As contact centres contemplate the tough economic marketplace of 2012, the agenda will be about how to work with ‘austerity’ and turn it into prosperity. Successful companies will be those who maximise their existing resources and plan carefully to ensure they are well positioned for the future. Rostrvm Solutions, contact centre software developer, believes it’s entirely possible to achieve a lot more with less.
Rostrvm says that ‘doing more with less’ during 2012 will literally mean ‘ringing the changes’ in many contact centres, as they discover the considerable benefits of blending.
Blending is useful because contact centres are no longer dealing with one-way traffic on a single issue. Rostrvm’s research has shown that even in call centres that regard themselves as primarily inbound, 40% of all contacts are actually outbound – such as returning calls and following up enquiries. And every outbound campaign needs some method of accepting returned inbound calls.
As well as dealing with telephone calls the management of text-based contact – emails, SMS and social media – is a growing challenge.
Blending helps when a call centre’s business aims and targets are changed rapidly. For example, a marketing offer can change on a daily basis in response to competitive conditions. Or the regulatory framework can change practically overnight. Having the ability to change staff over to different tasks really pays dividends here.
Ken Reid of Rostrvm Solutions says, “Blending tasks in the contact centre ensures greater output is gained from the same number of staff. Many contact centres use blending successfully to improve productivity, lower queue times for customers and reduce the risk of abandoned calls. This is crucial as the challenges facing the call centre agent are getting more complex.
Blending is not just about combining inbound and outbound telephone calls – it can also be used for combining calls with emails, web chat, Facebook and Twitter for example.”
However, bringing a complex blend of media and traffic loads under control needs thought. Consider your call centre and identify how best blending could be used. Ask questions like:
- What is your call centre doing now and what is its primary role?
- In an inbound operation when do agents deal with outbound calls or vice versa?
- Who decides when emails and other text based contacts are dealt with?
- Where are the peaks and troughs in your primary activities?
- Who in your team would work well in a blended environment?
Once you answer questions like these to gain a clear picture of your existing operation, approach suppliers about how technology can optimize blending in a cost-effective way.