As consumers continue to gravitate towards alternative digital touch points such as online knowledge bases, social media, and web chat for customer service, many contact centers have unsurprisingly experienced a noticeable shift in the volume and nature of their calls. In fact, according to the 2016 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, contact centers have seen a 13.2% decrease in call volume in the past year. And while a transition to lower cost alternatives certainly helps improve an organization’s bottom line and customer experience, it also presents the call center with its own unique set of challenges—increased call complexity, to be specific.
According to a recent survey, most consumers preferred to use the company website or email to resolve simple inquiries, but the overwhelming majority preferred speaking to a real person over the phone for “more complex” or “difficult” ones. While potentially more efficient, this ongoing shift will require a number of technological and operational changes to ensure service quality can be maintained.
How to prepare for increased call complexity:
1) Hire the right individuals, and allocate resources appropriately: With consumers using different touch points to address different types of inquiries, it is important to ensure the right personnel are in place to support each. For instance, if the inquiries coming through the phone are more complex, supervisors should ensure the individuals answering calls are highly technical and trained. But for those “simpler” inquiries through email, chat, social media, or other digital touch points, less technical and less expensive resources could be utilized.
2) Integrate all customer service channels: It is also important to ensure the right technology is in place to handle customer service inquiries—only 15.6% of respondents say their digital technology will meet their future needs. One of the main problems is that channels are often disjointed, and it becomes unclear who owns, oversees, and manages each. But by utilizing an advanced multichannel communications platform, which integrates all customer service channels (social media, phone, email, web chat) within a single platform, businesses can ensure all inquiries are routed into the contact center and addressed by the appropriate individual.
3) Involve the contact center in the design of digital CX solutions: Businesses often design new channels and technology in isolation with little to know involvement from contact center managers, despite the fact that it impacts their department tremendously. In fact, nearly half (46.4%) are excluded from, or are only partially involved in the design phase of new technology solutions for the contact center, and 56% have little to no involvement in solution approvals. Contact center personnel should be involved in the design and approval of anything customer facing, as it will eventually impact their department.
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