Transforming Your Contact Center Into an Essential Corporate Contributor
by Donna Fluss, DMG Consulting
It’s no longer enough to deliver an outstanding customer experience, something too few organizations do anyway. Contact centers that want to be relevant in the era of social media need to transform from slow–moving, reactive organizations into real-time and even proactive departments that are a step ahead of customer needs.
Here are some signs that your contact center is at risk of being marginalized:
These are some of the warning signs, and there is little doubt that more than half of the customer service-oriented contact centers in the United States are currently at risk, or will be in the next few years. Senior executives in many enterprises would gladly eliminate their support organization (despite their desire to deliver great service) if they could figure out how to do it without alienating their customers.
Changing Your Destiny
If your organization is at risk based on the criteria above, it’s time for change, and it’s up to the contact center manager to lead the charge. Sure, this may stir up trouble, but the risk of doing nothing is far greater. While customer service downsizing will reduce operating costs in the short-term, the long-term impact to the company’s bottom line will be negative, as evidenced by well-publicized examples, like Dell and United. Senior executives have a fiduciary responsibility to improve the profitability of their companies, and too many have already shown a willingness to make radical changes to enhance their short-term financial position.
The steps for getting started with contact center transformation may vary, but the guidelines below lay the foundation for change. Each contact center should implement the changes that best position them to become relevant within their organization, so that senior management sees them as an important contributor to the company’s bottom line rather than a low-value cost center. Here are three high-value approaches to consider.
I. Transform the contact center into a revenue-generating profit center
II. Assume responsibility for handling social media interactions
III. Take on back-office processing
For all three of these transformational initiatives, contact center leaders will need to modify their key performance indicators and quality assurance, agent evaluation, and rewards and recognition programs to support the new contact center mission.
Contact centers are essential to the long-term viability of most enterprises, but they must do more than deliver an outstanding customer experience in order to be considered essential corporate contributors. Contact center leaders need to take the initiative and implement the changes necessary to make their department highly relevant to their enterprise. There are many ways to achieve this essential goal, but the best one is to transform into a revenue-generating profit center that builds outstanding and lasting relationships with customers in their channel of choice.