Contact Centres Get No Respect: Make Them Strategic Business Hubs

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Filed under - Industry Insights,

Valur Svansson of Lifesize discusses the benefits of repositioning the contact centre.

First and foremost, I’d like to open 2021 by extending an immense amount of gratitude to every single person who tuned in for an episode of Customer Experience in the Cloud as we got it off the ground down the stretch in 2020.

And now, new year, new topical mini-series! For the next six episodes or so, we’re going to cover how contact centres can prove their value as (or in some cases, transform into) the strategic hub of your business.

Which is to say that, today, they aren’t perceived that way or often taken seriously as a profit centre rather than a cost centre. As the legendary Rodney Dangerfield said it best, “[We] get no respect.”

Consider the results of this survey conducted by  Call Centre Helper:

A graph showing how contact centres are perceived by organisations

To check out the report from which this graph came from, just follow the link:  What Contact Centres Are Doing Right Now (2019 Edition)

Nearly 30 percent of business leaders see the contact centre as a valueless cost centre that the organization has to pour money into?

And 14 percent call it a necessary evil? Really… evil?!

3 percent even going so far as to claim that their contact centre is a nuisance?

That’s not a great outlook. But perception isn’t always the same as reality, thankfully. You just have to know how to operate and position the contact centre as a strategic business hub.

Delivering Value to the Organization

Few would argue that the customer journey supports the business strategically and directly impacts revenue. The contact centre is the customer’s central lifeline to your brand, and if you don’t deliver a premier customer journey through your contact centre, they’ll drop you like a New Year’s resolution.

In fact, a third of customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after just one poor experience.

On the flipside, your contact centre agents have the opportunity to increase customer lifetime value (CLV) and encourage organic growth from the net effect of every interaction.

In this pandemic-challenged day and age, beyond your website, the contact centre may be the only touchpoint a customer ever has with your brand.

Whether you’re an insurance firm providing a coverage quote, a retailer helping a customer complete a purchase or a utilities company quelling a customer’s technical issue that has them teetering on the precipice of dropping service, the contact centre agents who address customer issues have the power to impact revenue and brand loyalty.

As such, executives should consider their contact centre to be a long-term, revenue-generating, sustainable investment in the current and future growth of their organization.

To successfully deliver value to the business, here are some pointers that I covered in more depth during this week’s live stream:

  • Focus on quality, not speed.
  • Ensure 24/7 customer service availability.
  • Prioritize joined-up service across channels.
  • Anticipate the customer’s needs.
  • Stop viewing the customer as transactional; make the human connection, even if that means providing a path to bypass automation.

The 3 Key Takeaways

So now that the organization is deriving value from the contact centre, how do you demonstrate that value?

Here are three takeaways that should help:

  1. Define the economic value of your contact centre — How much revenue are you generating (or saving) for the business? How have you lessened your cost to serve over time using technology?
  2. Learn to build business models that demonstrate impact on the broader organization’s success — Frankly, no one cares what you do for the sake of contact centre success. Everyone cares about what you do for the sake of the broader business’ success.
  3. Move your contact centre to the cloud — Full stop. Save on operational costs and reinvest a portion of that money in new technologies — including AI, chatbots, speech analytics and contact analytics — that improve customer and agent experiences rather than inhibit them.
A headshot of Valur Svannson

Valur Svansson

Not only is it your job to provide excellent service to the customer, but it is also to serve as an advocate for the contact centre to demonstrate its value to the broader business, so that you can garner the investment you need to deploy technologies that compound said value.

In upcoming episodes, we’ll dive into some of those integral and emergent technologies and related cost/benefit analysis, to help you command the respect you deserve.

For more from Valur regarding how contact centres get no respect, check out the video below:

Author: Guest Author

Published On: 16th Feb 2021 - Last modified: 17th Feb 2021
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