Originally posted on BrandPost
Oct 21, 2022
Technology is helping contact centers reach new heights. These four cost-management strategies will maximize your technology investment.
The contact center market is growing at a rapid pace. As the key business hub for sales and service, contact centers have long served an important role for customer experience (CX). During the pandemic, they became even more critical.
Today’s contact center agents handle 7.2 more calls per day than they did pre-pandemic. The contact center software market is expected to grow at a 21% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2022 to 2030. But, with all this growth comes new potential costs. New market conditions demand new technological solutions, and increasing service demands put new financial pressures on contact centers.
Amid a fast-changing landscape, contact center executives have a critical task: Keep pace and grow while also reducing costs and driving efficiency. In many ways, this comes down to choosing the right technology. Let’s look at four key decisions that can fuel effective cost management in contact centers.
Reduce reliance on brick-and-mortar by going remote with the cloud
Legacy on-premises contact centers are quickly becoming outdated. According to research from Deloitte, only 32% of contact centers had migrated to the cloud as of 2021, yet 75% of survey participants planned to complete the journey by mid-2023. As a whole, Market Research Futures reports that the global market for cloud contact center technology will reach $45.5 billion by 2030, a CAGR of 24.8%.
Why the sudden aggressive shift away from legacy brick-and-mortar contact centers? There are a host of reasons, many centered on the cloud’s ability to enable more flexible, omnichannel service delivery and enhanced CX solutions. But it also has much to offer from a cost-savings perspective.
The cloud frees your contact center from the constraints of physical infrastructure and allows you to rely more heavily on a remote workforce. This makes it easier to scale your business seasonally or in response to demand. It also allows you to optimize your service delivery — Talkdesk reports that cloud-based contact centers experience 35% less downtime than on-premises sites.
With the right cloud solutions, these cost savings can prove substantial. According to a report from Forrester, for instance, the average contact center that moved to Genesys PureCloud saves more than $800,000 and gains a net total benefit of more than $5 million over three years.
If you truly want to improve cost management in your contact center, cloud migration is essential.
Leverage your data
Across the board, today’s contact center managers and agents have more data at their fingertips than ever. The combination of more personalized customer experiences with advanced technology has made this possible. The only question is: Are you putting all that data to use?
You can access far more than the standard surface-level metrics, such as average handle times or wait times. With modern contact center software, AI-powered features, like sentiment analysis or in-depth transactional data, give you deep insights into customer satisfaction and behavior. And the best tools offer real-time access to these metrics.
Fully integrated contact centers are poised to make this data accessible and useful for anyone who can leverage it to improve customer experience. With access to real-time insights and the ability to share them across customer-facing departments, agents can direct the customer journey more effectively and efficiently.
Consider how much more quickly a data-empowered agent can respond to a customer calling in for the second or third time — or how a supervisor can use analytics to provide better coaching for that agent. When you leverage the data you have, your resources stretch farther.
Enhance self-service options
Customers want more self-service options. They’ve been shouting this for a while now, but many companies have been slow to listen. In NICE’s “2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report,” 81% of customers said they expect more self-service options from businesses than they were getting. Yet 40% of companies think they offer enough.
That’s not to say that customers only want to deal with chatbots or automated IVR systems. But when it comes to simple issues — think checking your bank balance — customers would far rather resolve it on their own than wait to speak with an agent.
The good news for contact centers is that self-service options, when done well, can bring significant cost savings. With advances in conversational AI, chatbots and IVRs have taken huge leaps in their ability to understand and address many customer concerns. Plus, bots can handle far more customer inquiries than human agents. This ultimately lowers call volume for agents, allowing you to reduce staffing for minor customer service issues and focus on improving CX.
Automate as much as possible
Automation enables self-service, but it’s capable of creating far more efficiency for contact centers. Besides automating many of your customer interactions with AI-powered bots and IVR technology, you can automate many other mission-critical processes.
In fact, automation should touch every aspect of the contact center. From simplifying marketing workflows to handling staff scheduling to managing callbacks, automation can drive efficiency in every area.
And, in a contact center that relies so heavily on technology to shape customer experience, one type of automation may prove more important than any other: continuous testing. The software that powers your contact center must be continuously tested, monitored, and updated to ensure quality CX at all times. Continuously testing performance identifies and resolves issues across the development process before they become too complex and costly to fix. As you scale your business, manual testing processes will struggle keep up with the demand. Automated continuous testing gives you ongoing feedback and helps identify defects so you can resolve issues in real time, rather than executing load tests or larger annual testing. This not only reduces labor costs but also prevents costly downtime and CX failures.
Scale Your Business Efficiently
Thanks to technology advancements, today’s contact centers face near-limitless possibilities for growing rapidly and improving customer experiences. But only the contact centers that scale efficiently, control their costs, and maximize their returns will earn the biggest benefits. By leveraging their data, moving to the cloud, expanding self-service, and relying on automation, contact center leaders can keep costs under control and set the stage for future success.