Readying your contact centre for the new year

It’s been a tough 12 months. COVID has knocked societies and economies for six and created challenges aplenty for business leaders. It’s also delivered a timely reminder of the critical role contact centres play in maintaining business continuity.

As a new year approaches, it’s a good time to review your contact centre’s operations, to ensure you’re ready to handle whatever obstacles and opportunities 2021 decides to throw your way.

Here are some things to focus on.

Embracing an omni-channel model

Digital transformation has accelerated dramatically this year. Australians are spending more time than ever before shopping, working and interacting digitally. That won’t change, even if an effective vaccine is developed and ‘normal’ life resumes. Adding new channels to your contact centre – think instant messaging, email and SMS – will allow you to engage with customers flexibly and fast, whenever and however they choose to get in touch.

Optimising your team

Today’s customers are an increasingly impatient lot. Reviewing your staffing arrangements to ensure you have enough trained people on the team, and enough of them rostered on at peak activity times, will ensure you can deal with enquiries competently and quickly.

This year’s experience has demonstrated that remote working works. Allowing some or all of your agents to work from home can provide flexibility, cost savings and the ability to recruit talent from a much bigger pool.

Making agent retention a priority

Contact centres are renowned for their high staff churn rates but having agents constantly coming and going is disruptive and expensive. Putting an effort into keeping them, by offering good training, the chance to advance through the ranks and helpful feedback to improve their performance, can boost service levels and reduce hiring and training costs.

Investing in technology

A contact centre is only as good as the platform it’s based on. A locally hosted cloud solution with solid failover measures will enable your organisation to keep on delivering service that sizzles, even in the face of uncertainty and disruption. If you’re still using legacy technology that’s unreliable, expensive and inflexible, exploring your options in 2021 could prove a very smart move.