Identifying and Eliminating Unnecessary Cost from Your Call Center Operations
Running a contact center is always a matter of cost and efficiency. For the average company, customer service is a cost and doesn’t generate revenue. Some call centers generate revenue through collections or sales but if you’re doing customer service, chances are you are a cost for a company whether you are a part of a bigger corporation or an outsourced provider for other clients. The result is the same: the budget will always be tight and finding ways to be more efficient and cost-effective is always the name of the game.
Fortunately, advances in today’s communication technologies have made many cost-saving steps possible. While you can certainly improve operations through better leadership and management, on a system-wide level, a lot of the cost savings you can make will come from adopting new and better technologies. They also have a much faster and immediate effect on your operations compared to hiring, training and producing skilled leaders and managers and integrating them into your corporate culture.
Use an Auto-Dialer
Traditionally, outbound contact centers use auto dialers to improve their efficiency of calling out to potential leads to generate sales. Auto-dialers have been around since the 80s and help sales tremendously, but today’s auto dialers are much more advanced and extremely helpful in inbound contact centers for doing what is known as proactive customer service.
Auto-dialers are easy, efficient, and can do these things:
Take into consideration the best times to dial out to a customer
Reduce the average wait time for your agents
Hold times on the customer’s side
Apply legal restrictions which dictate how and when you can call a customer
Auto-dialers also work for inbound centers. These dialers are called inbound call routers and perform what is known as Automated Call Distribution (ACD). These systems use what is known as conditional routing, where the system collects information from the caller and then sends them to the appropriate department to handle their concern. Modern systems can even intelligently determine who is calling and what their concern is based on the telephone number they use and their account status, offering the customer the most likely option they need as the first thing on their call. This definitely improves customer perception of the entire process.
A study shows that 85% of customers want proactive notifications, and 90% are more likely to do business with a company that sends them reminders. Auto-dialers today can preemptively contact a customer and give them reminders through an automated process known as robocalling. It can tremendously improve your contact center’s efficiency.
Have a Self-Service IVR
One of the more common call center technologies is the IVR, an integrated voice response system which greets the customer upon calling your customer service lines. These IVRs collect information from the customer, then either resolve the concern or send them to the correct agents. Traditionally, IVRs were simply a routing system that directed customers to the correct departments, acting less like a concierge and more like a directory to help a customer find out where to go and who to talk to.
Modern IVRs are much more robust and have the capability of resolving many common customer concerns:
Providing account status information
Direct a customer to the correct self-service systems
Any kind of call that is simple and repetitive can be handled by modern IVRs, reducing the number of calls to your actual agents. It’s a lot closer to a hotel concierge than a directory board.
Moreover, modern IVRs are equipped with natural voice technology, meaning customers can hold a conversation with them similar to how they would with a live human agent. The days of pressing a number to reach a certain department are over and providing key information like account numbers can be done through natural conversation instead of dialing it in through the phone number pad.
Self-Service and Automation
In the end, self-service options are much more important to today’s customers. A good 75% of customers find self-service to be more convenient than talking to an agent, 91% prefer to use a kn