Do You Have a Contact Center Strategy?

Ask a contact center manager about his business strategy, and you’re likely to hear about making sure calls are answered in an efficient manner, providing outstanding customer service, and achieving greater service levels. These are all admirable objectives, but they are not strategies – they are goals. A strategy is a plan of action that places the achievement of these goals within reach. While action will be required at some point, strategy formulation begins with thoughtful analysis – of your customers, your technology and your agents. Here are a few tips on how to approach contact center strategy. 1. Customer Assessment Assess your customers based on their needs, their expectations, and on their preferred methods of communication. The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to make them happy. These answers can be gathered through a review of data collected by workforce management software, as well as through customer surveys. 2. Resources Assessment Once you’ve completed your customer assessment, review the contact center’s resources to make sure they are sufficient to meet customer expectations. Do your agents have the tools they need to interact with customers by phone, email or online? Have resources been allocated correctly so staff and technology are optimally aligned? Are the processes now in place for handing calls and the tools for forecasting, scheduling, call recording, quality management, and agent analytics including training/coaching, etc. all getting the job done, or are there areas where improvement is possible? 3. Agent Assessment Following a customer and resource assessment (or reassessment), confirm that you have the agents in place to meet your goals on key metrics. Review hiring and interview procedures, and take another look at training sessions and how agents have responded to feedback and criticism. Confirm personnel skill sets and make sure the most experienced and qualified agents are assigned to the shifts and the communication channels where they can have the most positive impact. Lastly, contact center strategy is not something that can be devised once or twice a year. With personnel turnover and changing customer preferences, regular monitoring of how a strategy is working will be necessary to keep the contact center performing at optimal efficiency.