When it comes to what contact centre professionals want their technology investments to deliver for them, improving sales performance and reducing staffing costs came bottom of the list according to a recent report on ‘Customer Service in 2015’ published by Business Systems.
Incorporating survey results from over 100 contact centre professionals, just 17.9% of respondents wanted their technology to improve sales performance, 17.9% again stated reducing staffing costs and 18.9% wanted their technology to reduce waste in the contact centre.
Unsurprisingly top of the list at 62.3% was ‘improving the customer experience’ followed by improving first call resolution (FCR) at 45.3% and better understanding the voice of the customer at 41.5%. It is evident from the results that contact centre priorities lie first and foremost with addressing customer experience, resolving customer issues as quickly as possible, whilst also trying to better understand those issues. Contact centres appear to be less driven by the commercial benefits technology investments bring even though that investment may be funded primarily from revenue growth.
Carolyn Blunt, Managing Director of Real Results Training and Co-author of Delivering Effective Social Customer Service puts things into perspective “for the majority of contact centres, customer service is the top priority. Most metrics are focused on customer service performance so it makes sense that respondents have answered in the way they have.
Sales may not be part of their role and even if it is, they may not be incentivised. Even if they are focused on cross or up sell opportunities they may find that a lot of calls or contacts are reporting issues and queries. Therefore customer experience and FCR are vitally important; in order to correct the customer journey before trying to sell anything else. Have you ever tried to upsell to an angry customer? Not fun! Not likely to work!”
Julie Kerman, Sales Manager at Business Systems adds “within our own organisation the sales and customer service function are two separate entities and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the case in a lot of the contact centres. Depending on the complexity of the products or services you are selling it can require a very different set of skills to effectively sell when compared to successfully handling and processing customer issues.”
When it came to using technology to tackle employee engagement and assist with retention of employees, again this featured much further down the priority list of deliverables for contact centres. Carolyn makes a good point here by highlighting that “improving the customer experience and FCR would improve both the lives of customers and staff in the contact centre; and would naturally increase loyalty and therefore sales.” The outputs here would also have a positive impact on employee retention and engagement.
Representing a number of different contact centre industries, the ‘Customer Service in 2015’ report goes on to look at key employee engagement and customer service challenges in the year ahead.