For years, many businesses have had a laissez-faire attitude to contact centres. Why? Because their profitability was not obvious or easily quantifiable. In fact, there was often the misperception of customer service as purely a cost centre.
However, peel back the lid just a little, and it’s clear such logic does not ring true at all. During the pandemic, many realised this, but often too late.
As such, attitudes towards contact centres are changing, and – by 2030 – the role of the contact centre within many organizations will look very different…
The Contact Centre of Today: A Respected Last-Line of Defence
With their physical front doors locked shut, many forward-thinking organizations embraced the idea that their new virtual front door was the contact centre.
Making this point during his keynote at Calabrio Customer Connect 2022, Tom Goodmanson, CEO of Calabrio, said:
Those that made that change thrived, those that continued to treat the contact centre as before, and failed to embrace it as the only way to truly interact with customers, struggled.
Indeed, contact centres often became the defining factor in making or breaking a brand’s reputation.
As such, the contact centre stepped into the realm of being the brand guardian, the last line of a business’s defence.
“The first line of defence is a great sales experience, and the second line of defence is a great product,” says Goodmanson. “Yet, when one of those isn’t quite up to snuff, and customer expectations are high, it is likely up to the contact centre to take care of business.”
“Whether reactively or proactively, it must be first-rate.”
Moreover, almost 100 percent of the consumers that took part in reported that contact centre interactions impact their brand loyalty.
The result? A new vision for the contact centre is likely to take shape before 2030.
Building Towards the Contact Centre of 2030 May Be an Uphill Task for Some
Unfortunately, many contact centres are currently unprepared for this role as a brand guardian after years of low budgets, understaffing, and reactively being informed of brand initiatives.
Moreover, most lack the agility and ability to change. Such a problem extends beyond the contact centre, as Goodmanson alluded to:
When service experiences are poor, this is likely because the business could not pivot when something unforeseen happened – such as a global pandemic. The result? Damage to brand reputation and bottom lines.
Another unfortunate trend is that contact centres have invested in the wrong technologies to solve their problems. Customers being pushed from one virtual queue to another is a symptom of this.
Then, when customers finally reach an agent, they must repeat the information they’ve already put into the system. Instantly starting the interaction on a negative footing rather than neutral ground. Sound familiar?
“All these investments, made to pull companies closer to their customers, ended up pushing them away,” added Goodmanson. “It then becomes incredibly expensive to repair the bad experience, and there are many tough choices that business must make.”
“Meanwhile, agents suffer the fury of customers fed-up with the poor pre-contact journey, creating a vicious cycle.”
Such a scenario is far from a win-win, and the result is that well-meaning companies then end up defending the brand both internally and externally, against customers and employees.
As a result, businesses send their sales and recruitment teams into overdrive.
Instead, contact centres must change their approach to build a better future and prepare for the role of brand guardianship.
Becoming a Proactive Brand Guardian
To become a brand guardian, contact centres must take all their rich data and turn it into something actionable. To do so, one approach is capture, transform, apply (CTA).
First, contact centres must capture all customer interactions. Second, because they’re complicated, by nature, they must transform them into something readily accessible and analysable. Last, they need to apply all those learnings to the problems at hand.
In following this logic, contact centres can save employee and customer relationships.
For example, consider capturing and transforming agent data with speech analytics to assess if an individual is at risk of churn and the potential causes.
Such causes may include stress, scheduling issues, or a lack of development. These are all issues that contact centres can act to prevent. Yet, if they fail to, each agent will cost as much as $21,000 to replace – according to McKinsey & Company.
Now, consider how contact centres can save customer relationships with the CTA process using speech, text, and desktop analytics. Using this AI-fueled technology, operations can track the predictive Net Promoter Scores for 100% of interactions. From there, Tom Goodmanson, CEO at Calabrio, recommends:
Businesses feed this data into the marketing stack, so low-scoring customers go on a retention journey. Meanwhile, sales teams can leverage good relationships by bringing them on a selling journey to maximize their goodwill.
By following such CTA logic, contact centres can set such a framework for brand guardianship.
Calabrio’s Contact Centre Philosophy
A brand guardian enriches human interactions with employees and customers. While some may dismiss these as “soft-skills,” Calabrio aims to quantify their value and help businesses bolster their bottom line.
In doing so, the Software as a Service (SaaS) company offers high performance, regular updates, and ongoing innovation through the cloud, allowing Calabrio customers to take new concepts and turn them into tangible solutions.
To learn more about this approach, and delve into Calabrio’s latest industry research, check out its report: State of the Contact Centre 2022