16 Things Your Contact Centre Might Be Getting Wrong


Here our panel of experts share 16 things that many contact centres are getting wrong and suggest some solutions.

1. Failing to Calibrate Quality

Advisor engagement is one of the biggest challenges contact centres face today. Often a root cause is the lack of advisor participation in the quality monitoring process.

Many contact centres struggle to combat the perception from its advisors that quality is something that is “done to them”, and is at times, unfairly scored.

A quick win is to encourage advisors to take part in the calibration process. Some already recognise the benefits of aligning quality assessors in the quality process, but how can advisors be fully immersed in quality if they do not truly understand how a call is scored, and what ‘great’ sounds like?

Reg Dutton

Reg Dutton

Advisor calibration sessions help to overcome this challenge by making them the quality assessor, enabling the team to understand first-hand how a contact is scored, and what the Quality Assurance (QA) team is listening for.

Another interesting idea is to install a forum where quality analysts and advisors can share ideas, which helps to break down the ‘them and us’ mentality. Having an active forum like this may also help to improve levels of service and engagement at the same time.

Thanks to Reg Dutton at EvaluAgent

2. Failing to Recognise the Importance of the Advisor Experience

Crafting a rewarding advisor experience doesn’t necessarily need heavy strategising or overhauling of the contact centre’s policies. Too many contact centres think like this and consequently don’t do enough to improve the advisor experience.

Nour Addine Ayyoub

Nour Addine Ayyoub

So, ensure advisors know how important they are to the business. From the time they join, make sure they are welcomed and well integrated into the team. Bring new recruits up to speed with the company’s values, culture and internal policies, while acknowledging their value through coaching and training. Finally, reward the team through motivation and incentives.

What’s also important is to consider how often more senior staff members engage with the whole team. Nothing is as unsatisfying as feeling like you’re at the bottom of the food chain.

Just remember to treat advisors as important, valued members of the company and you’ll never go wrong.

Thanks to Nour Addine Ayyoub at Zailab

3. Using Reactive Intraday Management Processes

A vast majority of contact centres are not engaged in real-time management on a day-to-day basis.  Instead, they are on the back foot, reacting to crises, whether it be fighting a low service level or struggling to drive up productivity.

While many have become extremely good at reacting – through the application of workload, resource-heavy manual processes and mundane queue micro-management – they are still responding to, and not managing, intraday performance.

David Preece

David Preece

Keeping this in mind, let’s have a look at some key principles for managing intraday performance:

  • Create a proactive view of the day ahead – have a view of the latest supply and demand position as early in the day as possible and use this to guide decisions
  • Refresh this view regularly – regular re-forecasts make sure that the contact centre is always in possession of the latest view
  • Ensure quick and effective communication – mass emails or pop-ups can quickly and easily tell advisors that their schedule has changed
  • Maintain up-to-date schedules – don’t put off those workforce management (WFM) updates until later! Updating schedules now keeps the contact centre view of the day up to date

Some of this can be achieved using technology that is readily available in most contact centres, but intraday automation tools can also be useful to fully automate key processes and take ownership of the day.

Thanks to David Preece at QStory

4. Lowering Productivity by Not Using the Most Appropriate Channels

Just because a customer chose to contact you on one channel doesn’t mean you have to respond to them the same way.

Use channel shift to ‘meet’ customers on their chosen channel and take them to where you want them to be. For example, you can shift inbound calls to outbound text messages or emails, which provide callers with a fast way to get the answer they need. This might be a link to your website where they can self-serve.

This ensures staff are only dealing with contacts that can’t be helped another way. This will optimise the workload and help to reduce queues, so everyone is happy.

Ken Reid

Ken Reid

If you’re replying to text-based inbound messages that are more complex, it’s often quicker and more useful to the customer if you channel shift to phone. The written word does not have the same nuances as speech and can be misinterpreted – dangerous if you’re dealing with customer issues.

So, before you continue using those channels, make sure you have a channel shift strategy in place to make the best use of them.

Thanks to Ken Reid at Rostrvm Solutions

5. Failing to Remove Avoidable, Mundane Tasks

Unfortunately, in contact centres, even the smallest things can cause an employee’s attention and energy levels to flag. This is where automating repetitive tasks becomes important.

By automating tasks like data entry, calculations and order processing, advisors are free to spend more time speaking with customers, taking on more challenging types of queries.

Adding variety to the advisor role helps to eliminate errors due to employee fatigue and keeps employees engaged with their jobs.

Ed Creasey

Adding variety to the advisor role helps to eliminate errors due to employee fatigue and keeps employees engaged with their jobs.

EE, the UK’s largest mobile network provider, has automated 32 processes across a wide variety of process types, realising a saving of over 1,000 hours per month in automations alone.

6. Scheduling in an Inefficient Way

The rise of the gig economy has given workers more freedom than ever to set their own schedules. Organisations are also able to meet peak customer demand through advisor incentives.

Ed Creasey

Ed Creasey

Taking this into consideration, offering employees personalised scheduling options can make the whole process more efficient, while giving the team the ability to change their own schedules can enable better coverage.

For example, Metro Bank – a rapidly growing United Kingdom-based challenger bank – introduced a new workforce management solution to support its UK operations. As a result, there’s an expected 11% increase in service levels.

Thanks to Ed Creasey at NICE

7. Misusing Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Many companies are implementing AI technology as a separate channel within their customer journey. This further complicates and exacerbates what should be simple omnichannel customer service.

As the number of chatbots and virtual advisors grows, so does the number of failed projects and frustrated customers.

Many simple customer service tasks lend themselves well to automation, but, as customers ask increasingly complex questions, how can contact centres ensure that they are delivering the empathy and expertise required to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction? Too many AI projects fail as they are deployed in isolation of the contact centre.

Susannah Richardson

Yet there is no single right answer to what is required to deliver a seamless integration of automated and assisted customer service.

So, contact centres should consider taking on a staged approach to AI-powered technologies such as chatbots. This involves gathering data from FAQs and live chat conversations, so that bots can learn the different ways the same questions can be asked and what the best responses are etc.

Thanks to Susannah Richardson at IFS | mplsystems

8. Measuring the Wrong Things

Traditional ways of measuring success, using such metrics as Average Handling Time (AHT), are becoming increasingly outdated – but many businesses persist in using them.

Jeremy Payne

Traditional ways of measuring success, using such metrics as Average Handling Time (AHT) and the number of calls each advisor manages to process during the day, are becoming increasingly outdated – but many businesses persist in using them.

In the digital age, with more interactions passed through self-service channels, those engagements handled by advisors are typically more complex, as well as sensitive and emotionally driven. The measurement tools businesses use today need to recognise that shift.

Jeremy Payne

This is where certain metrics may start to become more mainstream in the contact centre, such as Net Emotional Value (NEV), while the tools used to measure them will also grow in sophistication.

For example, technologies like real-time speech analytics (RTSA) is being increasingly used by organisations looking to assess how customers, and the advisors who are interacting with them, are feeling. So, whether they are happy, or agitated, or whether they want an answer quickly.

Thanks to Jeremy Payne at Enghouse Interactive

9. Routing Callers to Any Available Advisor

Very often callers are sent to the first available advisor without taking into consideration what their needs are and if the advisor will be able to solve it in the first place.

Contact centres can improve overall customer experience and First Call Resolution (FCR) by ensuring callers are routed to the most appropriate advisor though their automatic contact distributor (ACD).

Call routing done well can also allow the organisation to expand its workforce to any location and remove geographical restrictions.

Atiq Rehman

In addition, by implementing an omnichannel ACD, such as CXOne, organisations can increase satisfaction with personalised interactions based on the customer’s needs. This is achieved by automating routine interactions and ensuring agents are getting calls they can handle efficiently and comfortably.

Call routing done well can also allow the organisation to expand its workforce to any location and remove geographical restrictions.

10. Selecting Random Calls for Quality Monitoring

Random selection of calls remains the preferred method for quality monitoring and evaluation for many contact centres. However, this leads to a high risk of missing out on important information and drawing the wrong conclusions.

Atiq-Rehman

Atiq Rehman

It’s difficult to understand how advisors perform on a daily basis, and basing their entire review and training plan on three or four calls will not be the most effective a method of doing so.

Contact centres can improve monitoring with a speech analytics system where 100% of calls are automatically monitored and flagged based on selected criteria. This means that the right calls can be selected and the right training can be put in place.

Thanks to Atiq Rehman at Business Systems

11. Failing to Keep Pace With Changing Customer Behaviours

In today’s world, customers are almost always online, often on their smartphones or tablets. They expect to be able to communicate with the contact centre using a channel that works best for them – whether that’s by phone, webchat, email or self-service. And, with all of these methods, they expect a fast, effective and consistent response.

So, it is useful to understand what each customer’s preferred methods of communication are and to make sure that they can be delivered.

However, West Unified Communications research suggests that legacy-based systems are not able to keep pace with an increasingly digital-savvy and demanding customer base. In fact, the research highlighted that 64% of consumers think that companies are too focused on customer service which works for them, rather than the one that works best for the consumer.

Failure to provide the right methods of communication to your customers will likely result in an increase in frustrated customers. This point strengthens the case for moving to the cloud.

12. Not Driving Down Repeat Calls

Around 30% of all customers report spending a high level of effort to resolve their problem, according to CEB.

One of the biggest drivers of repeat contacts is customers picking up the phone because their first attempt to solve an issue using another channel was unsuccessful, meaning a customer has already had a poor customer experience.

Also, having a bad FCR can result in confusion among advisors, who may not have access to details of previous customer interactions, which can significantly lengthen the time it takes to deal with the issue.

One solution to improve FCR would be to ensure that all contact centre channels are integrated.

Enda Kenneally

One solution to improve FCR would be to ensure that all contact centre channels are integrated, so that advisors have access to every previous communication, regardless of the channel used. This information can also be used to ensure that more problems are resolved first time.

13. Spending Too Long on Identification Processes

Another cause for customer frustration is the long customer identification processes, which can ultimately undermine any effort that is made to personalise customer experiences.

Enda Kenneally

Enda Kenneally

West Unified Communications found that CLID (Caller Line Identification) is best for voice calls to identify the caller immediately by their telephone number and bypass potentially time-consuming data entry within IVR menus.

This method also gives contact centres the option to route the caller directly to the appropriate advisor or team to best deal with their enquiry. Using this tactic alone can save callers up to thirty seconds per call.

Thanks to Enda Kenneally at West Unified Communications

14. Using Self-Service Only as a Way to Reduce Contact Volumes

By simply using self-service to reduce call volumes, contact centres may not be getting the most out of the channel.

So, think about focusing on any existing self-service assets and look for opportunities to improve their value. Why not publish answers to the most frequently asked questions on the company website or provide a live chat facility for straightforward enquiries?

Mashud Ahmed

Mashud Ahmed

Secondly, to maximise the value of IVR self-service, consider the use of speech recognition technology to bring a human element to IVR.  Customers can make voice calls round the clock using this form of self-service.

Remember, a sound self-service strategy is good for the team and the business alike. Advisors have more time to handle complex or sensitive enquiries and they can even use self-service in certain workforce management (WFM) solutions to highlight their work preferences, resulting in lower administrative costs and greater advisor morale.

Thanks to Mashud Ahmed at Puzzel

15. Guessing What the Customer Journey Looks Like

To provide the best possible experience for customers, many companies have now taken to creating a customer journey map.

Frank Sherlock

To provide the best possible experience for customers, many companies have now taken to creating a customer journey map.

While this can be a long process, doing so provides organisations with great insight into the emotions that customers feel at each “touchpoint” and they can then modify their service to best suit the needs of the customer.

To take the greater insight into the customer journey, using interaction analytics can also be useful as it allows the contact centre to individually analyse every interaction each customer has along their “journey”.

16. Neglecting Compliance Risks

Contact centres are subject to various regulatory requirements and non-compliance can be both risky and costly. What many contact centres will be getting wrong is not ensuring that all advisors adhere to essential processes and scripts that comply with legislation and directives.

Frank Sherlock

This point becomes especially significant in light of legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or new MiFID rules, which bring the risk of huge fines. So, non-compliance is not an option.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply ask advisors to be more careful. Technologies such as interaction analytics can prove useful by monitoring and analysing every interaction, as it reduces risk by making compliance easier and more efficient.

Thanks to Frank Sherlock at CallMiner

Have you noticed something that many contact centres get wrong? And can you suggest any quick fixes?

If so, please share them with us in the comments section below.


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