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Business Transformation and the Contact Centre

In the fast-paced world of business, transformation is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity. The forces outlined in Michael Porter’s Five Forces framework* have gained unprecedented strength, pushing enterprises toward profound changes. Nowhere is this more evident than in the dynamic landscape of the contact centre, where the gravitational pull of business transformation is at its peak.

The contact centre, extending beyond mere human-to-human interactions to encompass automation, self-service, applications, and content, stands at the epicentre of several critical transformations. These changes typically involve Revenue Transformation, Cost Transformation, Service Transformation, Support Transformation, or a combination of these goals. Essentially, most transformation initiatives aim to bolster revenue, reduce costs, and enhance service and support quality.

The contact centre presents an inviting canvas for transformation due to the considerable cost associated with its operation and the substantial upside potential. The logical step for most organisations is to optimise, improve, and transform this vital hub of customer interactions. However, despite the intent, successful execution is rare. McKinsey’s recent study reports a 70%** failure rate for such projects, suggesting that even when projects do not entirely collapse, they often fall short of their original objectives. The question then is, why does this happen?

The Management Disconnect and the “Why”

One of the most significant stumbling blocks in the path of successful transformation is the management disconnect and a lack of clear “why.” Many transformation projects are conceived in one layer of a business and then handed over for execution to another layer. It’s here that the infamous “JUST” word is liberally used, with requests such as, “Can you ‘just’ implement an Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) and eliminate 100 staff?” Furthermore, effectively communicating the transformation’s objectives and gaining the buy-in of teams and staff is of paramount importance. Springing transformation initiatives upon operational teams with a “First time I’ve heard about this” rarely yields positive outcomes.

The Overpromise of Non-Productised Automation

Automation, particularly non-productised automation, is often promised as a panacea for contact centre challenges. However, a distinction must be made between defined product or process automation, which follows a well-defined path, and non-productised automation, which deals with queries and requests outside the norm. While the former can have some utility in specific contexts, the latter, which is more prevalent in business-to-consumer (B2C) service automation, often falls short of expectations. Non-productised service automation frequently performs poorly, with a significant portion of inbound traffic ultimately requiring human intervention due to system inadequacies.

In the ideal world, automation thrives, but the reality that contact centres confront is far less perfect. Nevertheless, there is significant potential in agent-assist and augmentation technologies, which reduce workload, provide real-time assistance during calls, and optimise customer interactions, particularly for new staff.

Fact-Based Monitoring of Data

When customers encounter digital hiccups, they tend to escalate issues via various channels, including phone, email, and chat. Currently, voice calls bear the brunt of these escalations as chat and email channels often lead to frustratingly unproductive experiences. For organisations undergoing transformation, closely monitoring the voice channel is a critical necessity to ensure that the process stays on track.

Focus on Outcome, Not Activity

Transformation efforts must focus on tangible outcomes, not just activities. It’s not enough to simply install new switches or update technology; the focus should be on improving customer satisfaction, increasing revenues, and reducing post-call workloads. The effort and activities undertaken should be seen to achieve these goals, whether they pertain to revenue, cost reduction, employee experience, customer experience, or support.

The Desire for Perfection

The quest for perfection has become a stumbling block in today’s data-rich environment. The sheer volume and fluidity of data make it unrealistic to expect a granular report covering every aspect of operations. What’s truly needed are insights, trends, pointers, and indicators, not exhaustive data on every permutation. The goal should be to detect issues or opportunities effectively, rather than striving for perfection. In this era of big data, recalibrating expectations to focus on recognising patterns and making incremental improvements is a more pragmatic approach.

Introducing transformation in bite-sized initiatives, supported by technologies that easily “Snap-In” to existing platforms, can offer swift wins for organisations during major transformations. These flexible technologies align with the virtues of rapid deployment, cost-effectiveness, seamless integration, modular deployment, user-friendly interfaces, open data access, scalability, and security—all without compromising the need for effective, outcome-oriented transformation in the contact centre. In a business world continually evolving, these transformative tools provide a practical approach to staying ahead of the curve. Here’s why:

Agile Snap-In solutions provide a user-friendly platform that empower employees with varying technical backgrounds to actively participate in the transformation process, bridging the technology gap and enhancing the overall success rate.

They can make a significant difference in the context of contact centre transformation via simplicity and speed.  Snap-In platforms simplify the analytical processes, enabling employees to comprehend and adjust swiftly. This approach accelerates the contact centre transformation, allowing companies to understand and logically react in a rapidly changing landscape.

Empowerment. Snap-In solutions empower employees to own and fully understand the decisions driving the contact centre transformation. This sense of ownership mitigates resistance and garners greater buy-in from the workforce, creating a more engaged and enthusiastic team.

Flexibility. Snap-In platforms support rapid iteration and flexibility. If an organisation needs to pivot or make changes in response to market dynamics, employees can easily adapt applications without relying on scarce IT resources, ensuring that the contact centre remains agile and responsive.

Cost efficiency.  Snap-In solutions can often be more cost-effective than traditional development methods, making them accessible to a broader range of organisations. This accessibility reduces the risk of budget overruns and financial constraints.

Enhanced communication. No-code snap-ins facilitate collaboration between employees and IT departments, ensuring that the contact centre transformation aligns with the organisation’s goals. This enhanced communication can help avoid costly missteps and foster alignment between the workforce and the technology team.

In the ever-evolving landscape of business transformation and the contact centre, Tech agnostic Snap-In solutions offer a user-friendly, empowering, flexible, cost-efficient, and communication-enhancing approach. They’re the key to staying ahead and thriving in today’s dynamic world.

* Porter’s Five ForceFramework
** McKinsey Common Pitfalls in Transformation