Strategy Drives Structure

Many contact centers have been through consolidations or restructurings that are really just cleanup efforts for lack of having or using an effective customer access strategy. For example, I recall helping an insurance company with agent group “consolidation.” Their sales team would sell an account to a major client and, if pressed by the prospect, would agree to provide a …

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The Contact Center’s Role in Building Self-Service Channels

Many organizations are learning firsthand that contact centers can play a central role in encouraging and supporting low-cost access channels. For example, the contact center can provide a wealth of information on which contacts can be automated (or handled in customer communities), and what can be done to improve customer acceptance. Further — and paradoxically — providing agent assistance when …

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Customer Strategy and Management Podcasts

If you haven’t listened before, you might want to check out my podcast series “Customer Strategy and Management.” It includes short, to-the-point podcasts on topics such as building profitable customer relationships, customer access strategies, contact center value, and customer service through social media. Check out the entire series here.

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Make the Most of Changing Customer Expectations

How do you make the most of changing customer expectations and ensure that they are being built into your plans and direction? The following are some important rules of the road: First, ensure that your management team thoroughly understands the 10 basic customer expectations. Post them prominently. And make a habit of considering them when making decisions. Don’t guess at …

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Staffing for Weekends

Here’s an idea: If you’re a consumer-facing service operation and want to stand out from the crowd, be there for your customers on weekends. That’s when many are checking accounts, kicking around options for the renovation, paying utility bills, and booking that trip to see Aunt Mae. I’ve had a number of clients see workloads increase on weekends in recent …

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Service Level: Realistic Targets, Taken Seriously

If your operation is chronically missing your service level target, it may be an indication of a fundamental misconception about the importance of service level. You’ll need to focus on a service level objective that your center can realistically achieve. Once you know your center’s true capabilities, you must be able to back up your objectives with the right amount …

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