Monday, 16 October 2017

A Cultural (and Technological) Revolution in the Contact Centre

Written by
Oonagh McBride

Together with ContactBabel, we recently conducted a survey of over 100 UK contact centre decision makers. Encouragingly, we found that 71% of leaders believe their advisor morale to be “good” or “very good”. A similar, albeit slightly lower, figure of 64% believe that their advisors provide “good” or “very good” customer service. It seems like that old phrase “happy advisors make happy customers” might just be true.

Factors affecting morale
A positive morale figure of 71% isn’t bad at all, but how can contact centres go about increasing advisor morale? We asked our respondents for their top three factors, and here are the results:

As you can see, salary, advisor empowerment, and technology all tied in first place, with each appearing in 38% of responses. However, of these, salary was most often listed first – in 21% of responses.

 

Factors affecting performance
Interestingly, however, the next question in our survey asked contact centre leaders how advisor performance could be improved – and here higher pay ranked low in the results.

Advisor empowerment and technology solutions, on the other hand, again ranked highly. In fact, 19% of respondents put advisor empowerment as their top factor for increasing advisor performance – a higher result than any other.

The no. 1 factor affecting customer satisfaction
Moving from advisors to customers now, what makes good customer service? Another question in our survey found that 69% of respondents consider first contact resolution to be the factor their customers value most highly.

It’s an old metric, but even in our modern multi-channel world, first contact resolution still matters. Nowadays, you just have to bear in mind that that first contact might not be by voice.

Of course, first contact resolution matters to your advisors as well as your customers. Why? Because when your advisors can’t help your customers, morale falls.

It’s clear that there’s a connectedness here. Improving customer satisfaction; improving advisor morale and performance; reducing staff attrition and callback levels and therefore reducing costs – they’re all connected. And they can all be addressed by focusing on two things.
Empower your advisors and give them the technology that they need to do their job. Tactically, these are the best things to focus on when trying to improve your contact centre operation.

Empowerment through technology
The survey confirms everything that the Inisoft team has learned during our many years of developing contact centre solutions. Our learnings, and feedback from many advisors, have culminated in our latest product: Syntelate XA. XA stands for Expert Advisor – because advisor empowerment is at the heart of our product.

Our unified agent desktop lets advisors handle voice, email, SMS, web chat, and social media all from the same simple interface. Syntelate XA automatically retrieves the customer’s record at the start of each interaction by matching on phone number, email address, or social media username.
With scripting to guide your advisors through complex interactions, and with full integration with customer relationship management and self-service solutions, Syntelate XA gives your advisors the power and the confidence to help your customers to the best of their ability.

Getting the culture right
Syntelate XA provides the right technology for contact centres, and it also provides an excellent platform for advisor empowerment. Empowering advisors isn’t something that can be done by a tool alone, though.

To truly empower their advisors, contact centres need to embed the right culture. A contact centre has to respect its advisors and want to empower them.

It’s for this reason that our parent company Kura, a leading contact centre outsourcer, is committed to what they describe as “Crossing the Bridge”. This is a shift in mindset away from focusing on “things and stuff” to “people and their behaviour.”

Final thoughts
The right culture and the right technology can bring about true advisor empowerment, together with all the benefits that this brings for your advisors, your customers, and your costs.

Of course, all of these findings are based on decision makers’ views of the industry. Later this year we’ll be conducting another survey with similar questions – but this time we’ll be asking them of advisors. I look forward to discovering how advisors’ opinions compare with those of leaders.

To get your hands on a copy of this research, click here, or for more information on Syntelate XA, click here.

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