We are half way through 2022 but reading about poor customer experience and staff attrition rates in contact centres you would think we have travelled decades back in time. Are contact centres investing in tackling the real causes of issues or what they perceive to be the problem? Increasing process observability and productivity mining can help contact centres address the actual issues and importantly, in the age of the great resignation, improve employees’ job satisfaction and help them achieve flow.
There are frequent surveys published in the media that show more than half of consumers are unhappy with their experiences of customer service (examples). Then there is staff attrition that has always been high in this sector and in the age of the great resignation, things have got worse. I am aware of several contact centre teams that are severely short of staff and their recruitment efforts continue to fail to attract candidates.
Root Causes: Customer Dissatisfaction and Staff Attrition Factors
There are a mix of problems leading to both customer dissatisfaction and staff attrition. Examples include:
- A mismatch between guidelines for staff and what they actually experience in their interactions with customers. For example, this could be a complete lack of customer interest in some kind of upsell offer, because the marketing and advertising for customer awareness has not been done. The mandate for contact centre agents to achieve sales objectives would typically come from high up in the organisation along with key performance indicators that are irrelevant and targets that are unachievable. The situation leaves the agents under huge pressure, resulting in stress and inevitably more of them will leave
- Repetitive and uninteresting work for agents that could be partly automated. Moreover, the agents could be given the option to activate the automations, putting them in control of how they deliver the work and manage their own productivity levels
- Slow and disjointed systems that lead to customers having to repeat the information that they provide, and agents experiencing problems when trying to access the latest data
- Shift patterns that are poorly planned leading to some teams experiencing frequent or on-going high demand while others have long periods of spare capacity
- Lack of adequate staff training that leaves teams struggling to handle some cases, knocking their confidence and resulting in poor customer service
- Complicated processes that could be simplified, optimized and modernised but with no investments in process observability the complexity is hidden from decision-makers
Process intelligence technology can help address most of these issues by providing insights on the trifecta of people, processes and systems. It increases visibility to show what could be improved, integrated and digitally transformed. It can highlight the causes of productivity problems for staff to help the teams achieve their goals and subsequently improve their job satisfaction, e.g. how prescribed process steps work in practice, inadequate embedded help and knowledge bases, poor shift patterns and workload allocations.
Many contact centres start out to mine processes and tasks simply to automate them. By broadening their approach to process observability and finding opportunities for improving productivity they can mine the rich seam of data that technology can provide today to achieve more business benefits.