In the first installment of this series I spoke about contact centers, the large amounts of money spent and resources that companies spend on you, their customer. However, for many people, the operations of a contact center are foreign.
In the contact center world, employees account for up to 75% of expenses. The vast majority of those employees are the friendly agents answering your phone calls. This statistic should help to shed some light on why contact centers care so much about costs and cost reduction. The contact center operations team knows that they need to have great agents in order to satisfy their customers, but they are also concerned with improving the effectiveness and efficiency of their center. Contact center operations teams may rely on a myriad of different technologies to meet these efficiencies.
Workforce management software is a terrific example of a technology that balances operational efficiencies and a happy workforce of agents. A workforce manager will use this software to predict future contact volume, create schedules to make service level based on the predicted volume, and then monitor each agent’s schedule adherence across the entire center to help ensure that each agent is following the staff plan. Keep in mind, a center could be 10 agents or it could be 2,000 agents. Schedule optimization (planning for the expected volume, scheduling accordingly, and making sure the staff plan is followed) can save call centers thousands in operating expenses.
Workforce management is just one area that helps create efficiency. Other roles and responsibilities include:
- Quality Assurance (those recordings are actually listened to by a QA specialist to ensure standards are being met: yours and the centers)
- Dialer technology requires an expert to manage the outbound dialing that is often used for proactive communication, such as appointment reminders, for their customers
- Training and ”nesting” new agents requires multiple, highly skilled employees that can effectively oversee these new employees and make sure they are trained properly before being placed with a team
- Last, but not least, the thing dearest to my heart is the developer who builds the “Thank you for calling XYZ Corp. Press one for customer service…” IVR (Interactive Voice Response) flows. This is an intensive process because this is the first place where you, the customer, interacts with the company. A poorly written IVR spells disaster for any contact center.
When you think of all of the requirements that drive a successful contact center, it is important to know that some of these may be small centers where one or more roles often fall on the same group of people, or sometimes even a single manager.
inContact offers many technologies that enable centers of all sizes to succeed at walking the tightrope of customer satisfaction and operational prudence. For those that fulfill one (or all) of these roles on a daily basis, I salute you. It is an exciting business challenge that rarely gets enough fanfare, but inside that challenge are wonderful opportunities to benefit the bottom line of your business and make loyal fans out of your customers.