Contact centers are no piece of cake operation. In fact, they’re some of the most challenging places to work, and an even bigger challenge to manage. Contact center managers know this all too well, and without a doubt share the same concerns, headaches, and hurdles.
It’s these challenges that often gives contact center management a bad reputation. Customers can be an absolute nightmare, the administration can skimp out on crucial necessities to save money, and rigid work routines all combine for a difficult-to-manage situation. If you choose not to address and resolve these issues, this environment can take a turn for the worse quickly.
This cannot and should not be the case nowadays. Contact centers used to essentially serve as quality assurance. But today, these operations play a critical role in the well-being and growth of many small to enterprise level companies. From the roles they play in the customer experience to their ability to upsell products or services — contact centers are only growing in importance.
Given how significance these operations have become, you would think that these common problems wouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, the still plague the industry. We thought it would be a good idea to let you all know that you’re not alone. Here are some of the most common contact center manager problems we know you still face.
1. Too Much Turnover
One of the most common issues for contact center managers is the incredibly high turnover rate for their staff. Balance this issue with the fact that you need to maintain incredibly high satisfaction rates — and it’s a migraine for management. If you want to keep customers happy, you’ll also need to keep your employees happy; additionally, it’s hard to deliver consistency to a customer when the personnel changes with every interaction. It seems a bit more simple than it is, but it’s something that not enough managers really take the time to do.
Compared to other company objectives, it simply doesn’t fall high enough on the list. But it’s a snowball effect. If you can keep your staff around — you’ll see a real impact with the results that your administration cares about.
There’s also little chance for growth in contact centers — at least compared to other industries. That’s why it’s especially important to incentivize your employees creatively. This is one of the best ways to reduce call center attrition. Here are some other successful ways to keep contact center agents around longer.
Make a culture change in your space. Sometimes the best way to improve staff satisfaction is to simply make the workplace more enjoyable. Add in some friendly competition to spice things up.
Give your staff the right tools and resources so that they can do their job efficiently and without extra work. Sometimes the most frustrating part of contact centers is outdated software and hardware.
Hire right from the get-go. Training is inevitable, but getting the right mindset in the door from the start will help reduce your turnover rates dramatically.
It’s also important to set realistic goals. We know that contact centers can be demanding, but it can be daunting for employees to constantly come up short. Make sure you’re tracking results as well and taking steps to improve month in and month out.
2. Ancient Technology
Speaking of outdated software and hardware, old technology can be a huge hurdle for many contact center managers. This isn’t an issue for just contact centers, but keeping up with the pace of the customer experience requires a certain echelon of advancement.
Self-service plays such an integral role for contact centers. Cloud-based software can give companies, managers, employees, and customers peace of mind that their issues will be handled with care and consistency.
Customers are more independent now than ever. They would much rather find solutions on their own than to wait around for a helping hand. API’s allow you to grant far more routes for your customers to seek answers and get results. The more you limit your customers the less satisfied they will be. It’s also a great way to free your representatives from monotonous problem solving and allow them to focus on more critical issues that are far less boring.
The better the technology, the happier you’ll be as a manager. We know that it can be difficult to get this in the door. But with the pace that technology is heading, even AI can make a huge impact on contact centers and give you a better way to approach the customer and reach your contact center objectives.
3. Increasing Expectations
As we’ve mentioned, the customer experience has never been more important than it is now. Why is this? Well, the customer is now more informed, less patient, and has more and more options to choose from when it comes to your niche. It’s no surprise that companies have begun investing in their contact center operations in droves.
If you can’t keep up with expectations, let alone your competition — you’re either already seeing the impact, or you soon will. If you’re dealing with even one of these issues it can be a major headache. As a manager, these can be a tough situation and they’re a problem many collectively face.
With so many options and channels to choose from, implementing an omnichannel approach is a literal pain-reliever. It’s a great way to meet customers where they are at. With so many communication channels available, it’s important to be present on as many as possible without spreading yourself too thin. Part of this can be mitigated with the right software as we mentioned before.
Perhaps the best way to exceed your customer’s expectation is to collect feedback — and then act on it. Too many times we see companies asking for feedback, but then they let the results sit for no apparent reason. Sure, getting positive feedback and presenting it is a great PR move. But, it’s the negative feedback that provides the best lessons. Take what your customers are saying serious and make changes accordingly. These are valuable learning points and can help pivot your initiatives in the right direction.
4. Keeping Your Staff Engaged
This kind of goes hand in hand with turnover issues, but even if you’re not having issues with attrition you still may be dealing with a miserable workforce. Some of this is beyond your control. Contact centers have a tough environment. Cubicles, low interest in the job, little motivation, not a lot of room for growth — these all contribute to a lack of engagement from your staff.
This can equate to a lot of frustration for managers, who despite their best efforts to make the workplace better are still seeing sullen faces. If you want to improve the level of engagement from your staff it’s going to take a little bit of extra work on your end. While we know this isn’t what you want to hear, it will achieve a more enjoyable work environment and actual results down the line.
As we said, sitting in a cubicle all day is a recipe for gloom. So, try to instigate small breaks, possible ways to get people up and out of their little bubble. This may be a chore at first, but if done right your staff will begin to look forward to these moments and they’ll drastically help with the mood in the workplace.
Incentives are another great way to increase engagement. You can do this individually with competitive salaries or bonuses, or collectively with goal-setting that comes in the form of communal rewards. As we said, some aspects of keeping staff engaged are coming from other issues you’re likely having. One of these is the outdated technology we talked about. Having the right software at hand will keep representatives from wanting to toss their keyboard out the window.
5. Staffing Issues
The last common issue on the list is the dreaded staffing debacle. Every contact center manager can attest to overstaffing and understaffing problems. This is becoming increasingly more difficult to manage due to the rapid changes with technology and need to address the importance of the customer experience.
The need for premier optimization in the contact center has become a mess for managers. But in all honesty, if you can find the right tools and ways to implement them it really doesn’t have to be. If you can put into place the right technology, methods, processes, and mindset — you’re able to not only run a seamless operation but save a ton of money in the process.
We Get It
As a trusted outsource contact center management operation, we’ve felt these gripes before. We get it. But we also invest a ton of our time and resources into understanding customer service outsourcing and how to keep an operation running smoothly without giving managers challenge after challenge.
If your contact center operation needs a hand, or if you’re looking to leave it to the experts like us, contact us.