With growing fears of an economic recession, contact centers are looking for ways to keep costs down while maintaining high-quality service. Here are five strategies to help you do just that.
In light of slowing economic growth in the U.S., many companies are looking for ways to cut costs – and unfortunately that means more layoffs and pay freezes. But those tactics are only necessary when all other efforts fail. Especially for contact centers, where keeping customers happy is the top priority (and fuels your business), what are your other options?
Let’s look at five methods of driving efficiency.
5 Contact Center Strategies for Improving Efficiency
1. Implement AI and Automation
If your contact center isn’t using artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance its operations, now’s a good time to start. AI involves developing algorithms and computer programs that can analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns and insights, and make predictions or decisions based on that information. In a contact center, AI helps to automate manual processes and provide better insight into customer behavior.
Examples of contact center AI include:
- Chatbots handle routine customer inquiries, such as checking account balances, scheduling appointments and resolving common issues. That can help reduce the workload of human agents and provide faster and more accurate responses to customers.
- Voice assistants interact with customers over the phone and assist with various tasks, such as placing orders and checking product availability.
- Predictive analytics can analyze customer data to identify patterns and trends, such as the reasons for frequent calls, the most common issues and the customers who are most likely to churn. This information can help contact center managers make data-driven decisions to improve customer service and reduce costs.
- Sentiment analysis can examine customer interactions to detect emotions such as frustration or anger. This can help identify areas where the contact center needs to improve and can also be used to trigger alerts to human agents when a customer is in distress.
These types of AI can improve the speed and accuracy of customer interactions while reducing costs for your contact center.
2. Embrace Omnichannel Communication
Usually, a customer will contact your contact center with a question or problem. So, you want to make it easy for them to get in touch and resolve their inquiry quickly. That’s why it helps to offer multiple ways to communicate with your contact center. These channels can include:
- Social media
- Messaging apps
An omnichannel approach can help your contact center provide a seamless customer experience across all channels, increasing customer happiness while keeping your agents informed for every interaction.
3. Invest in Agent Training and Development
Your contact center agents are on the frontline of customer service. Therefore, you should equip them with the knowledge, skills and tools to handle a wide range of customer issues quickly and effectively.
Ongoing training and development programs can help agents be more impactful, which improves the customer experience. When agents can handle more customer inquiries faster, it reduces wait times and can lead to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and repeat business. Plus, efficient agents can handle more calls per hour, which helps to reduce costs and increase revenue for your contact center.
4. Leverage Analytics and Data
Your contact center collects big data, which refers to the large and complex data sets generated by customer interactions and operational processes. With the right analytics tools, you can use this data to gain valuable insights into customer behavior, agent performance and operational efficiency, which you can leverage to make your contact center more efficient.
For example, every interaction between a customer and an agent creates data. By collecting and analyzing this data, you can identify patterns in customer preferences, common issues they face and overall satisfaction levels. With this information, you can determine areas for improvement, leading to more effective interactions and a better customer experience.
You can also analyze this data to see where your agents may need additional training or support and areas where they are performing well. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is a great place to start because it gives you an inside look into how your agents and contact center are performing. With tangible goals in place, your agents can better understand the marks they need to meet, and your contact center can provide them with the training and tools they need to get there.
5. Incorporate CTI Technology
Computer telephony integration (CTI) technology integrates a contact center’s telephone and computer systems, enabling agents to access customer data and call controls directly from their desktop computers.
This kind of solution can help your agents handle customer interactions more efficiently and effectively. For example, when a customer calls, the CTI system can automatically identify the caller and retrieve relevant information, such as their account history or previous interactions with your company. This information is then displayed on the agent’s computer screen, allowing them to quickly access and view the customer’s information during the call, making the experience easier for both the customer and the agent.
CTI technology also enables agents to perform call control functions directly from their computers, such as transferring calls, putting callers on hold and initiating conference calls. This streamlines call handling and improves the overall productivity of the contact center.
In these uncertain times, contact centers want to fortify their operations while keeping their customers happy. Consider increasing the efficiency of your contact center, which you can accomplish with these five strategies. While some strategies may require some upfront investment, the return will follow.