Christmas brings consequences. All that excess and over-indulgence has to be paid for – and for any business, New Year is the ideal time to tighten belts, lose bad habits and knock your contact centre back into shape.
Many customer-facing organisations, wrestling with the aftermath of the festive splurge, recognise January as the perfect time to put in place a new fitness regime. But it’s not always easy. They often have a lot on their plate. Consumers buy far more in December than in any other month and once the holiday is over and the bills come in, they get in touch with business through a contact centre to haggle over credit card payments. That will be more pronounced this year as more people buy online and dispute the often unfamiliar names they see on their January statements.
Others have been paid early in December and, worried about servicing their debts, see disputing payments as a way of extending credit terms. This kind of customer engagement is typically complex and your contact centre needs to be on the top of their game to deal with it.
Here are some simple steps you can take to shed the bad habits and get your contact centre fighting fit:
- Give up the bloated behaviours of the past-
Businesses need to be wary of the bloated behaviours and practices of the past – large teams of contact centre agents exclusively focused on old school measurements like average handle time, for example, will inevitably drive the wrong kind of behaviour and won’t result in happier customers!
- Streamline your processes and offer mechanisms for customer to self-serve
Businesses will often need a fresh start for a fresh year – which may be achieved either by giving agents chopped down procedures to work through, for example, or, by streamlining the process through a self-service mechanism that helps customers get what they need quickly and easily.
- Detox and overhaul your operations
Of course, it’s not all about Christmas. January is always a great time of year to get a broad perspective on what worked and what did not over the previous 12 months. Many contact centres are likely to take the view that they need a complete refresh of their operations to ensure they are delivering an optimum level of service that meets the needs of their customers as efficiently and effectively as possible.
- Make sure you have the right tools to support your diet
That is likely to mean striking the right balance between assisted and self-service, and empowering customers to engage through a range of channels including mobile communications devices. It also means giving agents the tools and information they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. This might involve knowledge management, upskilling agents in real-time to ensure they are able to competently cover a broader range of issues or product areas, for example.
- Support and work together on the diet plan across the entire business
Increasingly, too, it will be about enabling the connected enterprise, ensuring they have the systems and processes in place to route customers through to members of staff who understand their problem and their needs and can answer their questions quickly and efficiently.
- Track your contact centre diet plan
It is also important that businesses are measuring their performance. That may involve real-time monitoring of contact centre agents but also collecting metrics that effectively deliver information like net promoter scores, or first call or first contact resolution.
Finally, it is also likely to involve making New Year resolutions around being more proactive and more personable – and keeping them by supporting outbound notifications based on customer interests and choices of communication channels, saying thank you for business done and maintaining continuous contact with prospects and customers alike.
Christmas and its aftermath can be a challenging period for businesses but the New Year can be a time of great opportunity prompting organisations to ensure their operations are fit for purpose, that they cut out the bad habits and get on track to deliver optimum customer service levels. Have you created your contact centre diet plan yet?
By Jeremy Payne, International Group Marketing Director, Enghouse Interactive