The Top Challenges Facing Contact Centers
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TMCNet once ran an article series about one of our sister companies, West Interactive, where President Skip Hanson discussed the top challenges that contact centers face. In the articles, he described some of these challenges and the ways in which West can transform the contact center experience, both from the perspective of the operator and the caller.
Top challenges contact center operators face:
- Being overwhelmed with day to day operations
- Being stuck with outdated equipment
- Experiencing fear when faced with the risk and expense of contact center transformation
Hanson offered solutions to help operators break through these potential road-blocks and get their contact centers on a path to running their operations smoothly.
5 Solutions to Contact Center Road Blocks
1. Ascertain Customer Requirements
"First," Hanson said, "a transformed contact center has the ‘right’ mix of customer engagement for its business.” For some companies, this means a focus on mobile, while for other companies, voice is still paramount. West seeks to understand the individual need of each company and tailor the program to suit those needs.
2. Optimize the Delivery of Solutions
Next, Hanson said that West will optimize the delivery of solutions that drive the necessary interactions. According to Hanson, this involves deciding “what’s right for the business operationally, technically, and financially, and then optimizing the delivery of the solutions around those aspects.”
3. Measure the Quality of Interactions
The third step in the process is measuring the quality of interactions. “[Utilizing] effective quality management and voice-of-the-customer programs to gain real-time, actionable customer feedback is critical in gauging the success of care programs,” Hanson said.
4. Have a Single Version of the Truth
Perhaps the most crucial step, according to Hanson, is to ensure that the transformed contact center has “a single version of the truth.” This means that the company has unified visibility into performance and cost of care operations across channels, centers, and the enterprise.
5. Consider Cloud-based Hosted Communications Solutions
Finally, one cannot discount the importance of the cloud. “We’re seeing unprecedented demands on IT organizations that are trying to keep up with the needs of the contact center while also being tapped to support more initiatives deemed closer to the core of the business,” Hanson said. “When you layer onto that the wave of end-of-life contact center technology and the wide adoption of emerging channels, you start to appreciate how cloud-based solutions can help ease those pressures and deliver business value faster.”
“Companies are increasingly discovering that it is not enough to maintain the status quo, but rather, in order to survive and thrive, they must transform their contact centers to focus on consumer-driven care.”
- Skip Hanson
Hanson's commentary on the challenges facing contact centers came in 2012. Are the challenges on this list still the same or are there different challenges facing today’s contact centers? A more recent study by Magnetic North (now a part of West) revealed the top five challenges call centers face in 2014 – according to a sampling of 100 call center managers.
5 New Challenges Facing Contact Centers
1. Managing the customer experience across multiple channels (44%)
This concern is still relevant and as Hanson stated in item 4 above, “companies should have unified visibility into performance and cost of care operations across channels, centers, and the enterprise”. West can provide tools to effectively manage customer requirements – across any environment.
2. Ensuring technology keeps pace with changing customer behavior (40%)
This is still a valid concern for contact center operators. West Cloud Contact and West Cloud Contact Pro offer contact center tools that remain technologically current since the equipment is part of the state-of-the-art hosted communications solutions at West.
3. Driving operational efficiency and cost savings (34%)
In item 2 from Hanson’s TCMNet series of articles, he emphasizes doing, “what’s right for the business operationally, technically, and financially, and then optimizing the delivery of the solutions around those aspects.” Cloud-based hosted communications solutions work to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs.
4. Developing agent skills-sets (31%)
Training and quality goals still remain a priority. As Hanson stated above, “[Utilizing] effective quality management and voice-of-the-customer programs to gain real-time, actionable customer feedback, is critical in gauging the success of care programs.” Our Contact Center solutions have sophisticated call routing capabilities to ensure that callers reach the resources best able to serve them. Advanced management tools can provide timely feedback to contact center managers that can help sculpt the training programs that will be most effective in their organizations.
5. Making the transition to a Cloud-based contact solution (28%)
This concern was addressed by Skip Hanson in his last point above. While migrating to a cloud-based hosted communications solution may seem daunting for many contact centers, “when you layer onto that the wave of end-of-life contact center technology and the wide adoption of emerging channels, you start to appreciate how cloud-based solutions can help ease those pressures and deliver business value faster.”
When partnered with an industry leader like West, moving to a cloud-based hosted communications solution can actually result in a group of products and services that alleviate all contact center concerns – both then, now, and in the future to come.