You may have heard the famous quotation from Albert Einstein about the definition of insanity, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Often times when it comes to Contact Center operations I believe that the essence of this quotation holds true.
I’ve sat in many contact centers around the world and watched a self-destructive cycle of behavior that repeats itself day after day. In fact, in most cases these cycles have become so natural that the customer perceives it as normal!
Imagine the scene. It’s 10 a.m. on a Monday morning, the call queues are already maxing out, some staff haven’t showed up and a new marketing campaign has just been launched without giving the contact center any notice.
So what to do? Start to divert staff from less pressing activities to take some of the calls. This is probably the right solution, but it’s already too late. It’s likely to have taken around 30 minutes to spot the problem and get agreement to address it. It will then take another 30 minutes (or more) to make the skill changes in the ACD and get the staff connected to the right queues.
Now the contact center is 1 hour behind real time, the customers are really starting to get frustrated, and so are the agents and contact center management. However, the story gets even worse. This will all have to be reset when things return back to normal, but if something similar happens again, well. Contact Center Insanity!
The saddest observation for me however, was that when I visited these contact centers they thought that this was normal. Some even got a ‘real buzz’ out of ‘being in control’ of it; from pushing the buttons and pulling the levers to move the work around like an old-fashioned railroad signalman. What they had failed to see were the high operational costs and poor customer experience that their ‘valiant daily struggle’ was delivering.
So how do you recognize the potential symptoms that indicate you could be suffering from Contact Center Insanity?
- You are constantly having to manually adjust the call routing or agent skills
- You have a team dedicated to making skill changes and they are always busy
- This team gets a buzz from being ‘in control’ of chaos!
- You do not have any automatic routing in place to self- balance the call traffic
- More often than not you are struggling to meet service levels
- Your cost of running the contact center operations seems high
- Your customers complain that they have to queue too often
There is however, a cure. It requires a properly designed routing strategy that allows call traffic to be balanced automatically. By delivering calls to the best available resource at that moment, wherever they are in your organization. A routing strategy that self-balances in real time so that, in most cases, the queues are averted along with the need for manual intervention.
Making this change is not easy; it will also require you to manage both business and IT change. There will be people who think that manually adjusting the routing is better; they often have a vested interest as it’s their job and they don’t understand the real impact that this approach is having. The benefits in terms of operational cost savings, improved customer satisfaction and improved agent morale will significantly outweigh the pain and effort required.
A good opportunity to fix this problem is when you move to a new contact center platform. There will be those on the project team who will recommend just moving the old strategy, as its easier and safer but they are missing the chance to gain the most out of the new investment.
Just remember when it comes to Contact Centers, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” really does hold true.
To learn about how Genesys can help you break this negative cycle download our eBook, 3 Strategies to Improve the Customer Experience.