Best Practices for Transforming to a Multi- Channel Contact Center

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1 Best Practices for Transforming to a Multi- Channel Contact Center Sponsored By: 1

2 Table of Contents Executive Summary...1 Introduction...1 Contact Centers Need to Change...2 Transforming into a Multi-Channel Servicing Environment...4 The Benefits Final Thoughts...7 About incontact...8 About DMG Consulting DMG Consulting LLC - i - April 2011

3 Executive Summary Providing multi-channel support is not an option for enterprises; it s a strategic imperative. Customers are no longer satisfied with just phone and support with inconsistent quality and response times between the channels. It s understandable that many companies have not formally incorporated social media into their servicing environment, but it s not acceptable to customers, and it s hurting the brand and bottom line. Building a multi-channel servicing strategy and infrastructure today is not that hard. The technology is available, even if best practices are lagging. This white paper provides a framework, plan and recommended practices for transforming siloed contact centers into multi-channel servicing environments that are a strategic asset DMG Consulting LLC April 2011

4 During the past ten years many technology innovations have been introduced into the service world, but most contact centers have yet to adopt many of them. Even though a growing number of customers walk through stores using their smart phones to find the best price and to check out product recommendations, most sales and service organizations do not have a way to meet these customers in their channels of choice. It s a costly mistake to ignore customers needs, especially when it has a negative impact on your contact center budget. Contact Centers Need to Change Many enterprises are hurting their bottom line and brand by maintaining their outdated service organization and infrastructure. Companies have been reluctant to refresh their customer service and contact center infrastructures, as they believe replacing them is considered risky, expensive and time consuming. But this no longer has to be the case. Today companies can reduce their IT maintenance budgets and contact center agent expenses, while greatly enhancing their functional capabilities and customer satisfaction, by implementing the latest multi-channel servicing and contact center solutions. Figure 1 shows the operational, organizational and technical issues and opportunities involved in transitioning from today s physically and operationally siloed contact centers into multi-channel, virtual operating environments. Some of these challenges may seem surprising. The vast majority of contact centers support only calls and s. Even worse, these two channels are generally handled by different groups of agents, and the servicing systems used to track inquiries in the two channels are not integrated. As a result, agents who handle calls have no idea what is happening on the side, and vice versa. The separation between phone and handling is so extreme in some companies that agents are paid different salaries based on the channel that they handle. This is one example of the inefficiencies produced by the lack of a multi-channel servicing strategy and operation. Moreover, no one even knows the cost of lost opportunities that result from the disconnect between the two channels. In contrast, the target servicing environment reflected in Figure 1 is fully integrated from an organizational, operational and systems perspective. It eliminates the inefficiencies and cost of maintaining separate environments (and sometimes organizations) to support each of the channels. Although it does not solve the enterprise challenge of providing a holistic view of customers for sales, marketing and servicing environments, it does address this issue within the servicing/contact center environment, eliminating an expensive impediment to good service DMG Consulting LLC April 2011

5 Figure 1: Advantages of s and Servicing Environments Today s Servicing Reality Calls, s and possibly chat/im are handled by separate groups of agents Agents are not used efficiently More expensive to provide service in silos than in one consolidated group Contact centers are complex to manage because separate groups are created to handle each channel Service delivery is inconsistent because service levels are not standardized Agents in one channel have no visibility into actions taken or commitments made to customers in other channels Different and non-integrated servicing applications are used to handle various channels Challenging and complex to support multiple servicing applications Minimal support for social media Agent location is limited by physical constraints of contact center solution Sales, marketing and service do not have a consolidated view of each customer s history and value to the organization Lack of consolidated view makes customer service more expensive Lack of consolidated view makes marketing less effective Customers are frustrated, dissatisfied, and do not understand the company s lack of integration; they expect one voice regardless of the channel that they use Contact Center Enterprise Tomorrow s Target Servicing Environnent One system/group of multi-skilled agents Single pool of multi-skilled agents; job satisfaction is higher due to diversity Consolidated and simplified operating environment Consolidated and simplified operating environment Standardized service levels in all channels Single view of customer; one servicing system used to handle all interaction channels One servicing system used to handle all interaction channels Consolidated and simplified operating environment Enterprise social media strategy; social media is a standard channel(s) Agents can be located anywhere in the world and still be part of the integrated servicing environment Customer service maintains and utilizes a consolidated view of the customer Consolidated telephony and servicing systems simplify operating environment and reduces costs Consolidated data gives marketing a strategic advantage and enables them to better target the right offerings Improved brand image 2011 DMG Consulting LLC April 2011

6 Transforming into a Multi-Channel Servicing Environment DMG Consulting estimates that less than 20% of contact centers are optimized multiadopted the channel environments, and even fewer customer service groups have new servicing philosophy. While this may not have mattered 4 or 5 years ago, we estimate that the inefficiencies resulting from disjointed servicing infrastructures now represent at least 5% of a contact center s budget. This is a cost no one can afford to ignore. Figure 2 lists the steps executives and managers should take to convert their organization from a siloed customer service/contact center to a multi-channel operating environment. The most challenging part of the process is the second step: getting senior management support for the new servicing vision. For the last three years, enterprise executives have claimed to prioritize the customer experience over all other company goals. The challenge, however, is convincing them to spend money to support this goal. The best way is to build a business case that shows the incremental benefits and contributions to the enterprise of the newly structured organization. Some costs and investments are required to support the transition, but the benefits should far exceed the costs. (Keep in mind that the cash outlays can be minimized by using cloud-based contact center solutions and applications.) The concepts in Figure 2 are straightforward, but they require planning and time to execute, as this transformation will touch most aspects of the contact center or service organization. However, this initiative is not optional. All contact centers and customer service groups in public and private organizations are going to have to support a number of new channels, including social media, or they will be at a serious competitive disadvantage DMG Consulting LLC April 2011

7 Figure 2: Steps for Converting Siloed Contact Centers into Multi-Channel Servicing Environments Continuously look for ways to enhance the operating environment. Phase in new systems. Re-train existing personnel & train new staff. Hire additional resources, if necessary. Develop new policies and procedures to support the new servicing experience. Create a consistent service experience across all channels. Reorganize & restructure the servicing environment. Draft an implementation plan to phase in new systems & other changes. Build a business case that shows the benefits & costs & calculates the ROI. Identify & select vendors to address the gaps. Inventory current telephony & servicing applications technical gaps. to identify functional & Determine where you want your agents to be based at one or more of your sites, at home, at a domestic or international outsourcer, etc. Determine what organizational, technical & staff changes will be required to convert the current operating environment into a consolidated multi-channel servicing environment. Identify the channels you want to support in the foreseeable future; include calls, IVR, s, fax, SMS/chat, web self-service & social media. Get senior management support for the servicing vision. Define your customer service strategy & vision. The Benefits and Payback The benefits of this transformation depend upon a company s specific objectives and goals, but most organizations should expect to see a payback within 1 to 3 years, depending upon whether the solution is premise or cloud-based. If the initiative is phased and implemented properly, various stages will deliver a positive return on 2011 DMG Consulting LLC April 2011

8 investment more quickly than others. Payback will also be greatly influenced by the servicing strategy. A customer service organization that decides to convert to a profit center and includes up-sell/cross-sell as part of their mission will see a more rapid payback than if they continue as a traditional cost-oriented service organization. Figure 3 shows both the quantitative (hard) and qualitative (soft) benefits from transitioning to a multi-channel contact center and servicing environment. The benefits are far-reaching and make measurable contributions to customers, agents, the contact center and the enterprise in general. However, when building a business case, DMG suggests basing it on the hard-dollar savings, as chief financial officers or controllers do not generally approve projects justified by soft benefits. Figure 3: The Hard and Soft Benefits of Multi-Channel Service Customer Agent Contact Center Enterprise Hard Benefits Improves agent productivity Eliminates need to install and maintain separate applications for each channel Reduces system maintenance costs Reduces volume of complaint interactions Reduces operating costs Soft Benefits Improves the customer experience Provides a consistent customer experience across al l interaction channels Speeds up handling of inquiries and improves custom er satisfaction Builds the brand and improves competitive positioning Makes the organization more agile Reduces risk exposure by providing consistent information in all channels Improves agent satisfaction Reduces agent turnover costs 2011 DMG Consulting LLC April 2011

9 Final Thoughts Transitioning to a multi-channel contact center or servicing environment is not an option; in today s competitive environment, it is essential for an organization s success and viability. The only option is the timing of this transition. Customers do not want to do business with organizations that are behind the times and do not meet their needs. Allowing customers to use their channel of choice, when they want and the way they want, is going to be considered the minimal acceptable level of service within the next 5 years. DMG recommends that you take advantage of this opportunity and use it to revamp your service philosophy and culture. If nothing else, it s time to replace your 10- to 20-year-old contact center infrastructure with up-todate systems that have more capabilities, are easier to manage and less costly to maintain DMG Consulting LLC April 2011

10 About incontact incontact (NASDAQ: SAAS) helps contact centers around the globe create profitable customer experiences through its powerful portfolio of cloud-based contact center software solutions. The company s services and solutions enable contact centers to operate more efficiently, optimize the cost and quality of every customer interaction, create new pathways to profit and ensure ongoing customer-centric business improvement and growth. To learn more, visit About DMG Consulting DMG Consulting is the leading provider of contact center and analytics research, market analysis and consulting services. DMG s mission is to help end users build world-class, differentiated contact centers and assist vendors in developing high- vendors, value solutions for the market. DMG devotes more than 10,000 hours annually to researching various segments of the contact center market, including solutions, technologies, best practices, and the benefits and ROI for end users. DMG is an independent firm that provides information and consulting services to contact center management, the financial and investment community, and vendors in the market. More information about DMG Consulting can be found at DMG Consulting LLC April 2011

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