There are many ways you can save money in a contact center environment. The tools available today that can lower costs have a profound effect on your bottom line. Workforce Optimization (WFO) solutions have been around for a while, and along with implementing technologies such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) into your contact center, they can really save you money. Here are a few money-saving tips to consider.
Save on Contact Center Telecom Costs with VoIP
Many companies are investigating VoIP to save on telecom costs. VoIP can help eliminate conventional landlines, and it is significantly cheaper than placing your calls through traditional telephone service providers. Overall, implementing VoIP can be relatively simple if you’re looking for a hosted service. VoIP providers handle all the infrastructure offsite, delivering calls to your phones and software clients.
The alternative is to implement a self-hosted, on-site VoIP system. No matter which option you choose, an IP-based, VoIP-friendly version of the PBX phone systems that many offices use is required to route your calls to the appropriate phones on your network. Vendors such as OnviSource can help you decide on the correct configuration for your needs such as a device called a PSTN (public switched telephone network) gateway. The PSTN gateway sits between the IP-PBX software and the analog signals of the PSTN and converts calls to and from digital signals. The benefits of both VoIP options are lower costs and easy configuration management.
Managing Your Contact Center Workforce
One of the biggest cost centers for any company is its labor force. The contact center is no different and having the right staff in place at the right time is not only cost efficient but also contributes to a better overall customer experience. Implementing workforce management (WFM) software allows you to plan more accurately and develop a positive work environment for your agents by taking into account their availability, skills, level of seniority and earned time off. This contributes to a drop in absenteeism and retention rate improvements. WFM has a direct impact on lowering the attrition rate and can also improve agent inefficiency, and minimize idle time.
Workforce optimization software is another essential and money saving contact center tool that has been around for a long time. The basic starting point when using workforce optimzation is call recording. Call recording is a valuable component because it can help you get the most out of your human resources by evaluating and optimizing the performance of your people. Monitoring their daily customer interactions ensures a consistent message and adherence to internal call processes. Call recording can be used as a real world training tool. Evaluating and playing back recorded calls helps teach and assist new or low performing agents in proper call handling and policy adherence. Call recording may even be mandatory as many organizations are required to record all transactions including telesales, debt collection, finance and banking. As regulations and consumer demand continue to increase, this requirement will become even more necessary and valuable.
Recording calls isn’t enough. You need a tool to help you evaluate them for quality assurance, making sure your agents are doing a good job. Listening to every call is near impossible if your time is limited, especially if you operate a contact center with many agents. Using a software tool for Quality Assurance (QA) allows you to regularly monitor, support, and give your agent’s with feedback and training to assure and maintain high standards. Bonus and incentive programs can be based on QA scores based on how agents handle calls and their overall performance.
Of course automating the entire QA process will not only save you time, but also eliminate the need for additional personnel engaged in the QA process. When you have the ability to measure and score every interaction, agent performance can be actively measured.
Automated analytics is one of the fastest growing segments of the contact center technology market. Speech analytics and other analytics tools are appealing because they allow companies to take action using unstructured data from customer interactions to gain new insight about their customers.
When used to evaluate agent performance and adherence to internal and external policies and processes, analytics software can give you a significant competitive advantage. A realistic return on investment (ROI) for a speech analytics solution can be as little as six months (up to 18 months).
Voice Messaging can also lower costs by reducing the need for live answer. For example, by front ending calls with voice mail, basic inquiries for information such as office hours can be answered automatically. Voice messaging can increase productivity, improve internal communication, enhance customer service, and reduce message-taking costs. Using a voice-message system ensures accurate messages, reduces the need for live message taking, and frees users from time zone dependency. A properly implemented voice messaging system can leave a positive first and lasting impression on callers.
Improving Contact Center Cash Management and Flexibility
Finally, contact centers of all sizes can improve their cash management and create flexibility by using a vendor with varied payment options. Leasing can help businesses preserve cash flow by making predictable and affordable payments, freeing up capital that would otherwise be tied up. For example, a large contact center chooses a three-year lease instead of purchasing IT and office equipment. Instead of paying $100,000 up front, the company will pay $85,000 over three years. By working with a vendor that is accustomed to lease agreements, purchasers can obtain leases that are structured to preserve their cash and create financial flexibility. Lease to buy programs are also potential money saving options worth investigating.
Every business has unique operating circumstances, so make sure you select a vendor that can offer multiple payment options and delivery methods. This should include premise based, software and equipment purchases, cloud based solutions and even outsourcing services.