How do you keep up with the changing demands required of your contact center?
Nowhere is the impact of business and societal change felt like it is in today’s contact centers. Contact centers are commonly referred to as the “front lines” for good reason. These essential operations are the customer-facing representation of a company and its products. Customers routinely rely on the contact center as their go-to source for products, service, support or any combination of the above. Ever-changing business models necessitate new marketing strategies and evolving channels for connecting with customers. Contact centers must deftly navigate the changing tides of business requirements and exceed expectations while doing so.
[pullquote_right]“Contact Centers must deftly
navigate the changing tides………..
and exceed expectations while doing so”[/pullquote_right]
Our consultants are highly experienced and very adept at understanding and evaluating contact center operations. Based upon the organizational needs (rapid growth, consolidation, expansion, acquisitions, etc.), we will identify the requirements and assess your readiness to undertake a specific organizational endeavor. Additionally, we will assist in identifying the associated costs and critical tasks, which are essential to successfully accomplish any of these organizational undertakings. Based on these findings, we can lead your internal team in plan development and implementation activities.
Some of the many organizational demands that contact centers routinely face are:
Organic Consolidation / Virtualization
Declining growth or changing lines of business may decrease the demand for some of your existing capacity. Changing business requirements may no longer support the need for maintaining multiple sites. Perhaps the reasons that previously justified multiple sites no longer apply. How do you decide what and where to consolidate? How do you absorb these volumes into remaining sites while maintaining service levels? Where do you start?
Technological capabilities available today may preclude the need for dispersed locations. Proven technologies also exist today that allow for real virtualization of your contact center resources and capacity. Would your business and your customers be better served by maximizing existing resources in fewer locations? Could you expand service capabilities by virtualizing certain functions across your multiple locations? Finally there are tried and proven tools and methodologies that enable you to do more with what you already have!
Merger & Acquisition Consolidation / Virtualization
The challenge of merging disparate functions within merging companies can be quite daunting. What stays and what goes? Where and how do you consolidate similar functions? How do you manage the combination of different cultures and service levels? What steps will improve service/revenues and what steps will reduce cost? Can you get all functions merged onto a common technology platform? If that is not readily possible you will need multiple strategies addressing short term and medium range goals. A well devised plan is even more critical when you are absorbing/combining resources from two or more companies.
As discussed in the previous section, virtualization may be a desirable strategy. You may now be presented with options and capabilities that previously were not available. This is the perfect time to consider virtual service/sales strategies before you make any strategic decisions about the functions and centers to be combined.
Thus far we have only discussed the tactical aspects of dealing with this organizational opportunity. The most important decisions at this juncture are how to transition customers while maintaining service levels and minimizing any negative impact.
Expansion: Internal Growth
New campaigns can mean significant increases in volume, and they often come without much warning. Is your existing staff capable of absorbing additional volume? Is your technology platform capable of handling this growth? How do you better position yourself to react quickly to these demands? Do you have sufficient data to model the impact of increases in volume? How will it affect your service levels? Should you consider outsourcing as an option to temporarily accommodate a new campaign or significant growth? How does the cost of outsourcing it compare to the cost of missing service levels? Does your organizational structure need to change to manage this increase in volume?
Analysis and action items identified by Contact Center 411 consultants will position you to make the right decisions and execute flawlessly.
Should you be operating with a single location or have multiple contact centers? There are pros and cons to each path you could take. Lines of business and the services provided can play a role in this decision. Contact Center 411 consultants will help you evaluate and quantify the need for geographic expansion of your contact center operations. How should a new site be implemented? Should you segment services? What can be improved upon? Are home agents an option before you build a new facility?
Our consultants have worked on numerous expansion projects. There are several factors to consider when choosing a site for your expansion or start-up center. We are well-versed in collecting the appropriate data and determining suitable locations for your new center. Just as there are desirable reasons to be in a certain location, there are potential negative factors that warrant your careful consideration. Some of the research data we evaluate includes:
- Environmental factors
- Economic indicators
- Labor pool
- Competition for labor
- Wage/salary data
- Business climate
- Real Estate market
- Construction costs
Site Development / Launch
The five partners of Contact Center 411 have more than 140 years of operational and consulting experience in contact centers. We have seen good ones and bad ones. We know what works and what doesn’t. We know how to do it right and you don’t have to spend exorbitantly to do so. Our consultants can assist with everything from project planning/management to being your on-site construction representative. Launching a new site requires a thousand details and a comprehensive project plan is essential. We can work with your team to develop and implement a plan that leaves nothing to chance.
Do you have a strategic plan for your customer contact operation? Do you struggle to react to the changing demands of the business? Is the infrastructure capable of supporting increases in business volumes? Do you know when normal annual growth will reach or exceed the capacity of your current infrastructure? Are you taking advantage of the right technological investments? Are you reviewing your mission annually to ensure the contact center services and objectives are aligned with the business? Do your business processes enable you to maximize your investments in people and technology? Do business processes empower your staff to accomplish the objectives of the organization? One of our seasoned consultants can work with you to develop a strategic plan that covers all of these key questions.
Convert a Cost Center to a Profit Center
How is the contact center funded today? What gets charged to the contact center? When new business lines are launched is the cost of service and support factored into the “true costs” of a given product? Many contact centers are performing both sales and service functions, yet it is often the sales department that gets credit for all sales. The cost of new product training can and should be allocated to the product marketing group. When someone wants to drop additional tasks into the contact center there should be a discussion about the business drivers and a cost/benefit ratio for doing so.
You know what each call is costing. Are you able to demonstrate how much each call is generating? Can you demonstrate the cost of different service levels to your organization? What is the value-add provided by the contact center and how do you apply a number to it? Service definitely has a value associated with it; why else would your company be providing it? What are your phone representatives doing now to drive additional sales? What could they be doing? How do you position your staff to actively go after additional sales? It is not just an annual budgeting exercise anymore. You have to think about revenues along with all of the internal and external factors that can impact the contact center from a performance and staffing perspective.
Our expert consultants will help you conduct a thorough financial and operational analysis to answer all of these questions and more. Then we can assist you in developing a plan to implement new strategies while properly reflecting the value and revenues generated by the contact center.