Maximizing Your Contact Center: 5 Questions to Ask

    The best way for companies to keep their customers coming back is to resolve problems on the first contact. More than 80% of consumers who switched from one provider to another because of poor service said they would have stayed if their issue had been addressed on the first try, according to research by Accenture. In fact, for the last five years first contact resolution has been the top frustration factor in the consulting firm’s annual Consumer Pulse survey.

    If the contact center is the fulcrum of customer experience, then businesses should be strategic about how they use it to boost retention. Fortunately, today’s contact center technologies provide the tools executives need to implement sophisticated strategies that save time, maximize resources and deliver more personalized service.

    Not sure if you’re using your contact center to its fullest potential? Is your technology holding you back from delivering the best experience for your agents and customers? Ask yourself these seven questions. They’ll help you understand if your contact center is the strategic asset you need it to be.

    1.  How are calls being routed to agents?

    Basic contact center technology allows managers to route calls on a first-come, first-serve basis. But by using skills-based routing, managers can direct specific types of customers and issues to the agents with the appropriate skills and experiences to solve them.

    2.  Do your agents have easy access to customer history?

    The better informed the agent, the more likely they are to resolve an issue on the first try. With CRM integration, agents have instant access to the customer’s history and background, thus putting their request in context. The agent can resolve issues more quickly, while also personalizing each engagement.

    3.  How are you measuring contact center performance?

    Contact center managers can’t manage what they can’t measure. Real-time, customizable reporting keeps customer service teams on target, and help managers immediately recognize slowdowns and problems. With reporting dashboards, you can take quick action to keep the team on track.

    4.  Are you using automation to maximize resources?

    An automated outbound campaign not only saves time and frees agents up to handle more complex customer concerns, but also can increase revenue. For example, a physician’s office can set up an automated campaign to remind patients to keep their appointments: “You have an appointment on May 12th with Dr. Kelly. Press 1 to confirm or press 2 to be connected to our office to re-schedule.” Simple—and effective.

    5.  Do you offer self-service?

    Putting resolution options in the hands of customers is powerful. With self-service – via your web site or through a personalized interactive voice response (IVR) menu – customers can obtain answers to question or resolve issues on their own. This capability both raises satisfaction and saves time for both customers and agents. And with that extra time, agents can continue to focus on resolving more complex queries.

    6.  Can agents shift conversations easily from one channel to another?

    Today’s consumers have high expectations when it comes to contacting businesses by phone, email, web chat or just about any other communications channel. It’s no surprise, then, that ability to move a conversation seamlessly from one channel to another is crucial. For example, an agent may start talking to a customer in web chat, then click to call if the discussion becomes too complicated and continue the conversation by voice. This increases the likelihood of first call resolution.

    7.  Do you offer customers callback options?

    No one likes sitting on hold. By offering call-back options, customers don’t need to listen to several minutes of music during high volume periods. Instead, they can opt to receive a call when their turn in the queue arrives. This is a great way to create a strong positive impression, because it shows customers how much you value their time.

    Customers are clear: When calling your business, they want the first voice they hear to be the last. With strategic use of contact center technology, your business can substantially improve first contact resolution rates. You’ll know your contact center has become a strategic asset when abandon rates decrease, agent availability and talk time increase, and customer retention rates improve.

    Learn more about ShoreTel’s contact center solutions.


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