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12.03.14 | blog
Author: Carly Kaplan

When Do You Start Calling Your Contact Center a Cost Center?

We are all too familiar with the latest buzzword - “customer experience”. It is buzzing in everyone’s ear, “Amp up your contact center’s customer experience,” “Benefits of enhancing customer experience,” “How to turn your contact center into a customer experience powerhouse.” But, what if customer experience isn’t just a buzzword but is here to stay? Well, guess what? It is. The truth is, customer experience isn’t actually a buzzword. It’s treating your customer’s to a personalized experience. As I heard customer experience expert, Ted Rubin, once say, our customers are inviting us into their living rooms to be a fly on the wall and none of us are taking advantage of the opportunity. In short, we don’t listen. Customers could not make it any easier for companies and yet most of us don’t take advantage of the ease at which we can transform our front line initiatives.

Our opportunities for improvement of customer experience can come from a number of places, even our contact centers. Most of us are aware of the economic instability, language barriers, and cultural diversity that comes with offshoring and which can negatively impact customer experience. Domestic call centers, however, have other factors that can hurt customer experience, including agents. Often, agents in contact centers are looking for a job, where they are scheduled to work eight hour shifts regardless of demand. In fact, most of these agents are not even motivated; their job is a means to an end for them. In general, these types of agents will not only hike up turnover rates, but they will also compromise customer loyalty. When this happens, it is time to start considering that your contact center might actually be a cost center.

Consider this: virtual, work-at-home agents working for their own mini-call center companies have sold 409,752 products, totaling $353.9 million for one retail company. Pretty impressive, right? You may be shocked to see such high numbers from non-traditional agents on the frontlines. These agents are not only motivated, self-starters, but they are able to maintain work life balance. How? Well they dictate when they work and how often and the brands they represent because they run their own companies. The common theme to point out across these agents, aside from work life balance, is their distinct ability to service the frontlines like an executive, a brand advocate, a customer of the brand. They treat the brands they service as an extension of their own company, treating all customers like brand advocates, but tailoring each experience differently.

It is these domestic, virtual mini-contact centers that are continuing to improve customer support. Organizations are already noticing the advantages:

·         Increased revenue

·         Increased brand loyalty

·         Increased sales

So, the question to ask yourself now is: is your call center a cost center or a powerhouse?

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