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3 habits of successful contact centres

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It’s easy to disparage poor performance in contact centres – we all experience an unfavourable experience at times – repeated calls, ill-equipped agents and a lack of efficient resolution.
What is a bit more challenging is knowing what goes on behind the scenes at successful contact centres, writes Wynand Smit, CEO of Inovo.
Here are some effective habits contact centre businesses should employ that will see improved performance:

Measuring for success
Standard reports that business systems provide are simply not sufficient – reports must be adapted to the requirements of a specific company or division. Evaluating staff and business performance requires many different metrics to be identified, monitored and managed. All performance metrics should also be directly tied into and support the contact centre’s goals and that of the business as a whole.
Making that information available on dashboards by combining data sources, and then interpreting and analysing this data to achieve a holistic view of performance is key. This enables companies to proactively improve efficiency and productivity, as well as strategically respond to evolving business requirements.

Business goals over tech
Technology itself doesn’t solve business problems – it comes down to how this technology is applied to solve specific business challenges. The contact centre industry is brimming with buzzwords, but until the end-game is identified, shiny new tech won’t necessarily steer your contact centre onto the path of excellence and help your business achieve its goals.
For example, “excellent customer service” could be a stated goal, but until this is defined by your customer, it is difficult to work out how to measure and achieve this.
What do your customers find frustrating when interacting with your contact centre? How could this impact on their perception of your service levels? Perhaps it’s not the lack of webchat as a channel option, for example, but rather the lengthily and irrelevant IVR menu that they have to navigate every time they call you? Advanced routing strategies or reducing menu options could be a simple fix. Ultimately it comes down to identifying and defining goals and working out the best way to measure and achieve them – technology could play a role, but so could many other factors.

Turning data into differentiation
Businesses and marketers collect an infinite amount of customer profile and interaction data, yet it is often stored in disparate systems. Pulling and integrating this data into relevant business systems, analysing patterns and trends, and using this to derive insights that can be fed back into the business to drive meaningful action is where the opportunity for differentiation lies.
While third-party market research has its place, the intelligent use of the unique data within your business is what will truly drive enhanced personalization and customer satisfaction, customer experience and service excellence, and improved productivity and efficiency.
In a debt collection scenario, for example, you might recognise that a particular customer always pays two to three days after being reminded of an outstanding debt via SMS, but that calls from the contact centre are frequently ignored (perhaps the contact centre doesn’t use CLI and the number appears as “unknown”). By analysing the data and identifying this behaviour, which could be due to forgetfulness as opposed to a lack of funds or willingness to pay, this particular customer could be SMS’ed 2-3 days before the payment is due, eliminating the need for follow up calls and ensuring that the payment is processed in time.
This is a very simple use case, but ultimately it does demonstrate how important it is to use your unique business and customer data to inform tactics, processes, and strategies. Although it is not possible to cover everything here – from effective measurement to the intelligent application of technology and the use of data, improved contact centre performance could just be a few “habits” away.