Building a Business Case: Outsourcing Your Contact Center

If your company looks at your contact center as an expense rather than a return on investment, it’s likely you underestimate the critical role contact centers play in delivering outstanding customer service.  Understand though, your contact center is the best way to keep a pulse on your customer satisfaction and experience, from acquisition to retention, and even win-back. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to build a successful business case on investing more in your Customer Experience.

Consider the following reasons as to why you should be outsourcing your contact center to build your brand:

1. When you outsource with a trusted vendor, you are able to focus on your core function and let the vendor do what they do best, which brings us to the next point:

2.The executives and operational management of outsourced contact centers have specialized industry knowledge and best practices.

3. Flexibility and scalability is crucial. Your in-house center is doing its best, but it simply can’t compete with what others offer. Partnering with a contact center like InfoCision allows you to quickly ramp up or dial back in size, depending on what your call volume looks like. This type of efficiency reduces your cost per call, and keeps customers happy by minimizing hold times.

4. Bilingual capabilities are vital in connecting with your audience. According to the most recent census,  Hispanics make up over 17% of the US population – and that number will only continue to grow. If you don’t have bilingual capabilities, you’ll likely see your brand take a hit.

5. Last, but certainly not least, we are living in an economy based on experience. If your customer service is anything less than exceptional, your customers will take their business elsewhere. Take care of them, meet their expectations, and have consistent touch points to ensure that the loyalty is there between your valued customers and your brand.

The Phone is Still Vital for Your Business

In a society full of tweets, texts and typing, it may come as a surprise that phone calls remain the preferred channel of communication when it comes to your brand’s customer service. Tried and true, customers prefer actual voice communication for a plethora of reasons, but above all else, simply because it is the easiest option when looking to connect with a brand’s customer service department.

Consider this: When you are trying to get a hold of an organization’s customer service department, more times than not it’s because you have an urgent problem needing to be resolved. From a customer perspective, you don’t want to be typing in circles to a chatbot trying to explain your issues. Further, sending emails back and forth is even more time consuming than the chatbot. Yet, if you simply call into the customer service department, an agent is able to quickly look up your profile and guide you to a resolution.

More so, depending on your brand’s target market, they may not all be internet-savvy, or even have access to the internet. According to this study, only 66% of U.S. adults ages 65+ are using internet, making it worthwhile to stay accessible with offline communication.

Reasonably so, your brand’s voice communication can be the distinguishing factor amongst your competitors.  Show your customers that you value them by giving them exceptional live-person interaction rather than a chatbot or IVR system. In doing so, you will create a positive customer experience, and in turn find increased satisfaction and loyalty.

The take-away: Understand that voice communication, done well, is vital to your brand’s success and can set your brand apart. Finding the right contact center partner to handle your voice communication is critical in fostering your brand’s growth.

To learn more on how InfoCision provides the highest quality contact center solutions, visit www.infocision.com

You Get What You Pay For, Period.

Picture this: You’re driving home from work and pondering what to pick up for dinner for your family. To your left, you see a drive thru with those famous gold arches, and to your right is a health foods grocery store. You’re contemplating whether you should spend a quick $15 on some greasy fries and burgers – or, if you should spend a few extra bucks and pick up some nutrient dense eats from the grab-n-go counter at the health foods store.

If you’re vested in providing the best for your family’s health, you’d undoubtedly hang a right and run into the grocery store over the cheaper, fast-food option. You get what you pay for, right?

Now apply that thinking when you’re partnering with a contact center. If you’re trying to cut costs in outsourcing your customer service, you can likely expect to be cutting corners, too.

Contact center pricing directly corresponds to the quality of service you will be receiving; The pricier contact center has higher quality agents – with higher education, which lends a hand to a higher wage expectation, and uses higher quality technology. In short, the price point they charge is a direct correlation to the money they put into their employees and infrastructure.

Sure, you could go with the cheaper route when outsourcing – but then you’d be dealing with the “greasy cheeseburger and fries” version of a contact center provider… and swim suit season is just around the corner.

Build Brand Loyalty with Active Listening

It’s been said time and time again that effective communication is key to any successful relationship. While applicable to the conversations between you and your children, significant other, and coworkers – one of the most important places for this principle to occur is within your contact center.

So, how can something so vital to success get lost in the daily shuffle for your agents? It’s instilled in call center representatives to follow their script when attempting to extinguish customer service fires, yet, words spelled out in a script don’t always convey the proper empathy that your valued customers are yearning – rather, they sound quite robotic.

Empathy and active listening are a duo that go hand in hand – think peanut butter and jelly… You don’t split up combination like that, and if you do, the end results aren’t as great.

For an agent to properly empathize with their customer, said agent must be actively listening to the customer’s frustrations and complaints. Exhibiting active listening in a call center entails asking follow-up questions to fully catch the fine points, not interrupting or cutting off the customer while they express their concerns, and occasionally repeating back what the customer has stated . While active listening may require a bit more time conversing between agent and customer, the customer will always appreciate the extra mile your agent has taken – building brand loyalty and cultivating future conversations.

Coach your agents on the importance of active listening and watch the results come back in a tenfold.

Key Takeaways from Deloitte Global Contact Center Study

Global businesses are utilizing contact centers to enhance the customer experience in increasingly complex ways. Customer choice is behind the wheel, driving contact centers towards greater emphasis on consumer needs and preferences. Deloitte’s Global Contact Center Survey provides insights from over 450 contact centers, shedding light on how business is changing for the better.

 

1.Customer Experience

Now a top priority, customer experience is driving contact center growth even more so than operational expansion. Customer experience and expectations are a key driver for 88% of the contact centers studied in 2017, with improvements in customer satisfaction (46%) outweighing revenue growth (3%) in importance.

 

Today, companies are reporting that customer feedback (54%) will motivate core business decisions moving forward. How will they do it? Technologies such as text analytics and social media listening are improving in quality, streamlining the process of feedback collection. For the customer, businesses view ease and accuracy of information (66%) as most important to future contact center interactions.

 

2.Complexity and Diversity of Channels

Context of contact and mediums for customer engagement are adding to the complexity and diversity of contact center interactions. Phone contact is expected to fall from 64% to 47% over the coming years, with chat and social media expanding as channels for customer engagement. Advancements in technology such as  “chat bots” are predicted to streamline integration challenges, growing to an estimated 16% by 2019, up from 6% in 2017.

 

Survey respondents have a major thing in common: investment in new technologies for return interactions. Advanced analytics (66%) and voice of the customer (54%) top the list of emerging capabilities that companies seek to invest in over the next two years.

 

Contact centers expect web capabilities (29%) and mobile applications (23%) will generate the greatest return on investment. What’s the main challenge to realizing investment potential? Integration of existing systems (63%) for the ultimate omnichannel customer experience, along with budget (56%) and change management (55%) for overseaing company transformation.

 

3.Talent

Focus is placed on improving talent for all survey respondents, citing the use of analytics (73%) and training programs (63%) as the key initiatives towards boosting staff. Outsourcing as a strategic method has reached a state of equilibrium, and flexible work programs are popular in the retention of employees, with 52% of companies planning on undertaking the initiative over the next two years.

 

The Moral of the Story

Maximizing the potential of technological advancements and its integration with multifaceted channels is improving the customer experience for corporate contact centers. Quality of talent is a developing initiative towards growth. And with customer experience at the forefront of contact center executives’ minds, the customer truly is “always right.”

Are You Chasing the Wrong Metrics?

You’re going on a trip to a new place three hours away, so you plug the address into your GPS and hit the road. Unwittingly, you type the right address, but in the wrong town. But without any proper context for your surroundings, you only learn of your mistake after you arrive at the wrong location, hours out of your way.

These kinds of things happen all the time. We get so focused on the data in front of our eyes that we don’t stop to look at the big picture, or to see if our data is really leading us where we think we’re going.

The same can certainly be true in the contact center, where you’re practically swimming in data. It can all be used to help drive new initiatives, support your bottom line and improve your ability to provide superior service. But if you’re chasing the wrong metrics, you may not know it until it’s too late.

If you’re not sure where to focus your attention, here are several suggestions to get you started.

First contact resolution rate: Customers are happy when their inquiry is resolved without having to repeat themselves or have their call transferred. In addition, it ensures that extra resources aren’t needed to resolve one person’s issue.

Forecasting accuracy: Modern contact center solutions empower businesses with predictive modeling for call volumes, which in turn provides a template for staffing needs. If your forecasts are accurate, it is likely you have the right number of people for the job, which in turn means happy customers and agents. If your forecasts are off, you may want to consider scaling up through outsourcing.

Cost per call: Your agents are both your greatest asset and your greatest liability. A well-trained and enthusiastic agent can transform service and foster lifelong business relationships. A poorly trained agent can send customers running for the hills in a matter of moments. Cost per call helps you determine how well your agents are being utilized, and to what ends. Follow this figure and you’ll have more control over your labor.

What else can you learn when you dig into the right data behind your contact center operations? Click here to learn more.

 

For Fundraising Campaigns, Still Nothing Like the Human Touch

Few contact center leaders will question the idea that artificial intelligence is set to be a staple of their operations for years to come. Not only can chatbots or virtual assistants make your customers lives easier, but it can make life easier for your agents as well.

Despite the nearing ubiquity of artificial intelligence, not every function of the contact center is best served with these tools.

This is particularly true of fundraising campaigns. Most people don’t like being solicited to begin with, and even fewer started the day looking for a way to lighten their wallets. As such, you have to tread carefully when engaging with potential donors.

So the question is, can you trust artificial intelligence to be able to strike the right tone with donors, balancing the need to generate as much funding as possible without alienating the individuals that your campaign relies on?

Even if you could, what does it say to your donors? While not all will take offense, some may feel slighted that you couldn’t be bothered to reach out yourself when asking for something as personal as a donation. Contact center leaders must take these subtle attitudes and behaviors into consideration when launching a new fundraiser if they hope for lasting success and strong relationships with their donors.

Of course, there is a time and a place for innovative contact center technology. But in the case of fundraising, there’s still nothing like the human touch. To see how your contact center can reach its full potential with the right blend of tools and people, click here.

The Curious Case of Carter Wilkerson

Late last year, 16-year old Carter Wilkerson hopped on Twitter to ask a seemingly innocuous question to fast-food titan Wendy’s: how many retweets would it take to earn him a year’s supply of free chicken nuggets?

Playfully, the restaurant’s social media team immediately jumped on the opportunity, tasking the teen with reaching 18 million retweets before it would accept Wilkerson’s terms. With an empty stomach and a catchy hashtag–#NuggsForCarter—a viral sensation was born.

Fast forward a few weeks, and Carter Wilkerson had reached over 3.5 million retweets. Not 18 million, but enough to beat the world record previously held by Ellen DeGeneres. Wilkerson quickly found himself a viral media sensation, making appearances on news networks and even getting the opportunity to meet DeGeneres herself, on her own TV show.

And though Wilkerson was roughly 14 million retweets short of the original goal, the media attention was too much for Wendy’s to ignore. Just over a month after the initial challenge was issued, Carter Wilkerson got his free chicken nuggets.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking Wendy’s was just being generous. One six-piece chicken nugget order costs just $1.79. Assuming Carter ate Wendy’s nuggets three meals a day, every day, for a year, Wendy’s would have to put up a total of $1,960.05. Not a bad expense considering that the campaign generated $6.72 million of marketing revenue through retweets and $450,000 in earned media value.

Not a bad return for 140 characters.

This isn’t just an interesting story, though. It’s a lesson for any contact center leader who has scoffed at the importance of social media, or the notion that there’s not a clear enough ROI to expand operations to include a dedicated social team.

But with social media interactions set to grow from 4 percent to 9 percent in 2019, the case is clear. Social media is here to stay, and your organization must a plan in place to adopt today. To learn more, click here.

Three Misconceptions About In-House Contact Centers

There’s no debate that having a robust customer service department is integral for success in today’s business landscape. But while this much is certain, there remains a striking divide among customer service executives as to how to provide that support.

While there has been a massive migration towards outsourcing of contact center operations, many businesses are still keeping their operations in-house. There are a variety of reasons that businesses continue to do this, but in many cases the arguments in favor of in-house support are driven merely by misconceptions about what is truly possible when utilizing disruptive contact center solutions.

Below, we have listed three of the most common misconceptions about in-house contact centers today. If these sound familiar to you, it may be time to consider outsourcing a portion of your customer service strategy.

We have more control when we keep our operations in-house- security, features, agents, etc.

Many people will mistake proximity for control. Just because you have agents in-house, using your company’s phones and headsets, that doesn’t mean you’re in control. Who’s managing the back-end logistical and IT issues? Who’s keeping your security patches up to date? And how are your agents going to perpetually train and learn if you’re constantly scaling your staffing to make due on your limited budget?

Outsourcing can provide you the extra agents you need in a pinch when it’s time to focus on training. But beyond agents, you’ll also be able to turn your attention away from the minor headaches associated with managing and maintaining your operations and focus on results—not control.

Other departments can’t communicate without in-house contact center-marketing/sales

It is true that contact centers act like the nerve center of your business operations. As such, it is easy to see why wary contact center leaders would be concerned about silos developing without an on-site contact center. However, the right partner will find a way to integrate into your system for more seamless communication between departments.

It’s an either/or proposition

Sometimes, contact center leaders are paralyzed by the idea that they must abandon all on-premise contact center operations in order to migrate to a hosted alternative. Fortunately, this doesn’t need to be the case. Whether it’s a seasonal spike in call volume or you’re rolling out a new marketing campaign, you may be best suited with a partial scale up to ensure appropriate staffing without breaking your budget.

Don’t let common misconceptions guide your contact center operations. To learn more, click here.

The Best Place to Outsource In the U.S.

When you decide to outsource your contact center, the world becomes your oyster. Suddenly, you can partner with a company anywhere, from Algeria to Zimbabwe. With any location, like with any business, there are benefits and complications. Even if you’re just looking to branch out into another state, your results are liable to vary. If you’re uncertain as to where you should look to outsource within the States, we’ve got a few suggestions for you below.

Ohio: Ohio is centrally located between Chicago and New York, and serves as a major corridor for business. making it an optimal place to find high-level candidates. Yet, outside of these major cities, prices may be more cost-effective for budget-conscious businesses. Further, with 12 locations in the Ohio area, InfoCision has left an indelible mark on the Ohio region.

New York:  It’s hard to argue that “the city that never sleeps” wouldn’t be a great place to outsource your contact center and its 24-7-365 strategy. You’ll have access to great candidates and partners, too, but you’ll certainly pay top dollar for anything in the metro area.

California: Speaking of access to talent, California is in just as enviable a position as New York. Whether it’s Silicon Valley, San Francisco or Los Angeles, there are ample opportunities to connect with innovative partners.

Florida: Florida has a saturated call center market led by Tampa, the nation’s leader. Contact centers in Florida will always have agents on hand to step in, but with the extreme heat and yearly weather issues, operational disruptions could offset your advantage from time to time.

To learn more about what you stand to gain by outsourcing, click here.