In reviewing Contact Babel’s recent US Contact Center Decision Maker’s Guide (4th Edition – 2010/11), I noticed several interesting findings about contact center business processes:
- 56% use agents (not technology) to authenticate callers
- 60% access 3 or more applications with each call
- 70% require agents to log into all applications separately
- 60% launch back office processes manually
We don’t seem to be making progress solving these problems through automation or integrated desktop applications. Why? Contact center process change is hard. However, there are 4 compelling reasons why you should overcome barriers to change and move process optimization up the priority list.
As the front line in customer care, contact centers are often the “kick off” point for many of your organizations processes. Contact center process change can jump start organizational process change.
Contact centers are made up of labor intensive, repetitive, high volume processes. As such, process improvements impact your highest budget category – direct labor (67-76% according to our contact center cost models). Every center should be able to identify “low hanging fruit” that could generate measurable payback quickly and secure buy-in to go further.
Process improvement is made easier using technology. Some very real technology possibilities can get you started without a road-blocking capital request.
- Underutilized technology that you already have – data-directed routing tools, workflow components of your current CRM or KM
- Basic unified communications components – presence/IM, conferencing, collaboration tools
- CEBP tools from your current contact center vendor – workflow events that trigger communication
- Desktop process analysis, application integration and process automation tools
Contact centers always have to do more with less. But you have to get out of the habit of decreasing service to improve efficiency by haphazardly reducing labor or eliminating useful process steps. Contact center process improvement is a golden opportunity. You can get more efficient while improving service, breaking the historical tradeoff between better service and lower cost and shifting to a new paradigm where you can have it all.