Home // Blog

Contact Center Vendors Help Telcos Adapt to Customer Needs

Customer service is built on fundamentals that arguably are the same today as they were 20 years ago; providing satisfactory resolution to customer inquiries and issues. And this is not likely to change as the core underpinning of customer service. But, as the science improves and technology shifts, what’s changing is the way the fundamentals are facilitated.

Additionally, the value of the customer experience has become a critical business driver, so it’s important to consider a shift in perception about the ways in which outsourced contact center vendors can provide value.

In the past, contact centers were mostly considered a necessary cost of doing business. Today, they are the keepers of much direct customer sentiment and feedback and the determining factor for continuing satisfaction, loyalty and potential account expansion. As a cost center, companies considered it vital to maintain control over vendors with a “do as you agreed to in the contract” approach more than a “here’s what we’re trying to achieve; how can you help?” collaboration.

Tomorrow is different from yesterday. Your customers will continue to change. So too must the way you negotiate and procure outsourced contact center services.

The Tomb of Knowledge

It’s said that knowledge is power. For some reason, it’s also believed that sharing knowledge lessens control. But, that’s a misconception. Below are a few reasons why:

  • Sharing knowledge allows your contact center vendor to tap their specific expertise to create and suggest services with the greatest relevance to your business objectives.
  • Differentiating your business in a vastly competitive landscape is difficult at best. With insight to c-level/divisional initiatives, your vendor will have the insight to strengthen the context for individual services and solutions with your customers.
  • Change is the one certainty in doing business today. Without insights to what your business cares about, where it’s going and what its priorities are, your vendor won’t have the flexibility needed to shift and adapt as customers expect and demand. By opening up the tomb of knowledge, a collaborative working relationship with your contact center vendor can help your business stay relevant amidst change. For telecoms, especially, as products become commodities and your company works to find new competitive advantages, sharing knowledge is a solid approach for harnessing the vendor’s expertise to your advantage.

Addressing New Channels, Expectations and Interactions
The need for adaptation has never been stronger. New channels come online quickly and see swift adoption by customers. In fact, they don’t even think about which device or channel they’re using any longer. Each one has become embedded in their behavior. The experiences provided by customer service must cover the gamut of channels, but the real challenge is gaining the depth of customer insights as quickly as possible to understand what’s working in each interaction, in each channel.

Contact center vendors have a wealth of expertise about customer interactions that your telco may not have internally. They may also have harnessed science and technology to improve the services they provide. For example, at Sykes, we’re focused on continuous process improvement and have developed a tool for Systematic Problem Identification (SPI) based on customer call data analysis.

SPI is a technology and data analytics tool that automates the discovery and identification of the root cause for problem resolution and performance improvement in the contact center. By analyzing the relationships between CSAT, call types, (dis-)satisfaction, quality questions; and more, SPI introduces process standardization for problem and satisfaction identification and categorization.

A unified analysis that includes input from voice of the customer, internal call listening and, optionally, voice-of-agent or escalations data enables operational questions to be quickly answered to meet the needs and preferences of customers in the most profitable way. SPI essentially transforms the subjective idea of CSAT with a continuous process for improvement that can be measured through tangible outcomes.

Armed with this depth of insight, your contact center can now operate within an effective environment for adjusting to the complexity introduced by new channels, customer expectations and the variety of interactions in play. Customer service is now able to become adept at determining best courses of action for maximum impact; and best of all, making CSAT tangible.

Set a Precedent for Vendor Collaboration

Buying to specifications is just fine for static needs. But in the case of dealing with the dynamic nature of customer service in an industry that’s still working to find its place amidst the OTT providers and add value to services and products viewed more and more as commodities, you need every advantage you can gain from your vendor relationships.

As Sue Morris, Head of Enterprise Customer Relations for Vodafone in the UK said so well in the recent Perspectives report, Great Expectations in Hard Times;
“Gaining new insights into what our customers really want is paramount and has become the bedrock of our plans for moving forward. It allows us to know what we are doing right for every type of interaction and how this maps against our overall blueprint for success.”