Contact center management is hard. Very hard, actually.
You need to keep up with constantly growing and shifting customer expectations. You manage employees in an industry that has one of the highest turnover rates out there. You need insights and analytics that empower you to make the right decisions.
Let’s look into some ideas that will help you successfully manage your contact center environment while keeping your cool in the process.
- Choose the right contact center solution. In particular when you are in the market for a new solution, but really at any time you invest into your contact center – make sure you are choosing the right solution. Inadequate contact center software can not only hamper your ability to manage your operation appropriately, but also inhibit your agents from providing the superior customer experience you want to offer. It is one of your most important duties as a contact center manager to choose, monitor, and when needed, re-assess your solution — it must be the best fit for your contact center.
- Use data for better decision-making. In order to be able to make any educated decisions, remember the old saying: you cannot manage what you cannot measure. You need insight into what is and has been going on to be able to make the right decisions. That insight needs to at least include a thorough understanding of the customer experience, including measurements such as NPS and CSAT, how effective is your system from a routing and automation point of view, are your agents empowered to provide superior customer service, are you on target for your KPIs. Ensure your contact center provides you with both historical, as well as real-time insight.
- Consolidate tools. Managing your contact center takes time and effort. But you can minimize both by ensuring you have a consolidated solution that provides you with the ability to manage all contact center functionality — Administration, Routing, Reporting, Analytics, Quality Management, Workforce Management, as well as and all supported channels (voice and digital, inbound and outbound, serf-service / automation and agent assisted) in one solution with one common interface. Not only this saves time and effort, it also makes for more unified management and much less double work.
- Stay in touch with your agents at all times. You agents are your most valuable, and your most expensive resource. In an industry where the average turnover is beyond 30%, it is of vital importance to stay in touch with your agents and make sure you enable management and supervisors to keep attrition down. You need to manage against appropriate KPIs, provide user friendly, consolidated agent interfaces that enable your agents to do well. You need to train agents if and when required, and share lots of quality, actionable feedback. Also, keep in mind that agents are getting younger. Millennials and younger may appreciate different things: more flexible work hours, or working from home more often (which can be challenging if you do not have the right tools to manage). They also will self-manage and appreciate gamification! And remember to measure agent satisfaction — it will reflect in customer satisfaction!
- Empower other employees — in the contact center or beyond. Good management includes the ability to delegate. So ensure that your solution is flexible and user friendly enough so that you don’t have to do everything yourself. If you are in a position where you have a team that works with you, make sure your contact center solution has flexible user profiles and permissions that allow you to give everyone on the team exactly the access they need. Make sure that — if needed — your supervisors can make changes to their routing flows on their own, without kicking off a weeks-long IT project. And consider whether you might want to integrate subject matter experts outside of the traditional contact center to enable your agents to go the extra mile.
Whatever else you do, don’t forget to go out there on the floor every now and then, take a look and talk to your agents. They are your most direct tie to your customers — so keep in touch!