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Understanding the service you offer and optimising it

In a world where customer service can be the difference between success and failure, what really makes the difference?

The answer is very clear, get the basics right.

  • First point resolution

  • Update customers even if you don’t have an answer

  • Use the right technology

  • Manage the solution through facts and data

Sounds easy, right? Wrong!

The amount of work that needs to happen in order to get these fundamentals right is extraordinary.

The first thing to do will be to work out what sort of contact centre you want to offer your customers? Some examples are below:

  • A Centre of Excellence - This involves highly knowledgeable agents, latest technology and large investment from the business. The centre provides a premium service, quick response times and multiple communication channels.

  • The Customer Service Sales Funnel – This type of contact centre turns customer complaints into new sales. Typically reactive and offering anything in order to keep the customer.

  • The ‘me too’ Contact Centre – This is where you provide just enough support for your customers but nothing more. You offer the industry standard for your industry and this is acceptable for the business.

  • Sales – We’ve all seen these, typically commission-based type of operation, staff can be knowledgeable but usually a high turnover of individuals and requires a lot of calls to make a sale.

There are many permutations of the different types of contact centres, but the first step is understanding what experience the business wants to offer. I’ve lost count of the amount of contact centres I’ve gone into who state they want to be a centre of excellence but they don’t have the investment or ‘will’ to make it happen and it turns out that the ‘me too’ contact centre is perfectly acceptable to the business.

Once you’ve decided what type of contact centre you want to be, then you can start on the journey to fulfil your ambition.

Having the right, relevant and aligned infrastructure forms the foundations. This means a CRM that presents the ‘right’ information to agents when they need it, a technology platform which is intuitive, offering different media channels and lastly an environment which is suitable and appropriate for what you want to portray to your customers.

Secondly you need the right people and the right investment from the business to create a proactive culture. This can be very difficult and may be hindered by location, available skills or lack of funds.

And lastly you need to offer continuous improvement. This is not just about achieving or exceeding your SLA’s, this is about continually optimising the entire operation in order to be more efficient, provide a better service, look for new opportunities and show how you are different from the competition.

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