Running a contact center efficiently is not easy – you need to improve agent productivity, deliver on customer expectations and continuously monitor contact center performance. As a customer service leader, it’s hard to look at all the moving pieces of your contact center and quickly understand what’s working, and what needs improvement.
That’s where contact center operations come in. It enables customer service leaders to stay updated on their team’s performance, empowers agents with the right tools and resources to deliver quick and consistent support, and involves all activities that aid in the smooth running of a contact center.
Read on to understand the fundamentals of contact center operations, its components, benefits and best practices.
What are contact center operations?
Contact center operations are the foundation of a well-managed customer service team. It involves optimizing processes, introducing technologies and providing data-backed insights and recommendations to improve the overall customer service strategy of a company. This could mean the introduction of real-time performance monitoring, the addition of new tools that automate or augment existing tasks, or even just helping teams prioritize between multiple activities.
The primary goal of these operations is to:
Optimize the delivery and quality of customer service
Enhance the productivity of your agents and supervisors
Improve insights into customer behavior to create better customer experiences
Key components of contact center operations
All functional operations teams, whether that’s marketing operations, revenue operations or sales operations, are focused on one goal – figuring out how to help their respective team work faster, smarter, and more efficiently. There are a couple of key elements to getting this done in a contact center.
Here’s what you need to get started.
1. Well-defined goals, metrics and KPIs
Before you can start improving your contact center’s performance, you need to know what success looks like for your team. For instance, if you are looking to improve your customer experience, you would focus on metrics such as your team’s CSAT, CES or NPS scores.
On the other hand, if your biggest priority is agent productivity, you should focus on the average response and resolution time for each ticket – both on a team and individual level. Similarly, if you were introducing new channels – such as chatbots – your KPIs might be ticket deflection rate or first contact resolution rate.
By identifying what metrics are most important to your business, you can align your entire contact center to focus on the same priorities.
2. Robust data tracking, reporting and performance monitoring
Once you know your priorities, you need to start monitoring performance and gleaning insights from the data. The right dashboards can help everyone stay on top of the metrics that matter most to them. Agent dashboards can keep agents updated on incoming customer queries as well as their individual performance metrics such as the number of tickets in their queue, average resolution time, etc.
Customized supervisor dashboards can be set up to track agent performance on a team and individual level, understand customer trends to predict case volumes, identify busy days and anticipate seasonal events without unnecessary overstaffing.
3. A feature-rich contact center solution and technology stack
One of the most critical components of contact center operations is finding the right contact center software. You need to find the software that allows your team to streamline operations effortlessly, offers agents instant access to customer information in one place and provides real-time analytics to improve customer experiences.
Using the right contact center technology and tools can help with:
Measuring crucial metrics such as customer hold time, agent retention, speech, cross-channel analytics and more.
Managing all communication channels such as social media, in-app chat and email from a single platform.
Automating common contact center workflows and tasks, enabling supervisors to assess, allocate and optimize their workforce effectively.
4. A dedicated customer service operations team
Keeping an eye on contact center performance is a full-time job and the earlier you build out your operations team, the better. Start this process by identifying the different roles you need to hire for and clearly defining their core responsibilities. Look for candidates that are data-driven, solution-oriented and stay updated with technology trends.
Benefits of optimizing your contact center operations
Here are the key benefits of improving your contact center operation:
Customers today are impatient and need immediate gratification. They jump from channel to channel hoping for an instant resolution. It is vital to be available at all customer touchpoints and offer instant support through live chat and give faster replies to emails. With optimized contact center operations, you can quickly nip customer issues in the bud.
Enhanced customer experiences
Today’s customers expect an omnichannel presence, lightning-fast response time and effortless resolutions. Providing unmatched customer care should be your priority as it can help in creating a loyal customer.
Delivering outstanding support makes the customer feel important and heard. Hence, the ability to create a frictionless digital customer experience is one of the primary benefits of contact center operations.
Unified view of the customer
Contact centers provide care services across multiple channels and stream in all the information to a single place. For example, when a customer jumps between multiple channels like FAQs to social media sites to live-in chat on your site and then to voice support, agents still get to have a single record of that customer’s interaction journey. This single view of the customer makes support more efficient and provides better customer analytics results.
Smarter planning and workforce management
With better visibility of customer behavior and agent performance, contact center managers can easily manage your workforce. They can schedule more agents on days that are likely to be busier, assign agents to channels that see more traffic or require a specific skill set.
As you automate tasks, organize your workforce better, and reduce the number of low-value tools you’re using in your contact center, the cost of running it automatically drops. When you find the right tools, you can scale your contact center without needing to grow your team, when you equip agents with the right resources, you can avoid the cycle of agent hiring, onboarding and attrition, and when you can plan your service strategy based on data and historical trends, you avoid wasting money on underperforming channels.
Better up-sell and cross-sell opportunities
When agents understand customers' sentiments, they are in a better position to offer the right advice and suggest associated products or services that the customer may need. In a contact center, agents need to be able to leverage technology to understand how the customer has interacted with the company so far and offer intelligent suggestions for a better customer experience.
Increased sales and growth
Great customer service can be more influential than advertising. Customers feel connected to a brand when they are handled with care and importance, and are more likely to recommend your business to others. This can result in increased sales growth and brand recognition from your target customers.
5 ways to improve your contact center operations
Contact center operations is an ever-evolving activity — there will always be reasons and opportunities to improve. Here are some tried-and-tested practices to help you manage contact center operations effectively.
AI and automation
Deploying AI-driven chatbots and automation into your contact center operations can significantly improve response times and handle routine queries. They can provide instant assistance to simple, common queries so you can scale your support without having to grow your customer support team.
On the other hand, automation can streamline processes like call routing and follow-up, ensuring seamless customer experiences. By leveraging AI, you can offer 24/7 support, minimize wait times, and free up agents for more strategic tasks.
It’s important that all the tools you use for customer support and customer communication allow for seamless access to information and customer data. The integration of your CRM, contact center software, and marketing software is critical to optimizing operations.
Agents gain a comprehensive view of customer interactions, enabling personalized support. Integrated tools also facilitate efficient information sharing between departments, reducing customer frustration caused by repeated explanations. The result is streamlined workflows and improved issue resolution.
Data analysis is the cornerstone of effective contact center operations. By harnessing the power of data analytics to uncover customer behavior patterns, pain points, and preferences, you can make informed decisions about resource allocation, training needs, and service improvements. Data-driven insights enable you to proactively address customer concerns, tailor support strategies and enhance overall satisfaction.
Experiment and A/B test
As mentioned above, a good operations strategy always leaves room for improvement. By adopting a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement, you can compare different approaches, such as script variations or interaction methods, and determine which works best for your customers and agents. Experiment with channels, response times and problem-solving techniques to refine your strategy based on real-world results.
Training and incentivizing agents
While we have focused mostly on the tech and data required for effective contact center operations, agent performance continues to be the heart of a stellar contact center. Investing in agent training and motivation is critical to improving contact center operations.
Well-trained agents with a deep understanding of your products and services are better equipped to provide accurate and efficient support. Continuous training not only keeps agents updated on the latest industry trends but also improves their problem-solving and communication skills.
How to optimize your contact center operations using CCaaS
Contact Center as a Service or CCaaS is a cloud-based customer experience solution that allows businesses to utilize software to manage their contact center operations.
This can be achieved by:
Customer agents can end up spending so much time on workflow processes and manual repetitive tasks, that they can no longer take care of customers properly. Not only does this impact customer experience, but also impacts agent productivity and performance. A CCaaS provider helps you control these costs by applying smart automation to every step of the customer journey – from automating classification and case routing to triggering feedback surveys.
Creating an omnichannel experience
Agents spend less time toggling between channels when they can see all customer conversations in one place. All CCaaS solutions support voice, email, chat and social media. This empowers businesses to deliver a consistent customer experience across multiple channels. This also means that conversations that start on one channel and end up on another have a seamless transition for customers and agents alike.
Making use of advanced analytics
CCaaS solutions allow you to collect data on important metrics like average handle time, waiting time and customer feedback. You can assess your performance and identify areas for improvement. You can also understand customer behavior, preferences and trends, enabling you to develop a data-driven customer strategy.
Intelligent call routing
CCaaS can help you manage and prioritize customer needs, context and urgency in two ways—
Attribute-based routing, which connects each caller to the most qualified agent based on their needs and context
Priority-based routing, which prioritizes urgent calls and moves them to the front of the queue.
Many CCaas solutions can help you deploy AI-led support in the form of IVR or chatbots as low-cost, low-effort channels to provide immediate service to customers. AI-enabled bots can automatically resolve common customer queries and decrease agent caseloads by understanding the intent of the query and surfacing relevant solutions.
Enhanced overall customer experience
CCaaS software can analyze the context of conversations to help your agents provide faster, more on-target responses — leveraging AI-generated replies and relevant knowledge articles to create more human and satisfying customer experiences.
Managing contact center operations can seem overwhelming. However, it does not have to be if you have the right tool such as Sprinklr Service at hand.
Sprinklr Service utilizes advanced AI-powered automation to deliver an omnichannel customer experience, allowing teams to automatically identify customer issues and work on them immediately.
Try it with a 90-day free trial!