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Believe in your call centre

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Customer service is changing, broadly driven by three areas - people, places and technology. Find out how changes in these areas can help you deliver better customer service. …

Customer service is changing, broadly driven by three areas - people, places and technology. Find out how changes in these areas can help you deliver better customer service.

Do you believe in your contact centre?

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  • Time and again, surveys of customers show that quality service is a differentiator that improves customer satisfaction. These stats are some of many that show how good service allows companies to differentiate themselves in a world of increasingly similar products.If you can, add some personal anecdotes here about the way you felt when you received good or bad service from a company.However, there appears to be a major disconnect between how companies view the quality of the service they deliver, and the consumers view of that service. This is reflected in the poor perception of contact centres, and the rise of social media and online interactions with companies.What is the benefit of this change to companies?
  • As with every initiative, this will only succeed if it is driven from the top down – not just team leaders, but CEO/MD level must Believe in the value of the contact centreAs an example, Ken Kannappan knows the average speed to answer calls in the PLT contact centres. He monitors this, and questions any change seen. He believes in offering excellent customer service.
  • Addressing all issues around getting the right people
  • Later in the presentation, we’ll show that working outside of a central environment is becoming more common. This implies that a great deal more trust is needed between managers and employees – no more management by walking around!A number of studies have shown that when people are given the freedom to work remotely, or at home, they work harder or longer. In some cases this is proving that they are worthy of the trust being put in them, and changing their work approach to ensure they keep that ability to work where suits them best.Main point to emphasise on this slide is that with that advent of social media, then every interaction has the potential to influence your brand – positively or negatively.
  • This is an extract from Twitter – the author is Lord Alan Sugar with approx 170K followers.The point to get over here is that those 170K followers drive a very large amount of influence. By posting on social media, people with a large amount of followers have more influence over getting a company to deliver the service they want or expect. The channel doesn’t have to be Twitter, it can be Facebook, Quora, LinkedIn, Xing, Youtube or any similar ‘social’ platform If you aren’t in the UK, then swap this slide out and replace with a local version showing a similar interaction
  • These are further examples of social media interactions that have proved to be negative for companies. David Carroll allegedly caused a 10% reduction in the price of United’s shares (think about how powerful this argument is for C level executives)Lily Allen’s tweet about BT managed to get the CEO of BT onto the phone to solve her problem directly – how expensive is this for companies to work like this?What do all of these have in common? None of them started on social media – they all started through traditional contact centre media such as the phone. All those companies that are investing large amounts in social media are mistaken – invest in your traditional channels as that’s where interactions start. If you deliver good service there, then your interactions on social media will be positive as people recommend your company – you won’t need to have the immediate panic response on social media that most companies use.
  • Customers are more empowered through internet driven knowledge. Dealing with customers who have this higher level of knowledge requires a different approach to ensure customer satisfaction. Companies can no longer follow a scripted approach – a ‘one size fits all’ method. Agents must be given the knowledge, tools, and flexibility to treat customers individually. Empowering them with this knowledge, and saying ‘you can’ will lead to improved customer service.Another benefit of empowering agents, is that this gives them greater self-determination – they have more control over what they say and do. They no longer feel part of a machine, and can allow a human touch to come through in their service. This greater self-determination leads to higher job satisfaction, which leads to more loyalty. Loyalty is a key measure in contact centres as high turnover of staff is a major expense. So, there is a financial benefit to companies by empowering staff – they have lower hiring, recruitment and training costs. There is also an additional benefit that knowledge is retained within an organisation enabling them keep a high level of service.
  • So with all this improvement in how you treat people, are you still going to make them work with last century’s tools?PLT CC teams get 10hrs training per monthWe’re not looking for people to use cutting edge innovation (example of ipad and BT headset), but to use the best technology that helps them meet their objectives. They should also invest in training for teams to ensure knowledge is kept up to date.
  • Most traditional contact centres have followed the centralised model, which is a single organisational unit where all resources are based. This is the simplest of the three models to manage as all resources and costs are in one place and can be co-ordinated en-masse: all calls are made, received and processed from within a single building by a regular, fixed workforce. Centralised contact centres are a good solution for long-term, routine contact with a large base of customers, all of whom share similar cultures, or at least speak the same languages. They offer the most controlled environment for relentlessly improving the customer experience. Having the entire workforce under a single roof enables the cultivation of a sense of community and common culture, which can really help create consistency across all employees’ work. Additionally, it enables teamwork and competition to be introduced to motivate employee performance, and also creates opportunities for the rapid escalation of customer issues between different departments. Most beneficially, however, the centralised contact centre model is the optimal model for low-cost personal development. Development programmes can be created, teaching sessions easily arranged, and on-the-job training also provided at a stroke. Moreover, having everyone in one place leads, inevitably, to anecdotal skills transfer, perhaps in the staff canteen over lunch for example. In an industry whose number one challenge is maintaining consistent skills, the ability to deliver training so effectively is a key benefit of the centralised model. From a data security perspective, centralised contact centres offer the best protection, as their IT systems can be standardised and locked-down for most employees, with restricted access from outside the building. That means that while employees may be able to access personal details of individual customers as required, only privileged system users have access to many records at the same time, and it’s near impossible to hack-in from outside. Moreover, centralised contact centres provide the best perimeter security and it’s very difficult for employees to record and steal customers’ personal information and credit details. In an age of ever increasing data liability, and depending on the industry, security may be a crucial consideration. In general, the centralised contact centre offers control over every aspect of the working environment, from the computer systems used right through to the acoustic environment. With modern headset technology, the level of background noise can even be moderated and tuned to make sure that customers hear nothing but the person they’re speaking to. Centralised contact centres offer strong economies of scale: they are often based in high occupancy offices on non-premium real estate; administration is much easier, with payroll, HR and people-management functions co-located under one roof; bulk discounts can be negotiated on capital investments like technology, and strong savings can also be made on operating costs. However, while they can offer good returns per employee, they do also require a high fixed capital investment, which is usually spread over several years. They are not, therefore, a flexible option. Indeed, with their heavy overall operating costs, centralised contact centres become very expensive if, for any reason, they operate below capacity, or, indeed, become unable to operate at all. Issues like technical redundancy therefore become crucial to ensure that phone lines can still be kept up, for example, even when the primary telecommunications supplier goes down. Another problem with centralised contact centres is that they can feel like unnatural working environments to employees. A common complaint is “battery hen syndrome”, and some people would rule-out contact centre work altogether, although that tends to diminish in roles with greater autonomy. From the customer perspective, a centralised contact centre is the model most likely to provide a consistent quality of service, but many customers prefer to believe they are receiving a more personalised service, particularly in the case of high-value products. For businesses that frequently need to offer highly specialist advice, or operate across several different cultures and language-zones, attempting to centralise all resources in a single location may be counter-productive. Moreover, for many businesses, the set-up costs of even quite modest centralised contact centres are prohibitively high
  • An increasing trend over recent years is to create contact centre hubs, which group resources together in different locations, connected with modern technology. All office resources and costs are managed and controlled by the business, and all calls are made, received and processed from each location. Contact centre hubs are, effectively, local offices, and are perfect for dealing with customers that are distributed over a large area, or for short-term campaigns in different areas. The model shares many of the benefits of the centralised model, although each hub is typically smaller. That means the set-up and operating costs may be lower per hub, but so too will the economies of scale, so the cost per employee may well be higher. Contact centre hubs also offer a highly controlled environment for relentlessly improving the customer experience. Indeed, they share most of the advantages of centralised contact centres in creating strong communities and cultivating teamwork. Plus, although culturally different – perhaps the reason they were set-up in different locations in the first place – there are strong opportunities to encourage competition. Crucially, the training advantages of centralised contact centres apply to hubs too. The two main reasons for businesses to deploy hub contact centres are to include local knowledge, culture or languages within their service offering, or to make it easier to access certain kinds of people as employees. In the first case, it might be simply that a business needs telephone-based support for a product launch in England, France and Germany. While it would certainly be possible to recruit multi-lingual employees to a centralised contact centre, it might just be easier to resource contact centre hubs in each country. In addition to speaking the language more naturally, the customer experience may well be improved with shared cultural references and easier rapport. Moreover, with smaller offices on shorter leases, there is the added flexibility to phase out the operation after a period of time. Hubs are also ideal for capitalising on particular groups of people as employees. For example, if a business in a particular industry makes redundancies, an opportunist competitor might open a local hub to benefit from the available, skilled workforce. Alternatively, in the example just above, the product launch business might locate a remote hub in Switzerland to give access to many people who speak French, German and English. Alternatively, hubs can be set-up in locations to capture certain demographics as employees, such as mothers returning to work or older workers who want to go part-time. Although perimeter security is just as strong as with the centralised model, contact centre hubs are reliant on sharing information over public networks to co-ordinate activities, which creates a nominal additional security risk. There are also higher facilities management overheads in managing multiple hub sites, and those that operate below capacity also pose similar financial risks to centralised contact centres. To employees and customers, hubs are not very dissimilar to centralised contact centres. There is still a contact centre culture, and still a commute to a fixed place of work, although they are often found in more central locations.
  • The long-promised goal of home working, or “home shoring”, is at last becoming a reality, with skilled individuals using modern technology to connect with customers, contact centres, hubs and each other. In this model, the employees operate remotely, usually with systems supplied by the business, and calls are typically made, received and processed via a contact centre, hub or other business-owned resource. Home workers represent the ultimate in flexibility for a contact centre, offering scalability at zero fixed cost and negligible incremental cost. They are by far the lowest cost option for contact centre resourcing. Those who work from home are considerably more loyal than centralised or hub employees. In the very worst cases, staff turnover can be as high as 60 per cent in centralised contact centres, but it’s in single digits for home workers, and typically less than 5 per cent. Home workers can offer skills and expertise via the contact centre that may not be within physical commuting distance. That means a business can potentially launch new services, up-size existing ones, or expand into new territories quickly and easily by using remote workers. Indeed, home workers make it possible for businesses to experiment with new service offerings without making any additional fixed investment. The virtual contact centre model can also be attractive to those who would choose not to work in a typical contact centre environment, or for whom the cost or time involved in commuting is prohibitive. The evolution towards virtual contact centres is being made possible by new technology that enables calls to be routed seamlessly to home working agents. Systems vary in complexity but typically don’t require any additional hardware investment other than existing phone lines and perhaps a home computer. Calls are routed to employees based on their skills, availability and the need to balance call volumes, and managers can keep a close eye on performance and call resolution with detailed, real-time statistics. Modern headsets can compensate for the more unpredictable home acoustic environment, with the ever-present risk of external noises such as children or barking dogs. Of course, the change in working practices also creates a need for brand new management approaches. Isolated home workers enjoy none of the physical community, cultural, competitive or training benefits of the centralised or hub models, and nor do they have any physical supervision. While an effective company extranet can provide up-to-date training materials and modern technology can deliver opportunities for remote management and social interaction, daily action is required to nurture team spirit and maintain morale, just as in physical contact centres. Additionally, home working creates data issues both in network security, where there are many more public network nodes that can be targeted by hackers, and also in perimeter security. The idea of individuals having unsupervised access to customer data from the privacy of their own homes is truly terrifying to some business leaders. Even with access to only one record at a time, it would be easy for an errant employee to record 500 sets of credit card data in just a week if they were handling 100 calls per day. Secure technology solutions are being developed to counter this issue, but there has been very little real-world evidence to suggest that this kind of fraud is actually a serious problem. Industries such as finance and medical, which were initially cautious about adopting virtual contact centres, are increasingly being won over by the benefits. And those benefits are substantial. For business, it means capital investment can be rationalised with potential cost savings of as much as 50 per cent; more flexible capacity planning is possible, with the potential to ramp-up resources exactly as required; there is less risk of a costly single point of technical failure as in the case of a dedicated contact centre, and loyal workers also make skills retention much easier. Employees enjoy flexible working hours, increased autonomy, and no commuting. Finally, for customers, it can mean access to more highly skilled people, specialist services and faster problem resolution
  • One of the advantages of a contact centre environment is that it is generally a controlled environment for noise. Most companies make some effort to control the level (and type) of background noise. When yo move out from these centres to hubs, and especially a home environment, the level and type of noise changes.Even if background noise in a contact centre is high, it sounds like general office noise and gives some measure of confidence to customers calling in.However, in a home environment, the background noise types can be vehicles (in the street), children, animals. These are obviously not typical ‘office’ sounds, and so if a customer hears these, it will lead to a loss of trust between customer and organisation.
  • So how do we reduce the impact of that background noise? This is where we start to bring in Plantronics strengths.EncorePro – the headset with the best noise cancelling. See next slide for competitive positioning. The ability to move the microphone freely ensures best performanceAudio Processors also work to reduce noise. They are best described as a ‘switch’ – if the noise level is below a threshold, they turn off the microphone reducing the effect of background noise even furtherSo, if there is less background noise, then the conversation can be heard clearer and easier, with less mistakes and repetitions. This leads to shorter calls – for contact centres this can mean less people for same level of service, or higher level of service with same number of people.Why better security? Well if you are talking to agent 1, and you can hear agent 2 reading out the credit card details of another customer, this is a major security compromise. By using the best noise cancelling, you can reduce these cross-conversations and hence reduce the security risk. This can also help with PCI compliance.
  • Large amounts of ‘easy’ customer service is moving to self-service – through options such as IVR or web. This means the calls coming into contact centres are increasingly more complex. This complexity is driving greater collaboration and escalation to resolve the issues.Escalation is a hit and miss affair currently – stand up, wave your hands. With UC, escalation becomes much easier to find the person who has both the right knowledge and is available. Savi then enables you to have a 3 way conversation between customer, expert and agent – this ensures the customer gets their issue resolved on the first call (First Call Resolution is a major measurement for contact centre managers). Companies are trying UC to use IM as an escalation route, but this is not a satisfactory interaction for customers as the agent keeps typing messages and acting as a relay to the expert. Some UC systems are using skill based presence – rather than having to know a name, you can find availability of an expert by their skill rather than name.Savi is still the only headset that enables this 3 way mixing – no other competitive products do this. And yes, an SI can enable this at the PBX level, but a headset is still a quick an easy way to implement this.
  • Acoustic Intelligence is a practice that runs across contact centre and office – its all about Getting the design of headsets right – the weight, balance, comfort. Evidence of this is our IF award for the EncoreProThe right technology – a key example here is wideband audio or HD Voice. All PLT professional headsets are wideband already.Once you get the technology right, now its time to get the most from your voice – The Speech Impact course will teach you this
  • Transcript

    • 1. Richard Kenny, EMEA Marketing Manager
      The Future of Customer Service
    • 2. 75% of consumers say they would do business with a company based on a great Contact Centre experience. 1
      80%of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8% of their customers agree. 2
      69%of large B2C organisations in the UK and US view their call centers as business-critical revenue generators. 3
      The Contact Centre is Changing – Why?
      8/5/2011
      2
      1 Genesys, Global Consumer Survey
      2 Bain & Company
      3 Loudhouse Research survey of strategic decision makers
    • 3. Believe
      3
      8/5/2011
    • 4. Three Areas That Drive Change
      8/5/2011
      4
      People
      Places
      Technology
    • 5. The Right People
      5
      8/5/2011
    • 6. Customer Experience Defined by Your People
      New management styles needed
      Trust
      Empowerment
      Investment
      8/5/2011
      6
    • 7. Culture based on Trust
      • Remote/mobile workers harder/longer
      • 8. Shared belief that people want to do a good job
      Employer and Employee on the same side
      • Pursuing same cause, vision, goal, objective, result
      People are self-motivated
      • With freedom, employees naturally take greater responsibility
      Every customer interaction influences your brand
      Positively or negatively
      A New Work Dynamic - TRUST
      8/5/2011
      7
    • 9. Big problem at home with BT internet they r tinkering to change to adsl 2. real cock up brain dead in call centre clueless.
      After 5 mins told BT bloke on phone who I was and I make pc's and routers for day job. Made no diff still went tru stupid check list.Help!
      This BT call centre is for biz line and so called VIP, hate to think what happens to normal consumers
      BT were talking cr.. my IT guy coming with new router to prove 100pc. Will spend today making BT CEO sorry he got out of bed this morn
      I touched a nerve at BT got top people on the case THANKS TO TWITTER : BT were monitoring . All fixed thanks to MY IT man long story......
      To be fair BT service to sort my Internet since highlighted on twitter been excellent I even got a call from the CEO. Investigating BELKIN
      Recognise This?
      8/5/2011
      8
    • 10. David Caroll
      United Breaks Guitars (Youtube – 9.5M views)
      Youp van ‘t Hek
      De Help (@youpvanthek - 75,000 followers)
      Lily Allen
      @lilyroseallen – 2.5M followers
      Have You Heard of ...?
      8/5/2011
      9
    • 11. It’s not just your call recording systems listening now ...
      8/5/2011
      10
    • 12. Customers are more empowered with knowledge gathered through self-service channels
      Companies can no longer afford to ‘follow the scripts’
      Poor service for customers
      Frustrating for agents
      Direct link between self-determination and job satisfaction
      Higher job satisfaction = lower agent turnover
      A New Work Dynamic - EMPOWERMENT
      8/5/2011
      11
      Lynn Holdsworth, Susan Cartwright, (2003) "Empowerment, stress and satisfaction: an exploratory study of a call centre", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 24 Iss: 3, pp.131 - 140
    • 13. You trust your team ...
      You’ve empowered them to solve problems ...
      But you’re not training them?
      And you want them to use last century’s technology?
      Investment in Contact Centres
      8/5/2011
      12
    • 14. The Workplace Revolution
      13
      8/5/2011
    • 15. Working Elsewhere
      8/5/2011
      14
    • 16. Centralised Contact Centre
      BENEFITS
      Simplest to manage
      Economies of scale
      Controlled environment
      Cultivation of common culture
      Low-cost of personnel development
      Best data security protection
      Noise controlled with environmental factors
      CHALLENGES
      High fixed CAPEX
      Heavy OPEX
      Unnatural work environments
      Difficult to offer ‘local’ service (language/knowledge) or specialist service offerings
      15
      8/5/2011
    • 17. Centralised Contact Hubs
      BENEFITS
      Resources grouped together in different locations
      Creates ‘local offices’
      Supports short-term campaigns
      Offers local language/knowledge support
      Can phase out operations when not needed
      Robust perimeter security
      CHALLENGES
      Cost per head may be higher
      Higher facilities management overheads
      16
      8/5/2011
    • 18. Virtual Hubs
      BENEFITS
      Ultimate in flexibility
      No geographical limits on deployment of skilled individuals and new expertise
      Zero fixed costs
      Cost savings as much as 50 percent
      Low investment in technology for end points
      CHALLENGES
      Acoustic challenges that need to be managed with headset technology
      Need to work harder to maintain culture
      Requires new management approach to maintain morale
      Data issues and network security
      Unsupervised access to customer data
      17
      8/5/2011
    • 19. Does your voice experience inspire trust?
      How do you deal with varying noise levels across multiple environments?
      Consistent Customer Experience?
      8/5/2011
      18
    • 20. EncorePro
      Best in class background noise reduction
      Complete flexibility on microphone position
      Audio Processors
      Reduce background noise for contact centre and customer
      Overall Impact?
      Easier to understand calls
      Less mistakes and repetitions
      Shorter calls
      Better Security
      Reduce the Impact of Noise?
      8/5/2011
      19
    • 21. Believe in Technology
    • 22. Unified Communications in the Contact Centre
      Transformation offering real benefits to first call resolution
      Delivering three way conversations
      Remote team collaboration
      8/5/2011
      21
      86% of companies are planning Unified Communications in the Contact Centre
      Nemertes Research annual benchmark survey, 2010
    • 23. Maximising collaboration in the contact centre
      Increasing number of calls need escalation
      UC used to find best available expert
      Savi wireless headset enables 3-way conversation
      Drives first call resolution
      Improves agent learning
      22
      8/5/2011
    • 24. Acoustic Intelligence
      8/5/2011
      23
      THE RIGHT CONVERSATION
      SPEECH IMPACT
      VOICE
      INTELLIGIBILITY
      THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
      AUDIO
      ERGONOMICS
      THE RIGHT DESIGN
      • Headsets offering protection against sudden unexpected sounds
    • Speech Impact
      8/5/2011
      24
      Pace
      Power
      Pause
      Pitch
    • 25. Believe
      25
      8/5/2011
    • 26. Benefits to Contact Centre Change
      • Shorter calls
      Reduced mistakes & repetitions
      • Reduced absenteeism & churn
      Working from home and trusting approach drives loyalty
      • Improved customer satisfaction
      Improved FCR through accessing back office expertise
      8/5/2011
      26
    • 27. Believe in the Contact Centre
      Management by trust
      Liberate your workplace
      Use the power of technology
      8/5/2011
      27
    • 28. Richard.kenny@plantronics.com
      www.mycontactcentre.com
      @mycontactcentre

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