Every company has a strategy. The online business dictionary defines strategy as a method/plan chosen to bring about the desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem. It is also the art and science of planning and marshaling resources for their most effective and efficient use.
These definitions are straightforward and to bring them closer home. A business exists to solve a problem, and the strategy guides them on the steps to take to solve those issues. For example, a contact center exists to provide customer service support to various companies; therefore, they need to have a strategy in place to provide the best customer service support on behalf of their clients.
With the understanding that contact centers work on behalf of other companies, here are steps to take when articulating contact center strategies;
Step 1: Understand your client’s corporate strategy
A client will come to the contact center with the aim of outsourcing their customer service support function and expect that you will offer excellent services that will leave all their customers satisfied in a cost efficient manner. On the other hand, the contact center will be ready to offer the service and will take the client through their procedures.
To start the relationship on the right foot, you need to understand what your potential client’s company stands for. What are their vision, mission and core values? Who are their key consumers? What do they want to achieve with their customers?
When you sit down with your client, you will understand whom they are and how you can plug in to offer a seamless experience for their customers. Bear in mind that whatever strategy you recommend to the client should not undermine their efforts thus far. Align your strategy to what is important to your client.
Step 2: Understand your client’s customer segmentation
How has the client defined his customers? A company normally has a primary and secondary customer segments. You need to find out which customer base they want to work more on. What are the main issues they want to be resolved.
For instance, they may want to increase revenues from the primary segment by reducing customer service expenses. With that information, you will know the best strategies to develop and implement, that will help them achieve their objective.
You will also understand how to differentiate between the two customer segments, thereby, appoint the right agents for the job.
Step 3: Understand the applicable boundaries
As the contact center, you are the bridge between the client and their customers. If you do not align the company’s strategy with your strategy, you can easily have a disproportional impact on the overall attainment of the company goals.
This third step will help you know what is applicable and what is not. For example, the client might require something that is against the contact center policies and procedures. You should not cross that boundary no matter what and the client needs to understand that as well, thereby, manage his expectations.
The contact center and the client should be comfortable with the agreed boundaries.
Step 4: Examine your KPI’s
Next step is to examine your existing KPI’s and metrics. It is important to do so because you already have tools in place to measure them. Check whether they will apply to and meet the clients’ needs.
As you examine them, remember to consider how your employees have been working, and how any change implemented will affect them. For instance, if you have measured quality metrics more like FCR and now you have to focus on efficiency metric like Average Handle Time. How it affect your employees? Will they feel conflicted?
Ensure the strategies you put in place will not affect your employee satisfaction at work; otherwise, they will all quit.
Step 5: Monitor and review your forecasts
Workload forecast is vital for the contact center because it facilitates scheduling. With the new client, how do you anticipate the demand forecast to change? By looking at the current channels their customers prefer, you can forecast the channel that will be busy.
You expect either the calls volumes or chats or emails or self-service to increase or a combination of them. Need to have proper forecast because if you are under-staff, customers will be dissatisfied thus affect the client’s business as well as yours. If you are overstaffed, you will waste resources thus affecting your revenue.
Step 6: Examine your company operations
Finally, you need to consider how the changes will affect your business operations. You have looked at the people, technology and processes, and now you need to look at the structural change. Any change will cost the company, and you should justify the costs to the management before any implementing any of them.
Any changes to the contact center operations should improve the strategic alignment.
With the above six steps, you can articulate contact center strategies that will enhance the organization’s objectives while meeting clients’ expectations.