Easing Inflation and Recession Fears from the Contact Center

Welcome to the 2023 economy: the spring of hope and despair  

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Easing Inflation and Recession Fears from the Contact Center - CX Today News
Contact CentreInsightsNews Analysis

Published: April 27, 2023

John Flood

John Flood

You’d almost think that Charles Dickens was writing about us in his 1859 novel, “A Tale of Two Cities.” After all, his now famous quote about the uncertainties of mid-19th century Britain eerily echoes today.  

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity” . . . “we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.” 

Welcome Inflation. Hello Recession, My Old Friend

First was the pandemic, which immediately ignited remote work at scale.  

Then came post-pandemic, when most employees decided the office wouldn’t work for them like it once did.  

Then the supply chain disruptions, and now, the war in Ukraine.  

All of that is the perfect storm for inflation and recession fears. 

We’ve seen this movie before, but now it’s playing on a split screen. 

To paraphrase the 1960s hit song by Simon and Garfunkel, “Hello Darkness My Old Friend,” “Hello inflation my old friend, welcome recession once again.” 

Companies must confront this significantly complex economic landscape while simultaneously reducing risk and investment and remaining technologically relevant.  

That’s no small feat. 

“The economy is in uncertain times with contradictory indicators,” said Donna Fluss, CEO of DMG Consulting LLC, during a recent Calabrio webinar. “Inflation remains high, while there’s the possibility of a recession. It’s a strange combination.” 

“Depending on what newspapers you read, employment rates are either really high, or just where they need to be.” 

Welcome to the age of conundrums. 

The Uncertain CFO Casts an Eye on the Contact Center

In periods of uncertainty CFOs have one aim: conserve cash.  

“That impacts the investments they make, Fluss said. “They still invest because they have to invest. So, they look for rapid payback,” she explained. 

When it comes to the contact center, CFOs and IT managers focus on three goals:  

  • Deliver great CX.   
  • Improve productivity.  
  • Reduce costs.  

And do all that at once, in a hurry, please. 

Responding to a quick poll conducted during the Calabrio webinar, 49 percent of participants said their contact center goals for 2023 are to improve productivity, followed by 29 percent who aim for enhanced customer experience. 

So, the pressure is on to improve agent engagement and generate revenue like never before. That might seem contradictory in our age of conundrums. But those are the requirements that CFOs must invest in. 

No Matter How Sour, There’s Always a Sweet Spot

In periods of social and economic upheaval, there’s always a lot to lose. But once known, better to move to the gain mindset.  

After all, periods of turmoil mean fertile ground for new opportunities are on the horizon. Flux offers openings. That means profits. Focus on the potential gain. That requires flexibility, creativity, and willingness to invest.  

Six Things to Know Before Proposing a Technology Investment to the CFO

Since CFOs have slashed spending IT managers should consider the following CFO hot buttons: 

  1. The technology must have a tangible payback in three to six months: It’s hard to do but particular cloud-based investments (like Calabrio’s) help. 
  2. Include AI or automation. For instance, GPT-4 will deliver a significant impact quickly. And it won’t require more staff. 
  3. Make it easy to implement without outside consultants. 
  4. Make it new. Don’t make it a replacement. 
  5. Make it easy to build a strong use case. CFOs like relevant use cases. 
  6. CFOs are evaluated on what they do this year. Not in 18 to 24 months. 

Tools from Calabrio That Can Help Businesses Save Money

Interaction Analytics

Calabrio ONE is a suite of analytics tools that puts AI and machine learning tools in the hands of every user. There is no need to add expensive staff such as data scientists.  

It delivers usable, predictive insights within user workflows so contact center staff work smarter and faster.  

With Calabrio ONE, contact center teams can create a customer-centric engine that enhances contact center performance by combining voice-of-customer, voice-of-employee, and operational analytics tools.  

The results include improved customer experiences, engaging employee experiences, and contact center improvements across all teams. 

Tangible Benefits of Interaction Analytics

  • Opportunities for agent coaching 
  • Reduce talk time 
  • ID training needs to improve 
  • Productivity 
  • Speech and text to find the bottleneck in the journey. 

Automatic Quality Management: The Advanced Approach

Calabrio Quality Management is a central element of the Calabrio ONE workforce performance suite. It includes: 

  • Omnichannel call recording to feed the full voice of the customer into quality management and workforce management (WFM) solutions.  
  • Seamlessly integrated analytics and data management solutions that use sophisticated AI and intuitive reporting tools to identify trends, surface insights, and make it easy to share customer-centric intelligence across the enterprise. 

Drive Agent Happiness with Calabrio WFM

If agents are engaged, customers are happy. Give agents more flexibility to schedule their workday, and they feel freer and in greater control of their work lives. It’s a circle of benefits. 

Calabrio WFM is a core component of the Calabrio ONE workforce performance suite. It aims to increase the value of a contact center WFM program to support the unmet emotional needs of agents.  

Some of its powerful features include: 

  • AI-powered forecasting and automated scheduling connect agents with customers at the right time and on the right channel.  
  • Intuitive self-scheduling gives agents more freedom and flexibility.  
  • Advanced analytics mines historical data to accurately forecast call volume. Machine learning understands seasonality and anticipates acute spikes and lulls for confident scheduling forecasts. 

Key functions include: 

  • Predictive forecasting 
  • Omnichannel scheduling 
  • Intraday schedule adjustments 
  • Agent self-scheduling 
  • Robust reporting 

2023 will be one of the most challenging years for CFOs, IT and contact center managers. While the future is always uncertain, smart business leaders still take risks despite narrow constraints.  

Uncovering untapped revenue opportunities could be as simple as discovering a new bottleneck in the customer journey.  

“If all we did was find one new sales opportunity, it would pay for itself in no time,” Fluss said. “We’re talking millions of dollars in sales. That’s an investment that will easily be approved.” 

Check out Calabrio’s savings calculator to learn more about how a WFM solution could save your contact center money. 

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