The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted all aspects of life. Contact centres, as the initial point of contact for a wide variety of issues, were among the first to be hit – and hit hard.
Calls, instant messages and e-mails came flooding in as individuals across the globe tried to get their hands on information and assistance with everything from UIF and payment holidays, to travel plan changes and medical advice. Contact centres became a lifeline for organisations and people.
No one could have predicted how shifts related to the pandemic would forever change in-person customer channels and turn the customer experience on its head, fuelling a host of contact centre transformations. Today’s contact centres need to thrive and be innovative and efficient: after all, they are at the foundation of all in terms of experience analysis.
To unpack how South African organisations view the challenges and priorities within contact centres, CallMiner recently conducted a contact centres survey with TechCentral. The survey delved into how contact centres are managing performance and improving efficiencies using technology.
One thing that was encouraging, was that when asked whether their organisation had a customer service or contact centre, the overwhelming majority of respondents (80%) said “yes”, highlighting the growing importance of the contact centre for today’s businesses.
Customer service priorities
When it came to the top challenges that businesses experienced regarding customer service, 49% cite “performance management”, 46% said “operational inefficiencies” and 40% claimed the average handle time was an issue. Agent attrition came in at 34%, and “increase in quantitative data” and “call listening”, with 30% each.
Drilling down into the top priorities when it comes to customer service, 67% said enhancing customer experience and satisfaction was number one, and 62% hoped to improve internal efficiency. For half the sample, employee experience and satisfaction was key, and a quarter said they hoped to reduce churn.
To tech, or not to tech?
In addition, the survey examined how local organisations are harnessing the wealth of customer data that the contact centre gathers, to gain a deeper understanding of customer sentiment. Those polled were asked which benefits they hoped to see by using conversation analytics, and unsurprisingly, “better customer experience” was chosen by two-thirds. Another 58% hoped to improve efficiency within the contact centre, and 45% hoped to improve their agents.
However, not all respondents were planning on using technology to address these challenges, and when asked why not, it became clear that budget constraints were an issue for nearly half (40%), and concern about adding to technological complexity was a worry for 30%. Some 20% are still struggling with buy-in from their executive teams. Only a small number (15%) said they didn’t believe it would address their challenges.
The survey highlighted how it is a deeper understanding of the customer that helps to improve business decisions
Some technologies are being widely used in South Africa’s contact centres: just over half (51%) of respondents said they were using call recording, and just under half (49%) cited quality monitoring. Hot on its heels came workforce management software with 48%, and ACD/call routing with 43%. Interestingly, only 18% said they were using none of the listed technologies.
One thing is clear from this: the importance of the contact centre cannot be underestimated. The survey highlighted how it is a deeper understanding of the customer that helps to improve business decisions. The shifting dynamics of customer expectations, driven by an increase in the demand for digital, omnichannel experiences, place the call centre at the heart of customer experience. Customers of every product and service base their relationship with brands according to that brand’s ability to give them what they need, and resolve their queries effectively. To do this, they need to capture and analyse customer interactions across all channels, and have the ability to extract meaningful insights from unstructured data to drive action. Finally, they need to be able to take action on these insights to enhance performance and operations enterprise-wide.
If you would like to find out more on how to improve organisational efficiencies, elevate agent experience, and drive improved customer outcomes, download CallMiner’s Workforce Intelligence white paper, or watch the recent webinar on Elevating Employee Experience to Drive Better Customer Outcomes.
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