When the world changes around us, how do we react? How do we plan for inevitable change?
As the rate of business change continues to accelerate, there are profound implications for contact centers. Some of the relevant trends we see today include:
- Rapid shift from retail box purchases to online commerce
- Customer expectations rising, based on day-to-day predictive interactions
- Technology disruption and integration, with IVR and learning technologies
This transition turbulence is causing certain organizations to take their eye off the customer experience ball. 11 of 19 industries recently saw their customer experience scores drop for the first time in five years. Let that sink in for a moment; how is it possible that things are getting worse instead of better? Perhaps it’s because the business environment has changed, but many contact centers are playing by an old set of rules. The time for iterative improvement is over. The time for transformation is here.
If you have not begun or nurtured a significant transformation in the last 18 months, where might you start? Our research and insights indicate that there are a few high-impact areas:
1. Communicate an inclusive and motivating purpose
Consider how your contact center contributes to the business enterprise and more specifically how your agents contribute to customers’ lives. Provide a purpose that inspires employees to serve a greater good. Telecommunications contact centers might communicate how they “connect family and friends in times of need” instead of “we solve technical problems”.
2. Develop and communicate fewer, high-impact measures
Most contact centers are swimming in operational metrics that may not contribute to improved customer experiences and revenue growth. Fewer metrics should be communicated, to develop a tighter sight line to the customer experience. Many easy-to-measure ratios either distract or conflict with the ultimate focus. Just because you can measure it, it does not mean it is important.
3. Start developing your next generation of super-agents
Consider what your exemplar agents sound like today and what they will need to do more effectively in a multi-channel, technologically-advanced environment. As you frame and compare the skills and behaviors of today vs. what will be needed tomorrow, you will discern significant opportunities to select and develop a different cut of agent (counselor).
To bring these elements together, you may want to develop a road map to a more modern or contemporary contact center. This should include a new workflow model, supported by an integrated amalgam of progressive technologies, and higher-order capabilities for autonomous problem-solvers.
Do you feel the end is near, or do you see glimmers of sunlight on the horizon? In either case, it is probably time to pick up the pace and to transform, not iterate or evolve.
Watch for more information in these areas as we post new blogs with helpful insights.
To learn more about PDG’s point-of-view on Contact Center Transformation, visit our Contact Center page.
Ed Holinski is Senior Director, Solution Strategy and Development for Performance Development Group.