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Contact centers must be efficient

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Because consumers are so technologically savvy today, businesses need to optimize the workplace by leveraging the most advanced tools on the market that still cater to their unique specifications and long-term objectives. In many cases, replacing an old phone system with VoIP or cloud-enabled communication technologies will give large enterprises and small companies alike the ability to meet next-generation customer demands without stretching the budget or jeopardizing operations.

While all parts of the organization need to be efficient, the contact center and other client-facing departments in particular need to be optimized. After all, if employees are not able to communicate with customers and resolve product queries in a timely manner, the business will likely experience decreased end-user satisfaction rates that could impair their reputation of providing high-quality service.

Augmenting the contact center begins with ensuring the proper collaborative tools are in place. Unfortunately, a recent Rostrvm Solutions study of help desks found that a large portion of respondents said efficiency is often impaired by the use of disparate and unorganized services. In fact, nearly two-thirds of customer service departments stated employees leverage three or more applications to complete a single call. As a result, workers are not able to improve efficiency because they are bogged down by disjointed solutions and consumers are forced to wait or receive poor service.

"It doesn't take a mathematician to recognize that the longer it takes to process a call, the higher the operational costs will be, whilst productivity will be lower," said Ken Reid of Rostrvm Solutions.

Meeting the consumer demand
Today's business phone system needs to be layered in the sense that it can support multiple methods of communication, as voice is no longer the only way individuals interact with company representatives. While all respondents stated they still use voice services, roughly 90 percent said email is still a preferred platform, Rostrvm Solutions reported.

The survey also revealed that enterprises with large contact centers are more likely to have multichannel strategies regarding customer service, as roughly 22 percent of respondents said web chat and instant messaging solutions are used. Another 17 percent said they are now leveraging social media technologies to cater to the needs of tomorrow's consumers.

While augmenting the workplace with more solutions can be helpful to keep clients engaged and satisfied, companies that fail to monitor key performance indicators will likely not be able to experience the full benefits associated with transforming the contact center.

"The inefficiencies we have observed in the contact center created by multiple applications and complex data handling are mirrored and even amplified in the back office," Reid said. "It therefore makes sound business sense that both should be monitored properly."

Contact center performance
A report by Klipfolio stated that customer satisfaction and average handle times are critical metrics to ensuring contact center operations meet the needs of today's and tomorrow's consumers. This means that businesses must be adaptive and ready for change, as continuing to use outdated phone systems and inefficient collaborative tools will only make it more challenging to keep clients engaged.

Decision-makers should also keep an eye on call abandonment rates, which track the number of callers who hang up before reaching a company representative, Klipfolio noted. These figures are often higher among companies that do not have enterprise VoIP or another flexible phone system that features tools like call forwarding.

As the private sector grows increasingly competitive, executives will be encouraged to optimize the contact center to ensure consumers are satisfied with how an organization handles customer questions or problems. If a firm is relying on antiquated technologies, contact center performance will suffer and clients may take their business elsewhere.