Quality and quantity - best contact centre buddies

The Quality versus Quantity debate no longer features when it comes to establishing and running an effective contact centre environment - the reality is that in today's contact centres, both requirements need to be met.

 Much like sales and marketing, quality and quantity aren't enemies; together they contribute to the overall wellbeing and effectiveness of a contact centre.
Unfortunately, South African contact centre environments are currently suffering from a decline in both areas. Calls aren't being handled swiftly enough and resolution rates are low, indicating that both quality and quantity are being compromised.
The negative impact? Customers are becoming impatient with the time it takes to answer their calls and dissatisfied with the resolution provided for their queries.  This, in turn, impacts other business areas as customer receptiveness to product up-selling and cross-selling wanes, not to mention the decline in customer service levels.

Not mutually exclusive
Focusing exclusively on either quality or quantity isn't the answer. If a contact centre chases call volumes simply by minimising call duration, it may end up with highly dissatisfied customers who feel their queries have not received adequate attention and consequently have not been satisfactorily resolved.
On the other hand, if a contact centre endeavours to provide the best possible solution without using call-time as efficiently as possible, on-hold customers may experience unacceptable waiting time, or, where resources are allocated to alleviate this problem, the increased cost of running the service becomes unaffordable. 
Clearly, quality and quantity go hand-in-hand. Technology plays a crucial role in achieving both.

To keep the quality and quantity twins happy, a solution that addresses business and technology needs is required.
Measurement is key to this process - you can only manage what you measure. It is therefore important to conduct a thorough business analysis of your contact centre environment to assess optimal call time against successful query resolution. What you need to identify is whether your contact centre is suffering from compromised quality or quantity, or if the one is negatively impacting the other.
Secondly, identify key business requirements. How can you optimise your contact centre environment to achieve desired outcomes specific to your market space? Supporting systems need to provide quick, accurate and relevant information to assist in fast, comprehensive resolution of queries.
Once you have identified these parameters, you can start looking at the best possible technology to fit your business requirements.
The contact centre solution industry is mature and sophisticated, which means there should be a solution to achieve your exact business goals. Configuring and implementing that solution may be a key criteria in terms of achieving desired outcomes, however. Ensuring that your service provider understands your business, your needs, your architecture and solutions, is vital. In the final analysis however, it is not the solution that provides a performance advantage, rather, it is how you use the solution.

Paul Fick, Managing Director of Spescom DataFusion


Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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