It’s Time to Start Planning Your 2018 Customer Service Strategy

By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff

Author Alan Lakein once said that planning is bringing the future into the present, so that you can do something about it now. What a powerful quote — and something to think about as we prepare to head into the final stretch of 2017.

What can you do today to make your contact center more effective next year?

Keep in mind we’re getting down to the wire for 2018 planning. Pretty soon, the busy holiday rush will be here followed by the start of a new year. So if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start looking ahead.

Here are some things to consider as you plan your 2018 customer service strategy:

Automate intelligently: When you think of automation in the contact center, artificially intelligent bots probably come to mind. A growing number of organizations are now using bots in their chat boxes and phone systems and will continue to do so over the next year as they work to provide more self service options for customers. Now, this is not a bad thing. Bots can certainly make the contact center more efficient. But they certainly can’t replace the power of live, human agents. So make sure to also supplement your agents with automation software that enables them to make more informed choices during customer interactions. Recent advances in sales, marketing and even billing automation can reduce costs, increase efficiencies drive more sales in contact centers.

Cut costs: Customer service is very important, but it can also be very expensive — much to the detriment of the organization. This is especially true of large contacts centers that staff large teams of in-house agents. You will pay for extra overhead, technologies, salaries and benefits. But if you outsource your customer service, you can avoid these expenses without having to sacrifice the quality of your customer service. In fact, it will improve. Plus, you will have extra money to pump back into processes like research and development.

Avoid hiring headaches: Every year, the same problem happens around the holidays: To handle spikes in call volumes, businesses are forced to hire, and train, large numbers of temporary employees. It’s an expensive, time consuming and risky process as it involves bringing in agents who are often inexperienced and looking for temporary work. Again, though, this problem can be easily streamlined by outsourcing to a third party contact center solutions provider who will handle all aspects of hiring, training and managing customer service employees for you.

Drive more sales: Outbound contact centers conducting fundraiser campaigns should have one primary goal for the next year: Make more money. To do this, however, you will need access to high quality customer service agents who will know how to talk to your customers and convince them to contribute to your campaigns. Trust me — high quality agents go a long way in generating higher quality customer interactions.

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