Top 5 Issues Impacting Contact Centers Nationwide
Part 1: OUT-OF-DATE, UNDERUTILIZED & ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY
A Year in Review – Planning for 2018
By Chris Recio, Director of Contact Center and Advanced Applications
Another year has come and almost gone, and where are we today? What we once understood about the Contact Center operation continues to morph and most certainly continues to challenge us at a rapid pace. The development of new technologies has forced every Contact Center operation to consider the options while simultaneously watching the gap widen between those that do and those that don’t.
Customers too have their hands on the latest technologies and are demanding exactly what they want and expect from a customer experience point of view. If not satisfied with their experience, or more critically, the options available to them, the customer has no issue swapping their loyalty for a combination of experience and choice.
Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to work with many Contact Center companies here at Inflow Communications, and while each company is different, I see familiar patterns with each operation.
Regardless of experience and/or expertise, the issues plaguing each Contact Center operation are often very consistent across industries, whether healthcare, finance, tech support, or customer service, to name a few.
Below is a list of the Top 5 Issues impacting most, if not all, Contact Centers in the industry.
- OUT-OF-DATE, UNDERUTILIZED & ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY
- LACK OF ACCESS TO DATA & UNDERUTILIZED REPORTING OPPORTUNITIES
- LACK OF PROACTIVE CUSTOMER OUTREACH AND/OR FEEDBACK
- MAKING CONTACT CENTER CULTURE A PRIORITY
- AGENT RETENTION & TURNOVER
In this post, we will expand on the top-most issue faced by contact centers across verticals: Out-of-Date, Underutilized & Advancing Technology.
Technology changes at a pace much faster than most operations can keep up, not to mention the expenses associated with doing so. However, aside from this never-ending and obvious fact of life today, I am surprised at how many operations attempt to keep pace with the demand for providing great customer experiences with outdated and underutilized technology.
What’s even more surprising is many operations have spent an extraordinary amount of time procuring their current solution yet have failed to utilize the product to its full potential. While the operation ultimately owns the products purchased, the reseller of such products needs to do a far better job in becoming a side-by-side operational partner. After all, they worked hard to sell you on the product. However, in my experience as a customer, most resellers drop kick you into the software leaving you to fend for yourself.
While it is the responsibility of the customer to then learn and utilize the product, not every customer has the deep knowledge and real-world operational experience to help the customer advance their business with this new state-of-the-art technology. Adding to that, many end-users are simply overwhelmed by the amount of technology being placed in front of them and simply look for what is familiar.
This is even more so true in the Contact Center operation. It’s not often that an individual set out to become a Contact Center professional as a career. Many have found their way into a fantastic industry through happenstance. But the percentage of “lifers” to “newcomers” is quite low. There is a very real need to educate, mentor, and empower the end-user – yes that word is often a “selling” tool and used way too often but nevertheless – with real-world knowledge.
The gap between what is available and what has been put into practice is often wide. I always find nuggets of capability within software that has not been considered, usually due to a lack of understanding or – quite frankly – thinking “outside the box.”
We are also in the midst of a changing landscape of what is Contact Center. Our ideas of the Contact Center are expanding beyond the traditional 4 walls of the Contact Center, and many operations are looking for the latest and new. Companies struggle with protecting their investment in current technologies while aspiring to keep pace with the need to meet the customer at his/her level.
In my recent review of emerging technologies and platforms, what I find is that the new “so-called” Contact Center solutions are more like adjuncts not intended to replace the traditional Contact Center technologies we are all very familiar.
I’ve also seen a shift in the need for “contact center-like” solutions to be utilized in the context of non-contact center operations. Many businesses can benefit from contact center technologies in a non-traditional way, yet remain true to their needs for autonomy and efficiency. However, once adopted, they often wonder how they ever managed previously.
This is the part 1 of a 5-part series of blog posts about the Top 5 Issues impacting most, if not all, Contact Centers in the industry. In the next coming weeks, we will cover each issue in greater detail. Don’t miss out!
The Contact Center of the future is here now. Those that take this to heart will be far ahead of those that do not. The gap between these two groups will become wider as proactive operations outpace reactive operations.
As businesses review their year and prepare for 2018, it is very important to mitigate what’s ahead. We spend a great deal of time working with clients at deeper levels in their contact center operation through our CCSM (Contact Center Success Manager) program and found that their struggles boil down to the 5 issues to be pointed and discussed in this series. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks!