If you’re considering consolidating local customer support into a more efficient, centralized service, you’re probably on the lookout for successful consolidation strategies. After all, smooth transitions aren’t easy — they need a lot of careful planning.
While the consolidation process can cause chaos in an organization, the right plan can prevent and mitigate that. These internal strategies are necessary to avoid disruption to the external customer experience.
Experience tells us there are six steps vital for successful consolidation:
1. Assess the Impact of Local Support Centers
This is the first step in assessing the need for consolidation. Use careful analysis to determine which parts of the current setup work — and which parts need to be changed.
2. Establish Specific, Actionable Goals
- Depending on the specific situation, a consolidation project will have some combination of the following goals:
- Set out the primary objective(s) intended through consolidation. This could be cost reduction, or service improvement, for example
- Identify the ideal customer experience expected from the new model
- Describe the best locations for new centralized services
- Establish a timetable for change, taking into account factors affecting both local service delivery, as well as change management
3. Get Support from Existing Local Operations
It’s important to get local stakeholders on board with the transition, which is a sound strategy for maintaining high standards where they already exist. You’ll also experience less internal resistance and achieve a faster and more successful consolidation, which is best for customers, employees, and the company’s bottom line.
4. Take Current Needs into Account
While the goal of consolidation is consistency, one-size-fits-all approaches won’t work during the transition period. Country managers may have existing contracts with local vendors that need to be honoured. Meeting these obligations isn’t just the right thing to do — leaving them unfulfilled can hurt your brand’s reputation, breach local regulations, and make it hard to maintain or grow market share.
5. Offer Employment to Existing Qualified Agents
You’ll need agents who are experienced and qualified. Sticking with customer service representatives who already know your products and business processes is a great strategy, where they are willing to relocate, and can establish a nucleus around which to build the new support service.
6. Cultivate a Unified Customer Support Culture
This step is a continuous one that lasts well beyond the initial transition period. It can be accomplished through establishing:
- Consistent training, processes and policies across teams.
- A brand-centric and collaborative work environment.
- Ongoing coaching and skills development for agents.
Is Consolidation Worth the Effort?
Successful consolidation requires some serious planning and investment, but it pays off in terms of business improvement. When properly implemented, contact center consolidation will save your business money while improving the customer experience.