Making contact centres more efficient

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MatsSoft National Sales Manager Alan Cohen says that customer service has emerged as a key battleground in today’s highly competitive environment and contact centres are naturally at the forefront of the crusade.

“It is critical therefore to ensure that the contact centre is working at maximum efficiency, which includes best possible productivity, high staff morale and dynamic resource deployment.

The quest for efficiency in contact centres has given rise to an innovative new approach which links up internal workflow and external communications to generate automated updates to customers.

Lack of communication is one of the major causes of customer complaint. It leads customers to make ‘chaser calls’ which are typically time-consuming, expensive and unproductive for all parties.

The key to reducing ‘chaser’ calls is to provide customers with timely proactive updates on the progress of their particular case. This is eminently achievable with new web-based platforms such as MATS (Multiple Application Tracker System). At key stages of a particular process, whether it is an account opening or a complaints-handling procedure, this generates automated updates via email, SMS text message or personalised web page – whichever is most convenient and immediate.

Ultimately, this approach serves to inform and reassure end customers – thereby reducing the need for chaser calls.

Organisations that take a more proactive role in setting and managing those expectations have a far greater chance of satisfying their customers.

Early deployments have proven to reduce chaser calls by as much as 65%. This unsurprisingly has a knock-on effect on customer complaints, which are commonly driven down by 90%.

The effect on internal operations is equally important. Once the pressure of ‘chaser calls’ and complaints is lifted, staff are able to focus their skills more productively on direct customer-facing activity that helps drives sales.

Research has shown that the deployment of MATS has a significant impact on productive capacity, as well as staff morale. Adopters of the technology have reported improvements in staff retention and job satisfaction, while the incidence of sick days falls dramatically.

In turn, the same system can deliver real-time management reports to help identify blockages or problems that might affect the customer experience.

The success of MATS is based on the increasingly accepted idea that properly co-ordinated and managed communications to customers are dependent upon the efficient and effective handling of internal workflow.”

For resellers seeking added-value services to offer their clients, this adds up to a compelling proposition, according to Alan Cohen.

He said: “No matter how good a service you believe your company to be supplying to your customers, all the time that you are selling ‘me too’ products, your base is under threat from your competition. There are obvious advantages in being able to supply an innovative service that is unique in many ways, and will also provide ‘lock in’ for your installed base.

“Once deployed, MATS becomes integral to that organisation, with every department or division connected to the process operating in conjunction with our software. As a value-added service, MATS serves to complement the supplier’s product offering, and helps the company to adopt a consultancy-led approach.”

MATS is at the leading edge of a new generation of web-based solutions, which offer the advantages of adaptability, simple and swift implementation and comfortable integration with legacy IT systems. As such, ROI is quickly demonstrable.

Alan Cohen said: “The economic landscape has forced businesses to compete for clients more fiercely than ever, and customer service has emerged as a key battleground. Yet the downturn has simultaneously squeezed the funding available for such activity. Contact centres now face the seemingly irreconcilable challenge of delivering improvement at the same time as delivering cost savings.

“The answer lies in drawing together communication channels more efficiently and more effectively, and this evolution is being facilitated by web-based technology like MATS.”
A wide variety of industry sectors that contend with lengthy or complicated customer-facing processes could be beneficiaries. The financial services and public sectors have been early adopters but there are clear opportunities in logistics, healthcare, utilities and other commercial areas.

Mr Cohen predicts that we will see a very noticeable expansion of this concept over the coming months as joined up thinking evolves into joined up working.