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 dedicated agent group. In all cases, they promised agents trained on the characteristics of the clients’ accounts (e.g., small business, large business, government agencies, etc.). After each sale, the organization would roll out dedicated telephone numbers and the contact center would then be left to figure out how to best support the account.

The center pooled agent groups whenever possible, but they eventually reached the point where they were faced with the near-impossible task of managing numerous agent groups, routing plans, overflow contingencies and access numbers. The purpose of the consolidation plan was to get a handle on all of the available access numbers and routing plans, and then combine and simplify agent groups and accounts as possible. It was a painful effort necessitated by decisions that were being made in the absence of an overall plan. They are now taking steps to ensure that the contact center and sales teams work from a common plan.

Excerpt from Call Center Management on Fast Forward by Brad Cleveland.