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The results categorized call centers in four stages of maturity. Two-thirds of respondents overall were “behind the curve” in terms of evolving their traditional call center into a modern customer service operation.
“Companies with the ability to leverage their call centers as a strategic asset will see not only increased revenue and a more engaged customer, but they will have the overall competitive advantage,” said Greg Hanover, CEO of Liveops. “The Report shows that many companies settle into what we call ‘the developing stage’ because they feel that they’re doing well. They might suspect there’s a better way, but they don’t see the value of, nor a clear path to enhancing the customer experience.”
The 2018 Call Center Industry Report reveals critical paths for enterprises to improve quality, adapt call volume fluctuations, and control costs. Among them:
- Adapt quickly to handle peaks and lulls: Unplanned events account for 20 percent of the customer demand spikes that disrupt call centers. Together with seasonal fluctuations, more than half of customer demand spikes aren’t planned, and can massively undermine service. In fact, only 29 percent of the 750 customer service leaders surveyed said they are able to reliably forecast demand, and 31 percent admit that long hold times are the result of unexpected demand.
- Shifting costs to a flexible model: 79 percent of call centers pay agents on an hourly or salaried basis, as opposed to a per-minute rate based on actual talk time. As a result, 4 in 5 agents are paid regardless of whether they are helping customers.
- Better sourcing delivers better quality talent: The data reflects a shift in talent acquisition barriers from the employer’s perspective—but a closer look reveals that perspective might be more advanced than reality. The disconnect between the leadership in many companies and what’s happening on the front line with customers creates a chasm of lost opportunity.
“The traditional call center’s way of operating has taken a big toll on customer experience because it doesn’t include sufficient demand planning, doesn’t maximize agent capacity, and doesn’t flex to attract the best agent experience,” said Hanover. “We’re seeing large enterprises that are known for great service increasingly question how well their call centers perform. Customer experience leaders see their performance metrics eroded by high attrition, poor call handling and lack of business agility.”
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The driving force behind enterprise adoption of flexible, on-demand call center services like Liveops is the link between customer satisfaction and revenue. A recent report by McKinsey & Companynoted that companies realized a 10 to 15 percent increase in revenue and a 20 percent jump in customer satisfaction when they made customer experiences a priority.
“This report of the industry validates what we’re hearing from the market on a daily basis,” Hanover added. “The bottom line is that call centers must evolve with customers’ increased expectations.”
The full 2018 Call Center Industry Report is available for download at http://liveops.com/landing/2018-call-center-industry-report/