Have you ever called up your insurance company and immediately got placed on hold? Have you ever call up your cell phone carrier and after a few prompts from you verifying your account you were directed to a live agent that helped you? How about when you call into your telecom service provider and you’re having a major outage and you need tier 5, red alert support, but you only get a tier 1 guy and have to be transferred and placed back on hold? I will get into 5 different ways contact centers play an integral role in the way we do business.
So, you called into your cell phone carrier...maybe you simply wanted to pay a bill or talk about upgrading your cell phone to the latest and greatest? Once you call that 8xx number you’re automatically in the IVR or Integrated Voice Routing/Response and ACD (automatic call distribution) system where it asks you to verify name and account information and why you’re calling. Based on those answers you are transferred to the correct agent to help you. In a great contact center environment when you talk to a live person that information you ALREADY entered into the IVR is populated within that agent’s system so that they can be prepared to answer any and all questions you have. They might even see when you called in last, why you called and how that call and interaction ended. Call routing and your experience is directly correlated to that carrier’s brand so when you call in the flow of how you go to the agent and your experience with them has to be on point.
Ok so what else? Well, not everyone likes to pick up the phone to interact with the companies they do business with. We’re all busy and we constantly keep our face in our phones, laptops and tablets. According to “Statista” by 2020 we, as a planet, will have 3 billion smartphones in hand consuming everything on the internet. That means that chat, texting/sms and of course email is huge! When you want to troubleshoot an issue with your Sonos wireless speakers you don’t have to call them up, you can send them a text or chat with them through the website support channel. In broader terms this is called “Omnichannel," the routing and connection into the IVR mentioned above. When you combine all the mediums to communicate with your customers and make it that easy to interact you’re bound to have a great customer service experience.
How you get in touch with your favorite brand and how that brand let’s you get in touch with them is a factor to whether you’ll ever do business with them again. Customer experience is everything and one bad experience ruins everything and it definitely spreads with the help of social media.
This brings me to my third point. Contact centers and most importantly the companies that deploy the solutions must take into account who their customer base is. In the example of the telecom carrier when you call in to get some help on troubleshooting your connection you definitely want to get a live person on the phone right away. However, when you do hit that 8xx number and punch in your information you want the agent who answers, after waiting for who knows how long, to be ready with your information in hand. When that doesn’t happen and you must explain yourself two or three times there is definite frustration that will occur. With the right integrations in the back end system tying into the contact center software you could avoid all of this. This is called CTI or Customer Telephony Integration. You know who has the best CTI? In my personal experience I can tell you, T-Mobile has it down. Every time I call into the contact center they always remember and reference my last few calls. Until I realized they have a pop up with all my information right in front of them with last call notes I thought they were just psychics. Clearly I was wrong. They know how to make their customers happy and it all starts with the engagement on the phone, and their CTI system comprised of notes and follow ups recorded in the system through the contact center.
Now let’s get into the fun stuff! Let's talk about sales and marketing. Sales is the foundation of any business. (I think you and I can agree on that.) However, if you can take a sales outreach rep to another level, you'll turn an average rep into an outbound machine! A ton of businesses have sales teams that need to reach out to prospective customer to qualify and sell their solutions and doing that at a larger scale is where a function of the contact center comes into play with an outbound “Dialer”. Within this function you can enable your sales team to upload hundreds or even thousands of names into the contact center system. This will then integrate with most CRM’s such as Salesforce, NetSuite or Zoho and allow you to automatically dial through your list of customers within hours instead of days. This allows for maximum productivity in a shorter amount of time for your sales team, which will keep them sharp when they need to get on the phone. If a business can use the dialers correctly and actually have a sales rep on the other end that is well trained, then this is a great way to ramp up new business for any outbound sales organization. Alright so what else can you do with the contact center? You can do any of the following:
- Call quality
- Voice recording
Do you care about your people and their ongoing success at your company and want to give them a sense of empowerment? Then providing contact centers with voice recording for training purposes is the way to go. An ineffective sales person, with just a little help and mentoring from his managers, will turn himself around and regain confidence once he listens to how he handles each and every one of his calls. When I played baseball, I watched videos from prior games and researched myself and my opponents before taking the mound at the next game. The same concept applies here. You can only get better if you prepare.
Lastly, an important piece in every new contact center solution is the ability to manage your workforce. For example, some companies in the financial industry, healthcare and e-commerce have hundreds to thousands of agents worldwide. Not being able to manage that workforce can become a huge problem. Contact centers now have the ability to provide WFO/WFM or “Workforce Optimization”/” Workforce Management” that ties directly into how you manage the day to day operations for employees. It gives you key metrics into what agents are doing, how their calls went, how they sounded and how calls ended with call recording for training purposes. Customer experience is the driving factor behind this part of the contact center because a happy customer equals new and repeat business.
So there you have it. Five new things you didn’t know a contact center was or how it impacts business globally. Where do you go from here? Are you a VP of Sales looking to increase productivity by 4x? Are you a Marketing Manager looking to improve your Net Promoter Score and Customer Experience through the buying journey? Look no further as we here at AtlasIP have the experience and best in class solutions to meet those challenges head on and achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. Feel free to reach out to us in the comments section or shoot us an email and we’ll be happy to help you take your business to the next level! I'd also love to read what your experience with various contacts centers have been, so please share your experiences below!
Daniel Macias – Telecom Sales Professional