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Adaptive IVR Blog

Contact Center Execs: 5 Pains Keeping You Up at Night

Contact Center Exec issues keeping you up at night Are you lying awake worrying about your contact center’s operations and more? Many executives experience constant anxiety from trying to juggle competing priorities. Time is precious and you don’t have enough of it to do more – you need solutions to ease your burden, not add to it.

What if you could make some simple modifications to turn that insomnia into a peaceful night's sleep?

Yawn once if these 5 painful issues impact your sleep:

  1. Changing customer needs: The simple tactics of keeping the lights on in the shop and running well goes hand in hand with having time to build a sustaining customer engagement strategy and planning for new ways to serve the evolving needs of today’s customer. Monitoring day-to-day processes can be surprisingly time-consuming, but you also need to think about enhancing your technology, adding new services and surpassing the competition. Invariably new technologies will be needed, but first you need a better scope on how things are running now, and how you can leverage what tools you’ve got in your contact center technology set to its fullest potential (if there’s any more room for improvement, that is).
  • Is the front gate of your contact center (your IVR) doing the heavy lifting it should be doing - authenticating, personalizing, streamlining interactions, providing answers?
  • Can customers easily self-serve to ease agent burdens and time? If more customers get what they need at the onset of their interaction, your agents gain time back.
  • Are you able to support digital consumer demands, where quick, easy and mobile options best serve customers on the go?
  • Can you track all that and is the data actionable?   
  1. Optimizing staffing: Recruiting, hiring and retaining the right number of contact center agents is just the beginning. You need to make sure these agents are well-trained and have the latest skills and knowledge so they can answer questions and resolve issues quickly and efficiently. Keeping the “butts in seats” consistently with happy, productive and fully operationalized teams is at the top of every exec’s list.
  • Does your technology provide you with information about how that’s working? 
  1. Managing costs: Keeping costs under control – without staff burnout – can be tricky when call volumes vary. Spikes can occur when there’s a new offering, seasonal demand or a product recall. It’s hard to strike the perfect balance between spending enough time with each customer and avoiding long wait times that can frustrate other callers.
  • Are your contact center technologies in your toolset helping you maintain cost-efficient operations to the fullest extent? 
  1. Making the grade on metrics: Every contact center is held to account in multiple ways, from first call resolution to SLAs, and from escalations to satisfaction survey results. This may be the most important source of your sleepless nights. Meeting or exceeding requirements is critical to the business and your own track record.
  • Does your contact center data provide you clear and actionable insights you need to manage your business? If any of these keep you up at night, there’s no surprise:
    • meeting KPIs
    • call volumes
    • first call resolution
    • call handle and resolution time
    • quality measures
    • service levels
    • CX/CSAT scores 
  1. Getting personal: In addition to all your tossing and turning about contact center operations, you may be on edge regarding career advancement and personal goals. There’s an ongoing tug-of-war between devoting more effort to operational or CX issues and focusing on professional and personal concerns. The more problems you face at work, the less time you have for your kids, for example. And putting out fires all day leaves you with little energy for strategic projects that can enhance your resume.
  • What do you want to accomplish next in your role and your career?
  • Are you and your team maintaining normal or near normal working hours?
  • When’s the last time you scheduled a team-building or training?
  • Can you relax when going home at night with your family and friends?
  • Are you personally satisfied, heck are you happy with how things are going?

Sleeping soundly

Contact Center Exec: 5 pains keeping you up at night can be fixedWhile we can’t tell you what to do next in your career, we can certainly help you improve the outlook. The answer to improving operational efficiencies and engagement practices comes down to working smarter.

That, in turn, means greater reliance on accurate, timely information to guide your short-term and long-term priorities, activities and goals.

To execs who are hoping for a better night’s sleep – what if we told you that the solution to reducing operational overload is right in front of you?

That’s right – solutions you depend on in your contact center can improve many of these pains when they work together, but unfortunately today most organizations are missing the link between them. We’re talking about a complete picture of the interactions and customer data at the front gate in the IVR before customers need agent assistance to interaction data collected when customers engage with your agents – and strengthen that combination with a comparative view of what’s happening today on both sides of the interactions and how this powerhouse of customer engagement knowledge can help you improve your contact center outlook. 

  • Before engaging an agent: interactive voice response (IVR) – where customers first enter your call center, authenticate and can cover the ground work of their needs.
  • While engaging an agent: workforce optimization (WFO) – where agent effectiveness is managed, tracked, and optimized.

So why aren’t contact center execs doing this today? Simply, it could be that your technology stack or the data it provides is lacking. Or, perhaps the metrics aren’t being leveraged as supporting data points to improve customer and agent engagement. It’s a new way of looking at solutions right in your toolset.

The key is connecting the dots between IVR and WFO data insights to improve outcomes.

  • Setting priorities
  • Anticipating issues
  • Balancing strategy and tactics
  • Controlling costs
  • Addressing KPIs

Joining forces

Your WFO generates large volumes of data about agent/caller interactions that form the basis for root-cause analysis, process improvements and real-time analytics.

  • It gives you insights into your workforce’s performance, training needs, effectiveness of customer service processes and level of customer loyalty.
  • You can identify unusual patterns that impact your staffing and management to address customer needs.

This information is valuable, but it becomes even more so when combined with customer data from the IVR that reveals customer engagement choices, preferences and patterns while they self-serve. To complement the WFO’s focus on your workforce, the IVR reveals a great deal about your customers. Data can indicate call volume patterns, spikes and trends, authentication measures, usage preferences (such as language), interaction anomalies, rates of self-service automation vs. agent transfers and much more.

  • Signs are there about routine caller patterns, call spikes, issues and menu choices.
  • Warning signs appear when unusual spikes occur, that can indicate higher selection of specific menu choices, more agent transfers, lower successful goal completions.
But if you are not looking at both data sets, it’s like the infamous Redwood tree falling in the forest when no one’s around. It’s easy to miss or overlook.

Like a tree falling when no one's around,  easy to miss contact center warning signsBringing these two data sources together creates a full picture of end-to-end contact center operations, making it easier to spot issues, trends and weaknesses. With a broader yet detailed view, you’ll gain a better understanding of where to devote:

  • Time
  • Budget
  • Training efforts
  • Technology investments

That way, you won’t be spinning cycles about non-essential issues. Instead, you’ll free up time for things that make a difference:

  • Strategic planning
  • Business development
  • Training and retention
  • Better engagement
  • Your daughter’s softball game

You get the picture.  

Sample: cost reduction

Your WFO and IVR systems can also have a direct impact on costs. For example, adaptive (as opposed to commodity) IVR technology actually encourages callers to complete their transaction using cost-effective self-service instead of requesting help from an expensive live agent.

An underperforming IVR can lose callers to your agents – because they find the experience impersonal, frustrating or time-consuming. More agent transfers add up fast:

  • A mere 5% jump in agent-handled calls per month due to a substandard IVR can require staffing increases that add up to millions of dollars each year. Now there’s a nightmare!
  • On the other hand, a 5% decrease in agent-handled calls thanks to adaptive IVR technology can free up budget for capital investments, training and other business priorities.

So, trade in your insomnia for sweet dreams by combining rich IVR data with the output from your WFO. The results will improve the quality of your contact center operation -- and your sleep.

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Topics: Industry Insights Customer Care IVR Business Case Performance Optimization Customer Experience Process Improvement Customer Data Contact Center Insights