Need to reduce costs, but don’t want to sacrifice customer or employee experience? This is a very real situation that so many contact centre leaders are currently facing.
Following the pandemic, prices are rising, there’s an energy crisis, a cost-of-living crisis, and the great resignation on top. Regardless of industry type, everyone has been affected in some way.
In this webinar, MaxContact’s Product Owner, Sean McIver and CEO Ben Booth, combine more than 30 years of experience working in or alongside contact centres to provide actionable tips and strategies for making cost-saving changes.
They answer the most pressing questions from contact centre leaders across all industries, provide practical ways to make cost-saving changes, suggest how to utilise technology to streamline operations and more.
Keep reading for the top takeaways from our discussion or tune in to the full video.
Doing more with less
The global business landscape has witnessed a steady increase in costs. This upward trend is particularly prominent in the technology and development industry, and as a software company, MaxContact has experienced this first-hand.
In addition to rising costs, businesses are being asked to do more with fewer resources. The pandemic further compounded this by altering work dynamics across contact centres, resulting in a surge in customer interactions and a decline in available staff.
During the pandemic, many organisations saw a drop in staffing numbers, while at the same time experienced an increase in customer interactions. The work-from-home model enabled people to address issues and seek assistance without waiting until their workday concluded or setting aside an admin day.
As a result, the influx of customer enquiries rose, presenting contact centres with the challenge of meeting a far higher demand with a far smaller number of employees. And this hasn’t gone away, says Ben, and it won’t go away. That’s why it’s important to find the best solution going forward.
Sean emphasises that within the contact centre industry, there are certain demographics that have been affected more than others. For example, those in the BPO (business process outsourcing) space have had to deliver on their own metrics as well as deliver the client requirements, which can be massively varied.
Ways to reduce costs
Reducing costs is one thing, but how can you do it without impacting the employee and the customer experience?
To explain this, let’s break it down into three pillars: people, technology and data.
Pre-pandemic, Ben explains, agents were often treated as commodities, resulting in high attrition rates. However, the staffing crisis prompted a shift towards recognising the importance of employee engagement and motivation within contact centres.
It became clear that factors beyond monetary compensation – such as understanding your value to the business, aligning with company goals, and career progression – were instrumental in retaining talent.
By recognising and addressing these factors, contact centres can foster a motivated and committed workforce.
However, in order to address the challenges associated with rising staff costs, contact centres need to prioritise sustainable growth.
It’s important to involve the entire organisation in setting the goals for this, from staff on the ground to those at the top. Engaging with frontline staff and seeking insights on process improvement and pain points can lead to valuable innovations. And while some won’t work, says Ben, some will and could have a lasting positive impact on the company.
There’s still much to do in this space, says Sean, but the migration of staff from commodity to asset is critically important.
Ben doesn’t know an industry that has embraced modern technology as much as the contact centre space. But most systems offer more capabilities than many realise. To maximise value, lean on your vendors and get their advice on ways to get more value from the contact centre software you’re using, and embrace cutting-edge technologies, such as real-time agent assistance.
Agent-assist is AI-powered software that provides suggestions to agents while they are in conversation with a customer. These transcriptions add enormous value as they help people deal with more complex calls faster and can improve training time. However, Ben is wary of scripted responses, as he feels this can demotivate agents.
Sean emphasises how important it is to leverage the tools at your disposal to keep costs down. For example, ask yourself: how effective is your IVR? Make sure it is as slick as possible and that scripting tools provide agents with the right information at the right time to reduce callbacks.
Always keep an eye on the data.
- Why are people contacting you?
- What for?
- What training is required?
Also, try to engage more with your long-standing staff. Sean explains how those who have been with you for a while will have a range of shortcuts, cheats, and quick wins that you might not know about, or that haven’t been formalised. Centralise that knowledge to help other staff members streamline processes.
This will also make your long-standing staff feel valued.
Also, lean on your providers. If you have a challenge, take that challenge to them and ask what you should do, says Sean. The data that comes from these types of exchanges provide valuable information that can speak to a bigger issue in the industry that needs to be addressed.
To learn more about ways to reduce costs without negatively impacting the employee or customer experience, tune in to the full webinar.