Reducing Costs While Maintaining Efficiency & Versatility

When operating a multilingual contact centre, customer service costs can add up fast, and over a short period of time they will quickly add up to A LOT.

If you are looking to improve your business’s bottom line, or provide better customer service, you need to implement these methods to reduce customer service costs without sacrificing the support part, and still providing exceptional customer experience.

Equipment

Re-evaluate your equip­ment, it could be cost­ing you more money than you think.  For example, automat­ing your contact centre’s tele­phone sys­tem for the less used cus­tomer ser­vice func­tions could potentially save time and reduce cost on pay­roll and train­ing. Cloud-based technology can also centralise your whole contact centre into one consolidated customer service centre.

  • Phone Sys­tem: Find an appropriate calling system that will streamline the process. An automated attendant or system that reroutes calls to correct contact centre agents quickly can be a life saver, especially during customer service peaks
  • Soft­ware: Is your CRM software integrated with your calling and scheduling systems? If not, make it your top priority.
  • Stor­age: Most on-site systems can be moved to the cloud, especially if they take up valuable space and resources. Evaluate if doing so will help you save on utility costs.

Multi-Channel

Embracing the multi-channel approach, implementing it and then aligning all your communication channels is what all contact centres should aim to achieve in 2015.

It’s not only about the technology, it’s about the people. Your contact centre is as strong as its core employees – the front line grunts, contact centre agents.

Make sure that your teams can handle multiple communication channels, be it email, phone call, live web chat or social media. Assigning two people per campaign to each communication channel might seem a reasonable choice, but in the end, it might cost you more.

Remember about attrition and turnover rates, which despite the efforts of contact centre managers still plague the industry to this day. Train each representative, they need to provide exceptional customer service on each communication channel – versatility is essential.

Also in the case of returning customers, if the same agent handles the quarry throughout all communication channels, it adds a new depth of personalisation thus creating a compelling experience for the customer resulting in increased customer satisfaction.

Cutting customer service costs is not about blindly “swingin’ the ole axe”  and reducing budgets, it’s about making your business more efficient.

Upgrading software, as well as hardware, will lead to increase in employee efficiency while embracing the multi-channel approach and centralising all communication channels will lead to increase in customer satisfaction, both of which will in the long-term lead to better customer retention.

Evaluate budgets, look for ways to increase efficiency, and only then cut costs.

 

How to Bridge The Gap in a Multilingual Environment

Confusion can be the cause for major friction in an multilingual environment of customer care centres.

What steps should supervisors undertake in order to maximise efficiency and which methodology should they adapt in order to bridge the multilingual gap.

Common language

Most multilingual contact centres have a “business language” – the one that is used in standard day-to-day communication amongst all employees. The problem with this approach is, that in order for it to function smoothly all employees need to speak the language at the same level.

You need to allow some “accommodation time” for the new employees, let them adapt and learn. Remember language skills we learnt at school don’t necessarily transfer to a work environment.

Leave no room for misinterpretation

This is the most important step when it comes down to managing and excelling in this kind of environment, leave no room for misinterpretation at all cost.

Be precise and to the point. In regards to new hires, keep it simple and try to not overburden them with irrelevant information.

Details matter

If you want to run an efficient multilingual contact centre, offer guidance and thorough explanation of each task.

Be patient and flexible, remember the language barrier is not the only hurdle you’ll encounter. Different nationalities can interpret information differently. Keep trying until your staff can clearly understand the task at hand. Cover each and every detail of a project if you have to.

Don’t be afraid to change your approach

If you notice that your message isn’t getting across don’t be afraid to change it. Repeating it over and over again won’t do any good. Notice what words you’re using – see if you could re-phrase the message.

Try explaining the task from a different point of view as being repetitive is frustrating for all parties involved.

Visual aids

When explaining a difficult and complex project to the team, use visual aids alongside regular explanation of what is expected. This will provide amazing results in the long run.

Use screen-shots, charts or infographics. Be creative, but try not to overwhelm them with the visualisations.

Confirm and explain

Always make sure that people understand you, confirm that by letting them explain things back at you. The best employee is the one that isn’t afraid to ask questions regarding the task or the project. Make sure that your team understands that. Be patient, you will be amazed how often the first explanation is often misunderstood.

Explain buzzwords and industry lingo

Always explain industry lingo and buzzwords when assigning people to new tasks or teams. Keep in mind that different nationalities will at times use different terms and abbreviations.

To avoid potential confusion, agree on one standard definition.

A simple thank you goes a long way

Try to learn some phrases in languages commonly used by your agents and supervisors, even if the business language is English. Showing your employees that you’re making effort and that you value their culture will go a long way. Sometimes, simple phrases like “thank you” or “good morning” will boost morale and will bond you with co-workers.

If you are thinking of undertaking a management position in a multilingual environment such as a contact centre, don’t be off put by the initial language barrier problems. The multicultural environment and diversity outweigh the initial minor frustrations by tenfold – be flexible, adapt and overcome.

Reduce Effort & Supercharge Your Customer Journey

Technology is perceived by many as the ultimate problem solving tool, one which makes life easier and more efficient. However, when consumer expectations are not effectively met it ends up being inconvenient and frustrating.

It should not come as a surprise that brands and manufacturers spend massive amounts of resources on their R&D (research and development). With each passing year products and services become more complex in terms of technology used as well as device interconnectivity. Unfortunately as a result, enterprises lose sight of the big picture and fail to implement a customer-first approach.

If you want mainstream adoption for your tech product or service, you need to make customer effort and usability your number one priority.

Focus on every aspect of the customer journey

Retention, loyalty and advocacy all take a massive hit when brands ignore customer effort

The average user will get discouraged if technology is too complex or confusing to set up and use regularly, which is why you must lavage innovative support strategies and drive meaningful engagement to improve customer experience.

Tech companies should interact with and listen to their consumers at every possible opportunity.

Identify problem areas and minimise customer effort by driving engagement and collecting valuable feedback at every stage of the customer journey.

The three most time consuming stages of the customer journey are: setup, maintenance and troubleshooting. Sadly these seem to be lower priority, than their highly streamlined pre-purchase and purchase counterparts. It should be a major red flag for any technology product as it correlates with retaining customers and building brand loyalty, thus directly impacts the bottom line.

Make it easy for the customers and meet them where they are

You can please everyone, just provide the ability to interact with your brand through multiple communication channels – sounds easy, right?

In reality, it’s far from easy as consumer expectations continue to evolve in response to changes in our increasingly connected digital world. Personalised strategies across multiple channels are no longer an added bonus, they are a necessity if brands want to reduce customer effort while meeting expectations.

Maintain uniform context but tailor interactions to fit each channel specifically

The current consumer generation is actively pushing for more self-service options, ones which let them troubleshoot and solve issues on their own, without professional tech support ever getting involved – provide flexibility by implementing self-service but have live customer support as backup.

But with omnichannel you need to focus on maintaining uniform context for customer interactions across all channels by keeping track of interaction history, whether assisted or unassisted.

This will streamline the process as customers will be able to seamlessly change channels and escalate easily if necessary, thus allowing them to resolve issues faster and with less frustration as nobody likes to repeat the same information over, and over again.

No matter the communication channel (email, social media, VOIP), tech brands need to reduce customer effort and show how much they value their customers time by implementing personalised support options on each channel and at every step of the customer journey.

Leverage data and provide proactive support

Consumers expect proactive support, therefore provide sufficient self-diagnosing tools and suggested fixes which streamline the troubleshooting process even further.

Tech companies are great at gathering and leveraging data, therefore they should have no problem applying the very same approach to custumer journey: gather, analyse and apply user data to tweak your customer care processes and create a lasting, positive customer experience.

By pinpointing the key areas where customers are experiencing problems in brands can direct them to appropriate self-support solutions or assign them to a tech support agent who has access to the right information and is able to resolve the issue quickly and with minimal frustration.

Leveraging user data as well as providing proactive support are both essential during early stages of setting up or implementing new technology solutions, as consumers will be more likely to experience a seamless, positive brand experience.

Long term impact on the bottom line

Technology brands and manufacturers need to take a step back and look at the big picture when developing new products, the entirety of customer journey matters – do not focus on the early stages only.

Nurture your relationship with consumers by implementing flexible self-service options, leveraging user data and providing access through multiple communication channels, thus being there for them in their time of need.

Positive engagement is essential to reducing customer effort, boosting brand loyalty and increasing revenue.

Four Essential Qualities of a Customer Care Centre

The rise of the multi-channel approach shook the customer care landscape to its core and new channels demand a different approach – customer centricity.

Multilingual contact centres need to engage and retain every customer to be successful.

We at OpsTalent believe that these four traits are the keystones to establishing a customer centric contact centre:

Measure quality from both perspectives.

Like many of its customer oriented counterparts around the globe, OpsTalent has invested in quality monitoring tools that record and view customer experiences during each query, also post-contact surveying tools that can determine how the customer felt about each individual interaction.

This way the contact centre gathers essential information about its customer base, feedback that later can be used during coaching sessions or incorporated into each contact centre agents monitoring scores.

But that’s not all, data can be used to improve operation processes work-flows or even actual products and services.

Continuously enhance services, sales and loyalty.

Thanks to all the monitoring tools, today’s contact centres gather an overwhelming amount of data on a daily basis – this would imply that the contact centre is “The Ear” of the organisation, and while true this statement is somewhat wrong.

Customer centric contact centres are not just ear, but the brain of the organisation. They gather and process the information, and later on use it to from strategies and plans.

Thus continuously improving and enhancing the customer experience, by the means of CRM tools, dedicated analytics teams, and evaluation of post-contact surveys.

OpsTalent provides fast, personalised, proactive customer service and support.

Metrics focused on the customer, not just on efficiency.

The best customer centric contact centres, focus less on Average Handle Time, Calls per Hour and focus more on metrics such as Contact Quality, First Contact Resolution and Customer Satisfaction.

Productivity based metrics have its place, but most of the time contact centre managers over-emphasise the importance of AHT. Which only leads the agents to develop bad habits, such as rushing the customer through the call, which in the end only leads to increased number of call volumes, and a decrease in customer satisfaction.

When it comes to agent productivity, focus on things like schedule adherence, thus ensuring that agents are ready for and on time for any potential challenge.

Embrace social customer care.

Providing customer support though social media is no longer a nice bonus, it’s a necessity. Facebook and Twitter are the go-to channel for the Y-generation, and the general public also tries social customer support if they need a fast response to their request or comment.

This is why all leading contact centres have developed and implemented a comprehensive social customer care strategy, with trained agents and powerful monitoring tools they are more than ready to provide proactive customer service and engage the customers in brand new ways.

Keep in mind, that in order to be a customer centric contact centre you also need to be employee centric as well, happy staff + happy customers = exceptional customer experience!

How To Handle Customer Service Peaks

Brace yourselves, Summer is in full swing and with it arrive spikes in call volumes as well as problems with agent availability.

We at Opstalent, have prepared a guide to help you manage customer service peaks:

Seize the initiative

The best way to actually avoid “clogs” caused by demand spikes is to seize the initiative and reach out to the customers yourself. The multichannel approach is quite handy in this case.

Try to reach as many future “callers” through multiple channels, social media, email and even SMS. Each customer reached through other communication  methods is one less person held back in queue during peak time.

Prioritise

It’s a known fact that some queries are more important than others. Distinguishing which call is an emergency and which isn’t is a challenging, yet important task.

In order to pre-screen incoming calls you need to setup a solid IVR system. This solution will identify calls based of pre-set rules and will route the incoming traffic accordingly.

Highlighting and relegating calls will help your contact centre tremendously, especially during those “demand spikes” periods.

Outsource

When facing a sudden spike in demand, you should outsource. Just don’t pick the easy route that most companies choose – expensive term agency staff on a short-term basis.

Try to predict, when such spikes in demand will happen and choose a flexible outsourcing partner that will handle the spike traffic. This solution will leave your in-house staff focused on the core parts of projects.

In the long term, this will reduce training and staffing costs, just make sure that your outsourcing partner provides a scalable solution.

…and if all else fails, increase resources

In a case of extreme emergency, that “mother lode” of all demand spikes don’t be scared to relocate some of the admin staff to temporary contact centre duty.

The software is easy to use and highly customisable, it can simply be installed on all desktop computers around the office, this will enable an “on the fly” swap into contact centre agent mode if the situation is dire.

Just remember to take extreme caution, don’t train employees for tasks they might never need to perform, also it is highly counterproductive to force staff into roles they have no familiarity with.

However if done properly, such methods will make your staff and business as a whole even more customer centric.

The long term impact of such activities is highly valuable.