We have been to a lot of industry events in the past eight months… at least six, but probably more. With multiple members of our team at events in Orlando, Las Vegas, Austin, Chicago, and elsewhere, we feel like we’ve heard and seen it all. We got to observe--like flies on the walls--the shared pain points felt by everyone in the contact center industry.
Issues Keeping the Contact Center Up at Night
We want to reveal some of the recurring thoughts and ideas and offer insight as to how to make improvements as we move into a new year. No matter the location or the event, the topics that kept resurfacing included:
- Contact center culture
- Employee engagement & turnover
- Job flexibility
- Long hold times
- Balanced workload
- Handle time
- Tech for all channels
This list is long and quite telling. There are multiple pain points and all of them stand in the way of delivering the exceptional customer experience (CX) that everyone is chasing. So what can be done to improve these challenges? Lots! Here’s where to start...
Focus on Culture
Contact center culture is something we’ve talked about a lot. We’ve blogged about ways to improve contact center culture, offered advice on how collaboration tools empower agents to work together and discussed why trusting your employees to do the right thing can make a huge difference. If you want to really make long-lasting changes to your culture, you need to:
- Consistently work to create a positive environment.
- Hire the best people, the ones who believe in your mission, who want to learn and will bring their all to work each day.
- Ensure your people believe that you trust their instincts and knowledge enough to let them go off-script.
- Give people the technology that enables them to do their best.
Do all of this and we have no doubt that your culture will improve, employees will be more engaged, and turnover will be lower. Maybe this all sounds lofty, but it can be achieved one step at a time. Not only will your business benefit, but each and every customer served will too!
Unified Communications is Key
Job flexibility is becoming increasingly important and in-demand as millennials are slowly dominating the workforce. As the 9-to-5 workday and four-walled offices are fading, make sure you are prepared to effectively manage a remote workforce. Your employees want to work from anywhere, at any time, on any device, so unified communications (UC) must be part of your business communications technology. This type of technology is critical to ensure that all of your team members--near and very, very far--can communicate in real-time with complete ease.
A Smart Bot is a MUST
Long hold times should be a thing of the past. And sure, we’re making headway here. Instead of hold times, we’re often sent to bots to answer our easiest questions. However, not just any old bot will do. Here’s to hoping 2020 is the year more businesses embrace and deploy a smart bot.
A smart bot is one that uses Machine Learning (ML) to deliver top-notch emotion detection and data analysis capabilities, including sentiment and speech analysis. This is the type of functionality that will keep customers coming back time and time again--because these are the bots that do their jobs best! They use emotion detection to determine when a bot just isn’t enough and seamlessly routes that customer to the right agent, saving time and frustration. Just remember, humans and bots create a better CX together. Every call center should be putting bots powered by ML (and more) to work.
Plan Now to Shine in 2020
These three tips are a great place to start if you want to conquer some of the industry’s most common challenges in the coming year. But don’t stop there, you’ll want to help agents in every way possible, from better coaching and training to improving workflows to offering advanced call routing...and lots more! It all begins with having the right technology tools to empower the humans who will either make or break the CX, determining whether you’re cultivating a customer for life.
I’m excited to see how customer service evolves in 2020. As a customer, I’ve been waiting.