Monday, January 5, 2015

Guest Post: Call Center Trends of 2015

By: CJ Silva

It may be hard to believe, but 2015 is almost here. In anticipation of the New Year, many call centers have already begun implementing new policies and procedures that will maximize their performance for many years to come with the help of call center analytics.

As always, the focus is on improving customer satisfaction, increasing agent productivity and reducing overhead. However, in 2015, we’ll see contact centers place an increased emphasis on using technology to meet callers’ specific needs and preferences. This may sound easier said than done, but it is possible. To get the most out of your contact center, start incorporating these call center trends of 2015.

Striking a balance between phone calls and self-service systems.
Automated services have become much more common over the years and it’s easy to see why. Callers can use the automated system to take care of common inquiries rather than waiting on hold for half an hour only to resolve their issue in five minutes. For this reason alone many people prefer to use automated services.

Contact centers also benefit from self-service systems. Because phone lines and agents are not tied up with simple, easy-to-fix issues, they can devote more time to complicated inquiries or particularly disgruntled callers. This improves customer satisfaction as well as agent productivity, a perfect two-birds-with-one-stone situation.

Communicating with callers across multiple platforms. Contact centers are not limited to phone calls to interact with callers nowadays. Chats, video calls, and mobile apps have all been shown to be effective ways to communicate with customers and resolve issues.

Multi-platform services give callers the freedom to use multiple avenues of communication to connect with contact centers. Not everyone likes being on the phone, and most people would rather not spend an unspecified amount of time on hold waiting for an available agent. Fortunately, with new technology, callers can reach your contact center at the time that works best for them over the medium they prefer. Multi-platform services also improve agent efficiency by reducing complaints and increasing customer satisfaction.

Increased use of cloud storage. In addition to making it easier than ever to share information with customers and other contact centers, cloud storage can also help reduce your overhead by eliminating the need for large IT departments and servers that require space and a constant supply of electricity. Cloud storage is particularly useful if you have more than one location or employ virtual agents.

Improved identification and verification processes. Many current I&V processes are estimated to make up nearly 20% of all call times. For example, in a twenty minute call, that mean would that four minutes were spent verifying a customer’s identity – far too long. To streamline your contact center, you want to make sure agents are making the most out of their calls without wasting valuable time on inefficient processes.

In 2015, we will see an increased use of biometric technology to identify and verify customers. Fingerprint scanners on mobile apps and voice identification on phone calls are two popular options that many companies are working towards implementing. Simplifying I&V procedures will allow agents to spend more of their time attending to customers’ inquiries without reducing the number of calls they take. It’s a win-win situation for both contact centers and their callers!

Greater reliance on real-time metrics and agent reports. It’s easier now than it has ever been to collect data about people’s likes, dislikes, habits, and relationships. As a result, advanced metrics are being used in everything from sports analysis to psychology.

Incorporating advanced metrics into your contact center will give you greater insight into all of its moving parts in real-time, enabling call centers to direct specific calls and inquiries to the agents that are best-suited to handle them. This allows contact centers to utilize their agents’ specific skills to increase agent productivity while improving overall caller satisfaction. Advanced metrics can even be used to assess agents’ specific weak spots and re-train them accordingly rather than rehashing information with which they are already familiar.

With all of this in mind, perhaps you should consider implementing some of these practices at your call center. A new year is a great time for a fresh start, so start planning today! 

CJ Silva is VP of Operations at KOVA Corporation.

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