As contact centers become more complex and expand to support more channels like web chat and social, it’s important to organize support for contact center applications in a way that allows teams to design consistent customer experiences.
Most contact centers organize support around siloed applications, having one team that supports the voice channel and a separate team that supports social channels, like Facebook. But when support is organized this way and spread across multiple application-specific teams, gaps in support are created and must be fixed as they can affect both the efficiency and effectiveness of the contact center.
Organizing support by functional skills not by application silos
Instead of organizing support by contact center application silos and having multiple application specific teams, contact centers should try the approach of organizing support around functional skill sets.
Seen in Figure 2 below from the Forrester report “Mind the Gap When Organizing to Support Contact Center Applications”, by looking at functional skill sets like agent desktop that can span a group of applications, contact centers can gain leverage.
One team to support queuing-and-routing
Companies that don’t have one complete solution for their contact center, are supporting queuing and routing for digital channels like web chat and social through their website teams and ACD, IVR, and CTI support for the voice channel usually has its own team. Having this legacy telecom silo, creates a gap in support and makes it difficult for both teams to design consistent customer experiences.
Merging these teams to support queuing and routing contact center applications, means they will be working on the same customer experience design goals and requirements, which results in more consistent experiences across all channels.
Another reason why it’s important to do this now is there are emerging trends like AI matched routing that will likely force this organizational shift eventually (Future-Proof Your Customer Service: Build An AI-Infused Cognitive Contact Center, Forrester Research, February 2018). This new way of routing is different from skills-based routing in that through AI, agent matching is done in real-time and based more on attributes such as:
- Agent performance histories
- Skill development priorities
- Customer histories
AI matched routing needs to look at the experience customers have on all channels so to implement this and other emerging trends, it’s essential for queuing and routing to be one team.
One team to support the agent desktop[easy-tweet tweet=”Agents can have 10 to 30 applications open simultaneously.” template=”light”]But to reduce employee and customer frustration, improve handle time, and lower training expenses, agents need the right tools and an agent desktop that shows them a 360˚ view of the customer on one screen, should that be the goal.
In order to not add to the list of agent applications, contact centers should be selective about what ends up on the agent desktop, and they should monitor agent use to further refine the user interface (Design Your Contact Center To Be Customer-Centric, Forrester Research, August 2017). The best way to do this is to have one team that supports the agent desktop, instead of a bunch of separate teams supporting different contact center applications agents use.
Organizing support for the agent desktop in this way will focus efforts on usability and developing a more in-depth knowledge of all applications appearing on the agent desktop. Making it easier for agents to engage with customers has many benefits for the contact center, including:
- Reducing agent turnover and increase efficiency
- Increase customer satisfaction scores
- Increase revenue
Contact center operations to support CC data analysis
Business analysts in contact centers are faced with the challenge of navigating through many reporting systems. Having data stored in disparate systems is a major pain point for contact center managers too – as they need manually consolidate reports to be able to forecast and schedule.
Since expertise of data structures and databases frequently resides within business technology rather than in the contact center itself, this causes a gap in the effectiveness that analytics can bring to the contact center. To remedy this, organizations should move contact center data analysis from the business technology to the contact center business unit itself.
Contact centers are awash with data, but there is still a struggle to integrate it and drive process management (Design Your Contact Center To Be Customer-Centric, Forrester Research, August 2017). Having contact center operations support data analysis for the contact center can help the organization understand the data analysis needs of the contact center, resolve any data visibility pain points that contact center operations managers experience, and help run the contact center more effectively and efficiently.
A few things organizations need to do is:
- Understand how subtle changes in historical data can affect WFM
WFM teams depend on historical data but they also need to know of any anomalies or shifts in that data over time. Business Intelligence (BI) teams should assist WFM teams in analyzing these shifts and helping them determine if system upgrades or database changes in a certain timeframe caused any anomalies.
- Understand that queuing and routing changes affect reports
Changing real-time business rules can affect how data flows into analytics systems so the team that supports queuing and routing must work with the BI team so both teams understand what reports will be affected from routing changes.
- Map and manage the many sources of truth
BI professionals should work with contact center business analysts to map existing systems and determine which reports should come from which system. For example, in scenarios were customer feedback is captured in an IVR then integrated with quality monitoring data, which system is best suited to show customer satisfaction trends? This needs to be determined for the contact center to get the right insights and make better decisions.
Configuring contact center applications drives not only the customer experience but the agent and management experience as well. How contact centers organize support results in the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the contact center.
To learn more about how to optimize operational performance of the contact center by picking the right contact center organizational model and developing a “living” RACI model, download this complimentary Forrester report https://aria2019.wpengine.com/forrester-report-support-contact-center/.
Kelly joined Aria in 2002, and is currently responsible for Aria’s professional services and support areas. Prior to joining Aria, Kelly had various operational and management contact center roles at both – CellularOne McCaw Communications and TELUS Mobility. Then, he joined Aria as a specialist in workforce management (WFM) and was instrumental in developing this practice.
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