Wednesday, 27 August 2008

What are the challenges faced in managing a contact centre?

One of the main challenges when working in a contact centre is relying on inbound traffic and managing the peaks and troughs of those calls. It’s all about finding the right balance between having enough staff to manage the incoming calls but still retaining cost effectiveness for clients.

It’s also about staff motivation. A number of contact centres can be dealing with highly emotive subjects, quite standard and even boring subjects, so staff motivation and retention is key in managing a contact centre. It is also about measuring and monitoring the output and it depends on the individual’s interpretation of customer service.

We can all give examples of bad customer service but may struggle to recall an example of good customer service. A recent study showed that 80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience but only 8% of their customers agreed. So whilst a company might think they are doing a great job, you are only as good as that customer remembering the conversation. You do have to go over and above what you believe good customer service is to make a great impression.

Listening and delivering the message is also important. Another of the challenges is that the customer may not really know what to ask you. Perhaps they have a letter which does not make sense to them and they are angry as a result. You really have to listen to them carefully and deliver the correct answer which they may not even want to hear, so it’s important the agent conveys the message in a positive manner.

Call duration brings about its own challenges. A client may measure us on our call duration, and then we have to keep those calls short and deliver a high quality level of customer service which can be something of a contradiction.

Again the bottom line is ensuring that there is consistency in delivering key messages to customers and managing all the challenges that we face.

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