Dec. 1, 2014 | InBrief

Contact center transformation: From strategy to inception

Contact center transformation: From strategy to inception

West Monroe's High Performance Contact Center team recently conducted a half-day workshop at the ICMI Contact Center Demo and Conference in Chicago.  We demonstrated how you can transform your contact center from the ground up – from organizational design, to reworking operations and strategy, to the technology and processes that support your goals.  Attendees learned how to develop a roadmap by prioritizing and executing key initiatives.  We shared insights on best practices and lessons learned, as well as a structured approach that can be utilized to transform the customer experience in your own center.

Determine Your Direction A strategy that is comprehensive and aligned to the business will drive your plan to achieve a positive customer experience. We use a four-step approach to complete an analysis of your contact center and develop a plan.

Step 1. Start by assessing the current state of your contact center across six key capabilities: strategy, business processes, technology, performance management, people development and organizational design. It’s important to keep in mind how each capability can drive a positive customer experience. It’s also beneficial to do some benchmarking to see how you compare to other companies in your industry.

Step 2. Partner with your colleagues to determine how mature you want to be in three years for each of the six key capabilities. West Monroe uses a Contact Center Maturity Model that can be leveraged for this exercise. You need to think about expected changes in your industry, budgeting and resourcing practically and desire for competitive differentiation.

Step 3. Identify a list of initiatives to bridge the gap between your current state and your future state and then prioritize them based on expected feasibility, impact and benefit.

Step 4. Create a Contact Center Improvement Roadmap that considers dependencies between the initiatives as well as resource and financial feasibility. A cross-functional, collaborative approach is the best foundation to developing a practical and actionable Contact Center Roadmap. Key factors include: executive leadership engagement and support, aligned and engaged IT and business stakeholders, and strong communication and collaboration.

Know Your People Having the right people in the right places with the rights skills is the foundation for quality customer experience. Start by ensuring that you have accurate job descriptions and are recruiting based on the attributes you need to be successful. Once you’ve onboarded the right people, make sure you train them for success. Once they are on out the floor, make sure your expectations are clear and that you provide regular feedback via quality monitoring and other performance measurement systems. Take a look at your supervisor to staff ratios to ensure supervisors have time to provide regular feedback and coaching. Make sure that you have leads in place to provide technical support and provide backup for supervisors. Developing and communicating attainable career paths with improve retention and employee engagement Last but not least, make sure your floor is setup in a way that will drive team collaboration and high performance.

Know Your Technology Business processes should drive technology to create a platform to make agents’ jobs easier and customers’ experiences better. One exercise we leverage to identify opportunities for technology improvements is Customer Effort Scoring (CES). CES is vital to gauging overall customer experience and can be measured by interacting with the organization across all channels. The results for the CES assessment help you identify areas that require a high level of customer effort. Of the customers who reported low effort, only 1% said they would speak negatively about the company. Conversely, 81% of the customers who had a hard time solving their problems reported an intention to spread negative word of mouth. “When it comes to service, companies create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily.” (Harvard Business Review - August 2010).  Targeting technology improvements at those high customer effort areas will significantly improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Know Your Customer Data driven agent performance is the key to success for a high quality customer experience. To understand the trends related to the customer experience, key performance indicators (KPIs) need to be determined and reviewed regularly to develop continuous improvement plans. Traditionally, measures of success have included metrics such as average call length, average speed of answer, percent of calls answered within a certain time, and abandonment rates. While these metrics are useful and widely understood, there are better metrics that more broadly measure the true success of your contact center. We believe some of the most impactful metrics include customer satisfaction (high loyalty/low effort), call quality, first call resolution (FCR), cost per call and revenue generation (if applicable). Our approach to Contact Center Transformation will help you create a strategy to enhance customer experience from any customer touch point. We provide companies with the tools needed to move customers from a satisfied to loyal and delighted. If you would like to learn more about our approach, please contact us.

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