In the uncertain economic landscape, more and more customers are finding themselves in financial difficulties – and are looking to contact centres for advice and reassurance. This has resulted in soaring call volumes, which is adding further pressure on contact centres far and wide.

There are also additional factors at play. As technologies emerge and evolve faster than ever before, it’s tough for organisations to know where to focus their time, resources and budgets to create a balance between demand and efficiency.

So how can you begin to navigate these obstacles to transform your contact centre strategy?

Here's the 4 key areas organisations need to consider if they are to enhance both customer experience and operations:

1. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) / AI Implementation

RPA and AI can help contact centres meet demand and increase first-contact resolutions while reducing costs simultaneously. However, it’s important to introduce this technology on a gradual basis. Organisations that decide to accelerate their use of technology can often face capacity and technical issues, which create frustrating experiences for both employees and customers alike.

Before building a complex AI model, it’s much easier to integrate RPA for simple, iterative processes, which will help you deal with customer demand. This can drive efficiency, and enable employees to build their skills in dealing with more complex queries.

2. Chatbots

Thanks to the current social, political and regulatory climate, agents are now dealing with more queries than ever before. Chatbots are able to successfully alleviate pressure on call centre agents and can be used effectively in the guided IVR journey.

Unlike human agents and more complex AI, chatbots can be rolled out at a moment’s notice and will be able to resolve customer queries first-time. By enhancing the IVR journey with chatbots, you can effectively support agents and optimise costs simultaneously.

3. Digital Journeys

In an effort to offer the right type of support, and drive good customer outcomes, many organisations are continuing to streamline their digital journeys.

The most effective digital journeys are the most simple ones, helping customers focus and understand information more easily. For example, by limiting actions to one per page, the customer can ensure they are making the right decisions and choices.

4. Self-Service

Customers continue to seek opportunities to self-serve, especially those who are more digitally-savvy. Introducing more self-serve capabilities also frees up more contact centre agents to support those with complex queries or vulnerabilities.

One helpful way to determine which activities are suitable for self-service is to carry out customer contact observation. These activities should be those that benefit either the customers, the employee, and/or operations.

5. CRM

The power of having a single source of truth for customer data shouldn’t be underestimated – even if your CRM is pulling data from multiple systems in the background.

A strong CRM will allow your organisation to collate and analyse customer data in new ways, which provides meaningful insights into customer profiles and behaviours that can directly inform your transformation agenda

6. Employee Experience

Now that employees have a greater say in how they work and when it’s important to make bold decisions about ways of working in this new era.

Some businesses have successfully moved to a 4-day working week (with full 5-day pay) and have seen huge benefits so far. The findings from the four-day week trial, and organisations we have engaged with, revealed a reduction in absenteeism and attrition, and improvements in employee mental health and productivity.

Final Thoughts

The benefits of a strong contact centre strategy are invaluable. They offer multiple opportunities to meet the current climate’s challenges, enabling organisations to drive innovation for both employees and customers. And, activities like contact observation can provide a cost-effective way of identifying where to start making meaningful changes e.g. processes suitable for automation or self-serve, opportunities to simplify processes and customer journeys.

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