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The Evolution of Contact Centres: From Service Delivery to Value Generation
Contact centres have made significant strides as an outsourced function. What was initially considered a cost centre, now sits in a pivotal position in building and nurturing customer relationships. Moreover, it’s evolving as a revenue generating channel. Contact centres present a primary opportunity for businesses to make strong customer relationships and generate revenues. However, with customer loyalties becoming fickle in an exceedingly multi-channel world and technology seeping into all aspects of business, complexities have only increased within operations. The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry has led the way to keep up with these changes while creating value for clients.
The call centre has today evolved into a hub that provides customer service and generating revenue. Introduction of ‘Sales-through-Service’ model to contact centres work in favour of the business. A McKinsey report reveals that sales-through-service customer contact centre can generate up to 25% of total new revenues for mastercard companies and up to 60% for telecom operators. For example, when a contact centre agent fulfils a service needs of a consumer and goes further to probe sincerely about their broader need, he or she may be receptive to purchasing a new product. Businesses considering an outsourced contact centre should understand that this will have a sway on pricing models, which is beneficial to both the client and service provider. Pricing may be effectively tied to the outcomes from such a contact centre. The move to a revenue-generating contact centre coincides with the emerging strategy of clients using service providers who are ready to integrate effectively with their own business. This arrangement is formalised with an outcome-based pricing model that ties the revenue of the service provider with the commercial success of the client’s campaign. Not all customers are often retained by insurance companies. It is simpler to spot profitable customers and make a concerted effort to retain only them, than attempting to retain all. Here’s where analytics comes in handy. It allows insurers to spot profitable customers and deliver a direct message with the aim of cross-selling or up-selling.
Cloud-enablement and Analytical Insights in the contact centre
Contact centre systems architects need to cater for multiple channels that are unified in an exceedingly multi-channel portal, enabling one view of the customer. Systems architects must build system automation to allow the end-user to be able to take care of low complexity transactions. Another major technological advancement that’s changing the way contact centres operate is the Cloud. Cloud applications have made offering business services simpler, enabling easy lift-and-shift of operations to new locations without re-deploying technical architecture. The Cloud enables and supports plug-and-play deployments, and alternative placement options, such as remote-based agents. Technology developments have lead us to one of the foremost promising value-add advancements in contact centre operations, but one which is usually least understood – Analytics. BPO providers should integrate analytics services to their customers on top of providing high-end research. The analytics journey begins with collection and cleaning of data. Data explosion is a reality that companies currently have to tackle today. While most companies may sit on heaps of data, few have the correct blend of human capital and analysis tools to make sense of it. Contact centres are a starting point where data is generated. This data is important because it provides instant visibility into consumer behaviour, their choices and preferences. Offshore BPO providers with advanced analytical capabilities can become a support component for companies by creating informed strategic campaigns through understanding customer behaviour from contact centre data.
Multi-Channel Customer Service
Societal changes in addition to the convergence of technologies (social media, mobility and also the cloud) have had a control on contact centres. Now with the penetration of smartphones, more and more customers are finding their way onto social media. They have high expectations now of having their product or service complaints and queries to be solved immediately and effectively. Delays and ineffective efforts to resolve complaints often turn out to be negative consumer sentiments that impact overall brand equity. Social metrics became an integral part of brand equity mapping. For example, 1,000,000 likes on Facebook may be a big deal for companies, because it demonstrates the recognition of the brand. Multi-channel contact centre become central hubs that may bring businesses nearer its consumers from multiple channels. Furthermore, it provides companies with a unified view of the customer and a chance to forge stronger relationships.
In the middle of this whirlwind of developments are the frontline centre agents. No more are they expected to read from a script, get a response, and move on. As service complexity increases, agents are required to engage with consumer issues often at the time when they are already irritated, understand the technical product and service, and be able to cross-sell and up-sell. Analysis modelling, workforce management techniques, automation and social media tactics are but a number of the adaptations BPO providers are infusing into the contact centre strategy for enhanced business impact.
The Road Ahead…
With the emergence of Social Media, Analytics and Cloud technology, SMAC, a straightforward voice-based contact centre may not be suited to tackle complex customer and business demands. An outsourcing provider with experience in multi-channel contact centre delivery is best placed
to deliver value to companies. Disruptive innovation and increasing complexities, combined with a variety of seismic shifts within the market have led to companies refocusing their attention on their core business. Service providers offer more than low cost off-shoring – they re-engineer processes and use subject material expertise that a non-outsourced organisation might not have access to or inclination to deploy. The customer service business is becoming more specialised and scope of labor BPO providers deliver has evolved to over just responding to customer calls; it’s now about value delivery and also the convergence of technologies, and people.