While call centers made significant strides in 2018, many are struggling to keep up with rapidly evolving demand for advanced technologies, improved agent experiences and enhanced customer journeys at the frontline.
Call Centers Struggling to Evolve
attrition has always been a large, nuanced challenge in the call center – but it’s
often overlooked. The core problem is twofold: new agents are constantly being
hired to replace the ones that leave, and the ones that leave are also taking
their knowledge with them.
this problem completely is not realistic. But there are some things you can do to
lessen its impact:
through self-service training and digital onboarding. Training new agents eats up time and
resources that could be spent in production. However, the right self-service
training and onboarding program can help reduce the time it takes getting
Build and maintain a
killer knowledgebase. When
agents are promoted, or high performing agents leave, they often take their
knowledge with them. Having a sustainable, robust knowledgebase will keep agent
information from walking out the door.
Lack of Cross-Departmental Collaboration
are operating in silos, putting agents in a disadvantageous position in terms
of their ability to accurately and comprehensively solve customers’ problems. When
information isn’t shared across departments, agents spend too much time solving
issues that have already been addressed elsewhere. This is why there must be a
concerted effort to connect departments through emerging technologies.
Tactical Efforts Continue to Swallow the Strategic
Every day, call
center employees are pulled into a slew of “fires” that they have to put out.
This daily struggle of handling tactical requests takes their focus off strategic
initiatives that would have a bigger impact. So, what happens? Call centers get
stuck in one place because they lack the innovation to better service customers.
Older Infrastructure and Disparate Systems
infrastructure holds back the innovation and modernization of the call center.
The industry is clearly moving toward the cloud, but deadlines are missed and
milestones are pushed back because the transition has proved more difficult
than expected for many companies.
leadership must address these key
challenges in 2019. Pain points will not be solved at the agent level if the
right technologies and knowledge assets are not implemented – and implementing
requires a strategic plan. Let’s take a look at which trends will help them get
What Trends Will Help Call Centers Succeed?
Call Center Priorities
call center strategy should prioritize these three things:
infrastructure and ecosystem of solutions to the cloud.
advantage of AI & automation to reduce overhead and improve agent
SaaS platforms to integrate with cloud infrastructure and deliver immediate
impacts on the bottom-line through better functionality, higher efficiencies
and more insights.
With that in
mind, let’s unpack exactly why these trends are so essential.
Migration to the Cloud
migration will continue for many organizations through 2019 and even 2020. As
this migration takes place alongside the evolution and specialization of
software cloud services (SaaS), there will be a continued push to integrate
tools into a unified agent experience. Call centers are going to want as many of
their tools integrated as possible.
Advanced and Powerful Analytics
Analyticswill begin to permeate all aspects of
the contact center, powered by the cloud in a way not previously possible. This
will create a new level of transparency and opportunities for continuous
improvement within contact centers.
Self-Service and AI-Powered Chatbots
become more prevalent, fueled by the movement to digital. For handling less
complex requests, these tools will be especially powerful – and will free up
agents to handle more complicated questions.
Automation and Assisted Intelligence
automation of tasks and assisted intelligence in information discovery will
support the knowledge worker, thanks to the maturing of AI.
Data is All That Matters
of the movement to the cloud and modernization of infrastructure is data. Data
that was once disparate and siloed can now interact and be transformed into
intelligence in the form of advanced analytics, AI algorithms and knowledge
Integrated Data is Actually All That Matters
such as IVR’s, ACD’s, self-service, chatbots and KM should not be viewed as stand-alone
solutions. Integrating the data from these systems can provide levels of
insight and intelligence like never before and can impact most of the critical
metrics for success in contact centers, such as FCR, handle time, time to
proficiency and escalation.
But, what are
the problems with the tools we use today?
The Problem With Knowledge Management Tools
Most Call Centers Can’t Maintain Their Knowledge Management Platforms
HR allocation, processes and time required to keep information accurate,
up-to-date and trusted is in direct competition with the tactical daily
firefighting that is part of operating a contact center.
Lack of Findability
to be another major issue with most knowledge management tools. Content is
dumped in folders, mistitled and untagged – but still expected to be found.
SharePoint and other legacy systems have been battered by this issue, which
tears at the roots of overall agent usability and leads to print outs, “ask an
expert” and hold times.
that agents use don’t have a modern UX, which reduces usability.Though call centers are the place for
a quality customer experience (CX), the user experience (UX) on the agent-side
is a major issue. This creates tension and churn in adoption.
Knowledge Management Systems are Set-Up Poorly
of a knowledge management system is usually left to analysts, supervisors or
occasionally someone in training and development. While these people are
intelligent and capable knowledge workers, they’re not UX designers.
Additionally, KM setup is often approached as a one-off project, making it out
of date shortly after it’s handed over for someone to maintain.
KM programs don’t always mean the call centers using them are ineffective as a
whole. But a high-functioning call center cannot exist without a
high-functioning KM program. But what does that look like?
What Makes a Valuable Knowledge Management Program?
advanced analytics to a KM solution delivers immediate impact and provides
transparency into something that was previously a black box. This gives admins
the ability to see what users are doing, enabling continuous improvement on the
content, system and agent level.
KM can now
leverage massive amounts of data and aggregate, transform and assess trends
through automation and AI. Automation makes it possible to create task lists
and notify admins when content is going out of date, when agents are not
finding what they need and when content is being abandoned. This removes the
burden on maintenance and administration for performing such functions.
Findability Made Better by AI
AI can also
enhance findability in ways previously not possible. Content can be recommended
to agents based on IVR selection, customer profiles, call resolution patterns
and search path history. When searches are performed, AI can also recommend
information based on what agents are looking for.
Improve the Customer Experience (And the Bottom Line)
knowledge management platforms are what power modern call centers. By following
the trends described above, your call center can:
workload through greater efficiencies
improvements through greater data insights
time to agent proficiency
an increasingly diverse and complex contact request
forget the following general rules:
Set Up KM the Right Way
If you invest
in organizing and structuring content from the beginning, the technology will
learn and optimize faster. The right set up could take as little as 2 weeks to
accomplish in a contact center. And with automated maintenance suggesting routine
fixes, legacy problems – like content going out of date, agents losing trust
and the knowledgebase becoming stale – will disappear.
Intelligence is Not Static
information is stored, a powerful KM system begins to aggregate, process and
analyze it in ways that a person cannot. Using dashboards, admins can see which
content is the most used, going out of date, difficult to find, what search
terms are effective and what search terms are leading to dead ends.
Future-Proof Your KM
management tool should be future-proofed to integrate with existing systems.
This will help you avoid the headaches associated with “disconnected systems”
that lead to negative UX and CX. It should have a path to solutions that agents
and customers already use. This means stuff like call center management
platforms, IVRs, ACDs, CRMs, and custom integrations via open APIs.
For more on the future of contact centers and knowledge management in 2019, register for a free online event hosted by Customer Contact Week Digital. To take an even deeper dive on how AI can bring value to the contact center, the webcast session “Grading AI Ahead of 2019” is available on-demand.