A major contact centre recently invested in a state of the art live chat system. It included pre-written responses and an easy to use interface for juggling multiple chats at once. It was a masterful piece of technology. However, senior leaders were puzzled by the results. The expected gains in productivity were not materializing. Veteran Agents - raised on handling one voice call at a time - only felt comfortable handling one chat at a time.
This story highlights one of the biggest gaps in technology procurement: not preparing the end user to make full use of a new system. It is like buying a Ferrari to go to the grocery store.
Since Cloud-based Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is the wave of the future, it is important for executives to plan for this shift not only from the technology perspective but from all aspects of contact center operations, especially staffing and management. CCaaS makes it possible to rapidly expand for seasonal campaigns or growth. However, can part-time Agents ramp up to full-time hours to satisfy seasonal needs? Can your HR department hire quickly enough to keep up with demand? What about your training department? Can they train enough people, quickly enough, to keep pace with growth? The right staffing and training processes enable you to get the full return on your technology investment.
CCaaS also improves flexibility. For example, we get huge snow storms in Toronto. As a result, Agents cannot make it to the office. With CCaaS, they can work from home as long as they have a computer and Internet connection. This provides tremendous flexibility and disaster recovery capabilities for your contact center. However, are your Agents self-disciplined enough to occasionally work from home? HR has to recruit for emotional traits such as flexibility, self-discipline and multi-tasking skills to a greater degree than in the past. Are your Agents prepared for this wave of contact center technology?
The good news is technology can also make things EASIER for Agents. For example, one of my clients had grown by acquisitions. As a result, their Agents had to shift through 21 legacy billing systems to find customer information! Agents spent more time “baby-sitting” their billing software, instead of focusing on customers. The best cloud contact center solutions allow “one-window” apps for effective customer communication, internal collaboration, training and management. It can pull relevant information from background applications and place it in a single CRM screen. This empowers Agents to focus on the customer rather than be a software expert. It also allows Team Managers to monitor a customer interaction and send real-time coaching advice to their Agent. Managers can also send links to targeted micro-learning sessions to help a particular Agent correct knowledge gaps. This is an example of how the right technology can help Agents, as long as they are trained and supported to make full use of it.
As a CX leader, be sure to balance technology, people and supporting processes, such as HR and training, to get the best return on your investment!
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About Mike Aoki
Mike Aoki is the President of Reflective Keynotes Inc., a training company that helps contact centers improve their sales and customer retention results. A contact center expert, Mike serves on the advisory council of the Greater Toronto Area Contact Center Association and was Master of Ceremonies for five of their Annual Conferences. He was also chosen by ICMI.com as one of the “Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leaders on Twitter” for the past four years.