6 Trends in Contact Center Efficiency
Creating and sustaining a highly efficient contact center benefits everyone — agents, customers, and your company. Efficiency eliminates redundancy and downtime, enhances employee engagement, and increases the ability to provide customer service. Increasing efficiency at your center is as simple as taking a closer look at a few contact center trends.
Customers Love Self-Service
As long as they don’t get trapped in a never-ending game of voice-mail tag, the trend of providing more self-service options for customers is expected to continue. Modern interactive voice response systems (IVRs) are frequently able to gather enough information to resolve a customer issue without using an agent’s time.
Customers still want the option of speaking to an agent if needed, but most would much rather resolve it by punching a few numbers on their keypads as opposed to talking to a stranger. Self-service has the added advantage of being much less expensive than using an agent. This doesn’t mean that the call center agent is going away, it just increases the volume of calls that each center can effectively handle.
Infrastructure Moving to the Cloud
The use of cloud-based systems for call center management will continue to grow this year and is projected to generate a gross revenue of $155 billion. Cloud-based systems have many advantages over on-premise hardware, including lower upfront costs, the ability to scale, minimal downtime, and seamless implementation of upgrades.
Cloud-based call centers have about a third less downtime than centers that host their own hardware. The cloud not only provides real-time data at the click-of-a-mouse, it also uses far less electricity to operate than an in-house server system. Because some cloud systems charge based on use, you’re able to budget more accurately and invest in other parts of your business.
Virtual Agents Provide Scalable Manpower
The use of home-based call center agents allows a call center manager to be more flexible with scheduling and provide enough manpower to handle heavy traffic volume. Because of the appeal of working from home, turnover with virtual agents is generally as much as 50 percent less than agents who work at a call center. Virtual agents also handle more calls per hour than in-house agents, making home-based workers an attractive option for the modern call center.
Multiple Communication Channels Attractive
Studies show that people don’t enjoy talking to strangers, so the more a call center can employ e-mail, web chat, and self-service options, the happier consumers are going to be. Alternative communication methods now make up 30 percent of all consumer interaction. Customers can initiate issue resolution in one form of communication, such as e-mail, and then resolve the problem in another. Web-based alternatives are especially expected to continue to grow.
Modern cloud-based call management systems provide the latest in legal compliance. Manual dialing and manually approved calling allow experienced agents to override automatic dialers and keep the calls within legal boundaries. Cell phone scrub technology is a standard outbound feature that identifies and cancels calls heading for cell phones. As compliance laws continue to evolve, cloud-based technology will keep centers ahead of the curve.
First Call Resolution a Key Metric
Call center managers will continue to emphasize first call resolution as an important metric that goes a long way toward determining the productivity of a facility. Not only do customers want their problems solved with one call, it’s also the best use of an agent’s time. Call centers will continue to have senior agents monitoring phone calls with the ability to barge in and help when necessary. Call monitoring will continue to create teaching opportunities to help new agents become more effective.
By keeping an ear out for the latest and greatest in call center technology, even the most efficient contact center can make improvements in that can deliver the best service across the board and have customers, agents and the company reap the benefits.
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