue per CCP (contact Centre Professional), NPS (Net Promotor Score), CPC (cost per call), PAI (percentage of avoidable input), Customer retention Ratio (CRR), Customer Acquisition Ration (CAR)… All these measures will only be trackable if you have mapped out new processes. As Process maps enable you to peel away the complexity of your contact centre structure and internal politics and focus on the processes that form the heart of your business.
I believe that that Digital journey is critical to the survival of any company, big or small. Contact Centre Heads must get themselves to become part of this effort and offer their contributions, since they can represent the voice of the customers. They have the creditability and knowledge of how their customers feel about their services/products.
In summary, below is a must do list. Once you’ve embarked on these actions, you can expect a strategically important unit and to become a key member of the senior management team.
1. Understand your company’s digital transformation strategy, integrate some digital marketing KPIs to your centre. E.g. mobile traffic, engagement on website, Number of new leads etc.…
2. Learn about E-Commerce, Social media, Cloud platform, Self-service model, cyber security, Artificial Intelligence, and data analytics
3. Enhance the quality of the voice of customer through any of the above tools
4. Revamp your Contact Centre processes with new measures that align to your digital strategy
5. Set bold and “unreasonable” goals like 100% customer satisfaction or 100% improvement on Net Promotor Score or 100% of avoidable input
6. Mentor and coach your team with a change of mindset and new skillset
7. Visit other centres and learn best practices through benchmarking of other industries
It is not going to be easy, Yet, by going on this path with your digital team, it will greatly enhance your ability to deliver excellent customer experience.