The Importance of Unifying Processes to Excel in Customer Service
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The Importance of Unifying Processes to Excel in Customer Service

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The Importance of Unifying Processes to Excel in Customer Service The Importance of Unifying Processes to Excel in Customer Service Document Transcript

  • The Importance of UnifyingProcesses to Excel in CustomerServiceA business whitepaper written by Célia CerdeiraSponsored by Altitude Software
  • Would the Business Processes of Your Organization Benefit FromAutomation?Modern organizations must cater to the ever increasing needs and requests of their customersto ensure that they provide the best possible customer care. However, the majority of theexisting business processes do not really integrate all activities, are way too complex to deploy,not to mention the cost of such a solution. Providing the best customer care means that all thedepartments of the organization are synchronized, otherwise the risk of failure is extreme; andtoday´s customers expect nothing but the best and walk away to the provider next door if theydo not receive exactly that.Delivering the best customer experience is no longer exclusive to the contact center; however,the contact center acts as an aggregator of the several departments of the organization toensure the customer has the most pleasant experience. Customer care now extends to alldepartments, especially to the back-office.It is crucial that the contact center manager has a complete view of all stages of the process. Ifa problem occurs at a specific task, the contact center manager must be able to identify wherethe process stopped to solve the problem. Additionally, the complete view of the process alsoenables the contact center manager to make others accountable for the process stopping ifthe process stops at a department external to the contact center. Contact center managersknow that the processes that are not of their responsibility and can report that to internal orexternal customers. Page 2
  • Challenges faced by the organizationFacing today´s competitiveness in the market, organizations must keep up with the new trendsto ensure customer care, and thus, customer retention. The biggest challenge thatorganizations face in light of this new way of doing business is the ability to join all thedepartments that take part in the relationship with the customer. Organizations should have a structured business process with the goal of delivering the bestcustomer experience. A workflow process is the answer to these needs, as the process gathersthe relationship with the customer in a single task list, regardless of the place where thatrelationship occurs.Organizations that have processes scattered around several departments often deal withserious problems, such as the inability to integrate tasks with other activities, failure to delivertasks on time or not deliver tasks at all, failure to deliver tasks to the appropriate resource, lackof unified real monitoring, limited auditing and historical data just to name a few.Failing task deliveryHow do you think your customers would feel if they ordered something and never heard fromthe store again? Studies prove that a successful customer experience is the most importantfactor for customer retention; therefore, organizations must have an efficient method toorganize and deliver tasks.Often, tasks are not delivered on time or are lost. The failure to deliver tasks to theappropriate resource is also a major concern of organizations.Take as an example an organization that sells books. The customer sends an email to order abook and the back-office processes the order. However, the book is not in stock. The agent inthe back-office must send an email back to the customer to inform the customer that the bookis not available and place an order to the supplier. When the book arrives the agent must callthe customer to ask if the customer is still interested and proceed with the purchase. Theimage below illustrates the flow of the process.For this whole process to be successful everyone must do their job at the correct time. It iscrucial that the supporting technology aligns tasks and delivers the tasks, on time, to the mostappropriate resource. Page 3
  • Frequently, some tasks must be answered within a specific time frame according to thedefined service level agreements. Additionally, some tasks have a higher priority than others. Itis important that the selected workflow solution has a good support to task priorities andservice levels.Today´s organizations handle a myriad of activities. Ideally, the supporting technology shouldunify queues and routing, priorities, and service levels regardless of whether the activity is aworkflow task or an interaction.Altitude uCI solution Altitude uCI provides a unified routing engine and priority mechanism that ensures thattasks are delivered at the appropriate time. Tasks may be automatically delivered to theappropriate agent or the agent may select the tasks from a queue. If the policy of thecontact center is to allow agents to select which tasks to handle, Altitude uCI generatesalarms if the tasks are not handled within the defined time and allow contact centeroperations to take appropriate measures.Altitude uCI allows the automation of business processes to free agents from mechanicaltasks.Altitude uCI applies the same discipline to tasks as for other activities. For example,priorities and service levels also apply to tasks guaranteeing an efficient distribution of thework load.Inability to integrate tasks with other activitiesOne of the biggest challenges faced by enterprises is the lack of integration between thebusiness processes and the contact center. Usually they have several applications and tools tohandle the different activities. This may lead to a chaotic working environment and the dangerof losing information.First there were call centers, and then they evolved into contact centers. Nowadays contactcenter managers are expected to manage business processes. To be successful, they need toadopt a systematic approach toward operations and develop workflows that support and drivetheir business processes. Contact center managers need to define agent skills and rely on thetechnology to deliver the tasks of the process to the best agent.The agent application that supports the contact center activities should also support theworkflow tasks. Page 4
  • Altitude uCI solution The Altitude uCI solution has a real unified queue that Transcom Worldwideaggregates all activities. Agents use the Unified Desktop to “Using Altitude uCI, we have createdhandle tasks in the same way they handle any other activity. opportunities for Transcom toAltitude uCI matches the agent skills to the skills required by streamline processes andthe tasks; therefore, tasks are always handled by the most dramatically increase productivityappropriate agent to ensure the best customer experience. and service levels. Altitude uCI is a great fit with our business needs”Altitude uCI has a Knowledge Base with articles, emailtemplates, and quick text functionality that improves The result: “Transcom has improvedconsistency across all activity types. Agents use the its ability to meet client demands forKnowledge Base to be able to give the same information a complete CRM solution in all itsabout a subject, regardless of the activity type. locations, making use of technological solutions to enable theAdditionally, with Altitude uCI, the contact center can share efficient and integrated use ofhuman resources. Altitude uCI allows a complete unification multimedia communication channelsbetween the front and back-office and agents may be (voice, email, chat, web, fax), IVRallocated to work in several assignments that handle applications, predictive and powerdifferent types of activities at the same time. Contact center dialing solutions, call recording andoperations may easily move agents between assignments as workflow management solutions.”required by the workload. Director, Transcom WorldwideInability to view all the information of the customer/companyrelationshipOrganizations know that the way to provide the best service is to gather the knowledge thatthe organization has about the customer in a single place. And they are making an enormouseffort into that; however, the reality is that the knowledge is still spread out among the severaldepartments of the organization.Lacking an integrated knowledge of the customer leads to a poor customer experience assometimes customers are transferred unsuccessfully from one service to the next. If therelationship of the customer is not organized and gathered in one place, it is very difficult toserve the customer.Delivering an exceptional customer experience is a requirement for future purchases. Agentapplications that list past and pending activities for each customer, allowing agents to handlethem at any time, deliver exceptional power. Page 5
  • Altitude uCI solution The Altitude uCI solution has a unified view of the customer and allows agents to have, attheir fingertips, all the information that the organization has of the customer. Achieving a3600 view of the customer empowers agents to access all the information and provide anunforgettable customer experience. Knowledgeable agents are the best means to achievea higher customer retention rate.The Altitude Unified Desktop allows agents to view all past activities of the customer withthe contact center and the organization. Additionally, the list of pending activitiesempowers agents to adopt a proactive attitude towards enhancing the relationship withthe customer.Lack of unified real time monitoringBusiness decisions in real time require a complete view of all the processes and tasks of theworkflow. For example, it is crucial for contact center operations to have real time informationon how many processes are running, for how long they have been running, how long they havebeen waiting, the relationship of the processes and tasks with the other activities at thecontact center, and so on.If tasks are separated from other contact center activities and scattered around thedepartments of the organization, unified real time monitoring is only a mirage. Contact centeroperations need real time information to view what is going on, whether objectives are beingachieved; ultimately, to view the profit or result of the activities.Unified real time monitoring allows management to identify trends, issues, and improvementopportunities. If processes and activities are not integrated, unified monitoring is a completelyimpossible task as contact centers heavily rely on real time information to make decisions.Contact center operations depend on real time data to make informed real time decisions. Page 6
  • Altitude uCI solution Altitude uCI integrates all the tasks of the process and all the activities at the contactcenter. The integration allows the Altitude uCI Management Portal to display, in real time,all the relevant information to the performance of the contact center.Contact center operations have a near instant monitoring of workflow processes and areable to take preventive actions.Altitude uCI provides real time and historical business data to ensure compliance with theagreed service targets and KPIs.Processes scattered around several departmentsModern organizations do business across all departments of the organization; however, it isessential that the control of scattered processes is not exposed to any type of failure.Uncontrolled scattered processes lead to a poor performance in all aspects of the customerexperience and also in the daily management of the organization. For example, a customercalls the contact center complaining that an item ordered three weeks ago has not beenreceived. An excellent customer care service cannot avoid having tasks spread across severaldepartments, as it is essential that some tasks are assigned to specialists. Often, specialists areexternal to the contact center. Page 7
  • What can the contact center operations do? The buying process has so many different tasksthat it is very difficult and time consuming to figure out where the process stopped. We allknow that an upset customer does not have a lot of time to spare and wants answers rightaway.Even contact centers that have all the customer data cannot handle customer activities end-to-end. As soon as the customer requires something, contact centers must usually involve otherdepartments and systems external to the contact center.An ideal solution allows the contact center to access the workflows of the entire organizationas part of a whole, end-to-end process that seamlessly deals with the requests of thecustomer.Altitude uCI solutionAltitude uCI gathers all the tasks of the process to achieve a single view of the wholeprocess, breaking down silos to deliver substantial operational and customer care benefitsquickly and cost-effectively. Contact center operations are able to view, in real time, theprogress of the whole process or of specific tasks of the process.This single and unified view allows management to know exactly what is happening,where, and by whom. When the customer calls to complain about the overdue order, thecontact center manager knows exactly where the process stopped, which task has beendelayed, and who is responsible for the task stopping, whether it is internal or external tothe organization. Contact center management is geared with the knowledge to preventthe same issue to happen again.Limited auditing and historical dataKnowing who did what, when, how, and the result is fundamental. Auditing and historical datais crucial to view recurrent issues, make comparisons, and define improvement policies. It isalso important to measure productivity and reward human resources.Altitude uCI solution Altitude uCI provides historical monitoring and reporting data that enables organizationsto analyze the performance and make informed decisions based on real facts and nothypothesis. Additionally, reports and monitoring allow the responsible people at thecontact center to take measures to improve what may not be working as expected.Altitude uCI also stores auditing information. Both quality departments and humanresources can leverage Altitude uCI workflow data. It provides measures and facts for eachtime frame. For example, human resources can use performance information to rewardagent productivity. Page 8
  • Difficulty in changing defined processesOrganizations may already even have a workflow mechanism running at the contact center;however, what is the versatility of the process? How easy is it to change the flow of theprocess to meet new business demands? How long does it take to implement improvementopportunities? Is it possible to perform any operations while the process is running? Is it easyfor agents to adapt to the new tasks of the process?These questions should be taken into account when organizations decide for a workflowsolution.Altitude uCI solutionAltitude Workflow allows on-the-fly changes to the process. The flow may easily changeusing Altitude Scripting, allowing for continuous improvements of the workflow process.Contact center operations may easily perform operations such as cancel, suspend,activate, and so on with the process or the tasks of the process.Changes to the workflow process do not have impact on the work of agents as theguidance provided by Altitude Scripting makes retraining needs almost inexistent. Theflows are automated, agents do not need to know what comes next. Additionally, due touser guides, agents adapt pretty easily to the changes made and continue to handle tasksand do business as usual, regardless of the changes made to the process.Difficult human resource managementNowadays contact center resources are expected to manage all business processes. Managinghuman resources is probably the most demanding task at the contact center. Different skillsare needed and it is important to know who to hire and when. To improve agent retention, it isfundamental to measure and reward according to agent productivity.Contact centers often add new activities, resulting in extra worries for human resourcemanagement. Organizations already have at the disposal of the customer several types ofmedia channels that they can use, such as fax, email, SMS and so on, and an even largernumber of customer care and business processes tasks.In some organizations the tasks outnumber the calls received at the contact center; therefore,the staff may not be able to handle the work load. On the other hand, at other times, theamount of work is not sufficient to justify hiring more people. Consequently, the contactcenter is left over or under staffed because the volume of work is not steady. Training newagents may also mean added costs. It is crucial for organizations to optimize resources, takethe maximum profit from employee skills, and correctly prioritize each activity that arrives atthe contact center.The selected workflow solution should allow a unified queue with a real time prioritization ofactivities, tasks and interactions. Additionally, due to the frequent changes, the solution shouldnot require complex training. Page 9
  • Altitude uCI solution The Altitude uCI solution simplifies themanagement of human resources. The Altitude Banco SantanderUnified Desktop empowers agents to handle all “Using Altitude uCI, agents can betypes of activities with reduced training time. The simultaneously logged into inboundapplication is very simple and allows a rapid and outbound campaigns as thelearning curve in a short period of time. Agents workflow dictates - reducing inboundhandle workflow tasks just as any other type of customer queues and supportingactivity. Moreover, agents may be assigned to work critical revenue generating outboundin different campaigns, allowing the contact center campaigns”to share resources. The result: Banco Santander was ableAltitude uCI also generates skill demand reports to do more business with fewerthat provide information about the most required agents.skills. Contact center managers use reports to make Director, Banco Santanderinformed decisions about the type of agents to hireand the right time to hire the agents. PortugalReports provide information that easily allows themeasurement of the productivity, enabling thecontact center to reward agents according to theproductivity.Lack of integration with enterprise software systemsOrganizations often deal with the problem of not having a unified view of what is happening inall the used software systems. The contact center only sees the processes initiated at thecontact center and often lose their track as they move on to other departments.The selected solution should be open and straightforward to integrate bi-directionally with theenterprise solutions.Altitude uCI solutionWith Altitude uCI workflow it is straightforward to supports task capture from 3rdparty CRM systems using Web service interface. The system is bi-directional, ensuring thatchanges in the source system are immediately updated in Altitude uCI.Altitude uCI workflow can integrate with external workflow systems through Web services. Page 10
  • ConclusionIn the current economic environment organizations cannot have boundaries in what concernsproviding the best customer service. Gathering activities to optimize resources and managingoperations more efficiently is definitely the road to take to provide the best customerexperience.It is crucial that organizations have in place a mechanism that unifies all the departments ofthe organization to have a complete view of the processes that are related to the customer.Gathering all interaction types available to the customer into a single application simplifiesmanagement, optimizes business processes, and seems to be the best bet that organizationscan make to retain customers. Altitude uCI Workflow is provides organizations with the righttool to do that. Page 11