Published: March 24, 2020 | Comments
A recession likely is around the corner, and the contact center isn’t immune to the economy’s trickle-down effects. Here are some ideas to help you and your contact center weather the proverbial storm.
Explain the why
In my experience people tend to get on board with change quicker when they understand the reasoning behind the decisions. If projects are cut or decisions are made that alter the path, those affected need to know they aren’t alone. Communicate that this is hopefully a temporary setback and, if all goes well, decisions may be reevaluated once the situation changes.
Prioritize customer experience
Research indicates it is more expensive and more difficult to attract new customers than to maintain loyal ones. Customer experience is even more important in times of economic hardship, and cost cutting in a contact center could mean poorer outcomes for customers. Those customers might start looking elsewhere if they aren’t satisfied with the service and support you offer, especially when compared to past experiences. Alternatively, this is a perfect time to review interactions and look for opportunities to improve what you offer to the customer. Perhaps there is something easy to change or add that has been overlooked.
Offer self service
This is a time to work on deflecting those easy questions that agents are repeatedly asked. If you are lucky enough to have AI, this may be a good time to review the question bank and make sure everything asked that can be addressed is being addressed. If you don’t have AI but have FAQs, it might be an ideal time to review the content you have available.
Invest in other low-cost to no-cost projects
Go for cost-effective wins. If you are looking for a few other ideas that are recession friendly here are a few:
- Add a physical or virtual suggestion box. A virtual box is great especially if you have a large remote team.
- Process Mapping. Do your processes work? Are you making it easy for the customer? Reviewing processes in detail will indicate bottlenecks and areas that can be optimized.
- Review current documentation. Ensure it is up to date and it is documenting the actual process.
- Continuous learning. If things are a little quieter, it is a great opportunity to take advantage of some of the free online learning courses that are offered on a variety of topics.
Don’t forget your employees
Employee engagement drives customer satisfaction. Being as available as you can be, especially if your team size decreases, is paramount to employee engagement. In the time you make for your team, have open discussions and involve them in the process of deciding what should be tackled. Agents usually have the most insight on the customer experience and their own day-to-day tasks.
The dread of recession can be stressful and overwhelming. Focus on making sure your department is the best it can be by using these levers to success, or others that you devise. Business as usual in a time of great change is simply not an option.