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Keeping contact centers up to par

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Because the contact center is such an integral part of customer service in today's private sector, decision-makers need to take the time to ensure technological disruptions do not negatively disturb operations or a company's ability to resolve client dilemmas. The rapid development of the business phone system and other collaborative tools has made it increasingly important for executives to monitor performance.

In the past, testing and observing the contact center infrastructure was simply a nice-to-have best practice to alleviate customer problems and create a stronger client retention program. Today, these same capabilities are now considered a must, as failing to reach consumers on their level will impact an enterprise's fundamental ability to compete, according to a NewsFactor report.

Keeping the contact center on pace with the rest of the business world requires decision-makers to monitor several key performance indicators (KPIs) in real time. By keeping an eye on these characteristics, NewsFactor said contact center managers will be more likely to improve service and keep consumers coming back when they need assistance.

Monitoring contact center KPIs

Although there are a number of performance metrics that contact center managers observe, monitoring call blockage rates is a common approach to augmenting operations, the news source noted. In most cases, blocked calls occur when phone systems cannot manage fluctuating traffic levels, resulting in people not being able to reach corporate representatives.

"When solutions are not working properly or the contact center cannot handle the sheer volume of customer inquiries, calls are not answered," network performance expert Tim Moynihan told NewsFactor. "A high blockage rate has an immediate and negative effect on customer satisfaction."

Other companies look at call abandonment rates, which observes the number of times individuals attempt to communicate with company representatives but hang up before they are able to do so. This is often the result of poor routing capabilities or inefficient time and resources management, NewsFactor stated. Regardless of their origin, these occurrences can have a significant impact on a firm's overall reputation, as vocal consumers will often share their poor experiences with other consumers.

Addressing common contact center problems

Poor voice quality is one of the biggest reasons companies replace an old phone system for a more innovative and effective offering that is able to meet consumer requirements. In many cases, poor quality service will lead to longer calls or failed communication attempts.

"In extreme cases, customers will hang up and try again," Moynihan said, according to NewsFactor. "Either way, these delays can be extremely expensive to both customer loyalty and overall cost per call."

While monitoring these KPIs is important to improving customer service, eliminating the presence of these problems altogether will lead to more effective contact center operations. By deploying a hosted PBX system, companies will be able to leverage a more flexible, agile and efficient telecommunications platform that will lead to stronger collaboration with clients. A recent study by a major contact center service provider revealed that roughly three-quarters of organizations have already adopted the cloud, are planning on doing so or are investigating ways to migrate to these environments in 2013.

"Cloud contact center technology solutions have become realistic options for centers of all sizes due to their high value proposition and flexibility," expert Steve Morrell said.

In the coming years, the proliferation of mobile and cloud technologies will force large enterprises and small businesses to augment contact center processes in order to meet evolving customer requirements without jeopardizing internal performance. By monitoring and addressing KPIs in the customer service departments, organizations will be better prepared to improve client experience.