Customer service teams are under constant pressure to do more and be more efficient, while driving better experiences. Often, they’re expected to achieve this without expanding the existing workforce or incurring additional costs.
Luckily, they’re well-positioned to do so — even without overhauling their existing systems and infrastructure — if they leverage the right capabilities, technologies, and ways of working.
In part one of this series, we identified the most common barriers to contact center transformation. In this article, we unpack the real value organizations can realize by overcoming these roadblocks.
The Race to Getting Contact Center Transformation Right – Why the Rush?
In the battle for customer retention, contact centers must be as connected, efficient, and available as customers expect. Due to a lack of resources, siloed departments, or even little attention given until now, few are.
On the other hand, contact centers that proactively respond to customers’ needs and leverage the right tools and capabilities can see continuous ROI in 4 distinct areas:
1. Impactful Cost Control and Cost Avoidance
Online support journeys generate a rich digital exhaust, i.e. valuable data that can be used to guide support optimization initiatives. Yet, it’s essential to consolidate insights from the entire customer journey, including whatever happens on the call. End-to-end analytics is key in revealing the full story; particularly, customers’ pain points and their root causes.
McKinsey reports that nearly 70% of customers try self-service before escalating their issue. By understanding how customers navigate their journey and identifying drop-off points from self- to live-service, leaders can take more exact measures to optimize self-service and rapidly reduce costs.
Moreover, conversational AI can serve to deflect calls or facilitate seamless transitions to the best-suited agent. When that’s the case, intelligent tools like a comprehensive, searchable knowledge base will help agents deliver faster and more accurate answers. In addition, automation can adopt manual tasks, such as data entry during a call, or wrap up the post-call work in seconds. As a result, impactful cost saving comes from a reduction in both Average handling (AHT) and second-time calls.
2. Driving better CX, retention, and revenue growth
Losing customers is (unfortunately) a common factor in any annual business cycle. Yet, better support experiences – driven by customer feedback and continuous optimization – can turn high churn rates around.
Moreover, Bain & Co reports that a 5% increase in customer retention can improve companies’ profitability by 75%.
The ultimate key to unlocking this value is investing in customer experience (CX) excellence. And with that, meeting customers where they are – on the channel they choose. Whether this means ensuring a frictionless self-service journey or allowing agents to go beyond static interactions while responding to customers’ need for personalization and efficiency, a continuous transformation program is the cornerstone of enabling CX excellence.
3. Engaged and Happier Agents
Intelligent technologies can streamline agent onboarding, training, and day-to-day work. Overall, this can allow agents to become more productive, focus on higher-value interactions, and feel more engaged in their role. The outcome is a reduced attrition rate which has been traditionally high in contact centers.
Why is this so meaningful?
Engaged agents are nearly 9 x more likely to stay longer in their jobs. In addition, happier agents are 3,5 x more likely to feel empowered to help customers. This speaks directly to the impact of employee satisfaction on the customer experience.
An important starting point to increasing agent engagement is to recognize their struggles — and eliminate them. One that remains persistent is the need to navigate several systems to solve a single customer request, which drives up AHT. Leaders can respond by leveraging intelligent automation to connect existing systems, thereby reducing complexity and improving operational efficiencies in the process.
From an agent perspective, the end result should be having all necessary information at hand, and being able to help customers without switching between screens.
4. Re-enforced Operational Resilience
Operational resilience has become a top priority in light of Covid-19. Leaders can embrace this as an opportunity to embed resilience into the very DNA of contact centers.
Our client – a leading West European bank – did not hesitate to do so, as illustrated in this use case:
When the government announced a mortgage payment holiday during the lockdown, banks had no time to prepare. Overnight, they received thousands of applications to postpone payments. Customer backlogs grew rapidly, staff fell short, and several branches had to close.
We helped them redefine their processes to require minimum manual work, deploying digital assistants to adopt the work of 300 full-time employees. This workforce accurately processed up to 30,000 transactions a day, supporting customers and staff simultaneously.
The significant takeaway here is not the positive outcome; rather, that digitizing can strengthen a contact center’s ability to weather most storms — and support customers in the moments that matter.