5 Tactics to Keep Your Contact Center Agile

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NICEEnabling organizations to operationalize big data​

Thursday, February 4, 2021

For businesses wanting to excel in customer care, optimize agent efficiency and increase employee empowerment, agility is key. The traditional contact center simply doesn’t cater for today’s omnichannel experience, and outdated technology can no longer keep pace with how remote businesses and their customers communicate. That’s why a lean and agile cloud contact center approach is vital in the digital world.

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The foundation of an agile contact center is agile software. But at the heart of it all is staff culture, and how people connect across the business. Together, the right technology with the right approach can lead to adaptive planning and learning, continuous growth and improvement, and the ability to remain responsive to change. By doing this, you create a culture where teams can experiment and learn as they go.

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If you’re looking to transform customer and employee relationships, here are 7 tactics that will help you keep your contact center agile.

1. Operate a cloud contact center

The future of contact centers is cloud-based, and with companies catapulted into the throes of digitalization during COVID, the already-fast-growing trend is about to get even bigger. Post-pandemic recovery won’t see workers hurrying back to the office in their masses. Instead, remote teams will remain and at-home agents will form the new normal.

A contact center in the cloud is not only cost and time efficient with less downtime, but it supports the work-from-anywhere trend. The likelihood is that organizations will have split shifts so there are fewer people in the same indoor space, and some workers will be part-remote while some will become fully remote. Fast, secure and reliable access from any location is essential for seamless customer communications.

Unlike fixed systems, cloud allows you to easily scale up or down while monitoring the seasonality of demand. The flexibility of this means being able to respond quickly to customer needs without going over your staffing budgets. Ultimately, it’s about striking the balance between a quality service and a cost-effective use of resource, and moving to the cloud is the way to do that.

2. Make omnichannel easy

Keeping up with trends in customer needs and behaviors means communicating across a range of devices and channels. We can no longer limit customer interactions to a phone call, and that’s why omnichannel routing is essential for the modern contact center.

By intelligently directing customer queries across email, chat, text messaging (SMS) and social media, brands can deliver a better, more enjoyable experience. Through omnichannel routing, you can engage customers – particularly digital natives – in smart conversations and meaningful interactions that allow them to build a long-term relationship with you. The result is loyalty and retention, which explains the recent jump in companies investing in omnichannel, increasing from 20% to over 80% according a 2020 PWC survey.

Customers no longer want a disjointed service, and they increasingly demand a consistent standard regardless of channel. So the goal is a contact hub that supports both in-house and at-home agents, with seamless omnichannel capabilities to ensure customers are connected across all touchpoints. 

3. Automate staff scheduling  

Bots are rising in their numbers, but people are still a vital cog in the wheel. There’s still demand for the human element in contact centers, so providing customers with different customer service options is paramount.

In the future, people and technology will work together in delivering a seamless experience. But if we’re to keep up with evolving retail demands, smarter resource management is required. This is especially true in the world of remote, where a cloud contact center is made up of team members across different locations and time zones.

Automation is the solution if you want to align the right agent skills with specific customer needs remotely. With automated staff scheduling, you can ensure the right distribution of labor no matter where your workforce is based, while also maximizing talent. Ultimately, this will keep costs down and resource nimble.

4. Nurture collaboration 

Technology is key in helping your customer service adapt in this changing retail landscape, but in order to make life easy in the cloud, collaboration needs to be in place. Customer service departments have traditionally worked in silos, but the contact center of the future is much more joined up. In the same way that millennial shoppers demand an omnichannel brand experience, teams are now wanting a shared approach to data.

Collaborative contact center management puts all the right resources in the right place, ensuring better teamwork and easier logging and sharing of customer information. Not only does having your entire call center, email network, messaging and social chats on one platform help you deliver a better service, but it pushes outdated culture out, bringing a new way of working in.

According to stats, 33% of employees say the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal, which is essential for staff retention and the reduction of recruitment costs. Furthermore, 83% of professionals say they depend on technology to collaborate effectively. This is why a cloud contact center that connects your whole team is the golden ticket to happier staff and customers.

5. Empower employees with data   

When it comes to data, the mistake is not in the gathering, but the sharing and application of it. This is where many organizations have stumbled. In order to make your data actionable and powerful, it has to be optimized and presented in the right format, and for the right eyes. Data can motivate, encourage and provide a sense of reward for employees. In today’s climate, where at-home working is most prominent, keeping colleagues in the loop is essential.

Reporting tools give your workers all the insights they need to perform better, leading to increased fulfilment and job satisfaction. If you’re looking to boost productivity, this is the way to engage your teams. Analytics can help customer service agents see the whole picture, not just pieces of the puzzle, and this is what it takes to deliver big results.

By operating your contact center in the cloud and leveraging automation and analytics, you can improve decision-making, while also getting the inside track on every single customer interaction.

Cloud contact centers are, without a doubt, the future of customer relationship management, and agility, flexibility and adaptability will be the make or break of retailers as we move into a fully digitized shopping world.

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