As a contact center outsourcer and consultant, we’ve responded to countless requests for information (RFI). The issues that come up in these RFIs range from easy to complex. The most difficult ones require a seasoned contact center team to answer. We’ve picked 16 of the tougher questions and ROI-proven approaches that a worthy consultant should be able to tackle.
Review this list for areas of concern in your organization. Ask yourself if you have the in-house resources and experience to tackle them. If not, you might consider enlisting an outsource partner or consultant to help. Each answer comes directly from our experience.
Compare the cost/benefit of various quality certifications versus a common-sense approach. Be careful of being oversold with a “system” that adds cost and complexity. You may be fine with a focus on the process, metrics and dashboard that accomplishes the goals you have for your center without all the fluff.
Ask for a study of the number and languages of calls. Consider bilingual agents for higher volume languages. Use on-demand interpreter service lines and self-service IVR solutions for the others.
Using outsourced partners provide ways to both cut costs and increase levels of service. Partners can be as simple as after-hours coverage or one of the many technology services. There are just as many strategies and models. Conduct an in-depth study to identify the best use of resources. For instance, using a n after-hour local outsourcer can provide a good pool of new agents for your internal centers – that’s called “best of breed” hiring.
Ask for a time and process study of existing flows and benchmark it to competitor centers, even other industries. Model and test the suggested modifications. It will be easy to see if the outcome is as promised. Make sure to include the employees in the process to maintain buy-in.
Develop a cost/benefit analysis and study of the skill overlap required for the tasks.
These are great ways to provide service during inclement weather, influenza outbreaks, etc. There is new technology to incorporate employees with disabilities. Hiring local employees may help you to eliminate after hours/overflow costs.
At GCS, we understand the strengths of skills-based routing, workforce management, and a part/flex-time workforce to manage daily volume and control costs. We typically handle higher volumes with fewer agents than our predecessors because of our experience in managing the workforce.
A great consultant should study your situation and the correct ratio of agents to team leaders based on your staff’s skills, experience, and the work/customer demands. A good consult looks at all current reports and their use before ranking them for relevance. That way, you can suggest ones to stop, change and start. At GCS, we typically define a dashboard of key metrics for better real-time decision-making by your team.
We work with 100% recordings and a QA sample plan designed to improve the effectiveness of each agent. We’ve also developed a constant improvement process for giving daily feedback to each employee that saves agent and supervisor time.
Making a bad decision on a key technology piece is costly. A consultant can look at multiple products and validate or refute what the salesperson is saying. They should observe first what you have in place, and discover true gaps in your current technology. We have often found that additional training on existing technology meets the requirements. Only after exhausting those routes should they propose what should be added or replaced.
Your consultant should provide a process for management of the queue (IVR, routing, call flow, call backs, etc.). IVR technology and self-service options are changing daily. They should be on top of what is working with your target audience.
A good consultant will look at the benefit of providing call backs for minimizing on-hold time, but first they will focus on eliminating the cause of the hold (staffing, routing,).
A good consultant will provide a way to integrate IVR into other channels and make sure messaging and options are consistent across platforms and the organization. A focus on balancing cost and customer experience is key.
We would review the overall goals of the organization and the process to get there, then outline the metrics and reports needed to manage now, while providing data for proactive management in the future.
Best practices are a big part of our process flow at GCS. QA and improvement options are always dependent on the final configuration of the center. Like the metrics, we would start at the top with the organizational look and assigned responsibilities, and build the systems needed as we move down.
The ideal consultant will analyze your current workforce and your current selection criteria and approach. They can help develop new selection criteria based on the data of the existing workforce and the needs of the position right now. They can show you how to concentrate on hiring people who have a profile that matches up with longevity. They should avoid personality traps that lead to high turnover. They should establish tactics and measure them to evaluate employees in the first 90 days of working to ensure maximum success.
Another reminder about keeping good workers: employee retention costs are often viewed as being expensive – but compared to the cost of making up for a hiring mistake, retaining good people is much less costly.
Not convinced? Take a look at these results from a survey by CareerBuilder and pollster Harris Interactive that studied the actual cost of bad hires.
Of the companies responding to the poll:
The costs from a bad decision add up in other ways, too:
In our experience, when you take the time to identify, hire and train the right people, your retention rates are bound to rise. Good hires go a long way to support the ROI goals for your call center.
If you find that you would need a call center consultant’s help in eight or more of the areas we’ve covered here, you may want to consider outsourcing your center.
As experts in call center optimization, GCS places high value on teaching, coaching and continual learning to help keep your customer satisfaction high and turnover low. To that end, we’ve developed an essential set of online and classroom tools for trainers and managers that covers the entire spectrum of call center education – Say This, Not that…Most of the Time.