Creating a successful contact centre

January 30, 2012 1:41 pm 0 comments

Share this Article


Karl Reed Creating a successful contact centreThe quality of the consumer’s contact centre experience defines a significant portion of overall brand value – far more so now than was the case a few years ago.

For most brands the defining contact centre challenge is to move away from a paradigm where customer service is a gritty and unpleasant coal face experience, and towards positive customer interactions that enhance brand value.  Achieving this shift requires a considerable amount of strategic planning and tactical effort.

Decision makers embarking on the contact centre journey should focus on five key areas. While each impact the overall consumer experience, however, this is by no means the only area of relevance to the business.

Get tech savvy

System singularity is a technology must-have. Only single engine communication systems are able to integrate all the performance and reporting aspects required by modern business, within a real-time framework.

The end goal is a consolidated system that ensures information processing is streamlined to cope with fragmented communication channels, copes seamlessly with onerous record keeping regulatory requirements, and offers decision makers access to a full range of customised reporting variables, in real-time, of course.

Traditional, hardware-based proprietary systems are still prevalent in the market, but as the range of communication demands placed on businesses compounds, the inability of these systems to cope with variability without incurring significant, ongoing development costs will become more and more of an issue.  

Market yourself

Regardless of what the organisation’s strategic communication aims are, rolling-out a modern contact centre must begin with an extended conversation with customers. Some brands will require a Twitter contact channel, while others will need SMS call back facilities. The bottom line is that only your customers can tell you which mix of communication channels will be appropriate for your organisation.

Once the right channel mix is in place, it’s also crucial to communicate, clearly and in good time, to the market about the ways in which the brand’s contact channels are evolving, and how this evolution will impact consumers. 

Check your employees

If a contact centre is suffering from agent churn, it’s got a serious problem.

A lot of natural talent arrives at an average contact centre on any given day. It’s the companies that are able to foster this talent into a valued, long term employee base that deliver exceptional service – and invariably these companies carry out extensive, ongoing training. Training is not just about making sure staff are able to keep up with technological change (which is, of course, crucial in any contact centre). It’s also about creating the sense of positivity and progression within the organisation that defines key elements of the customer’s experience.

Understand the CPA

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) is comprehensive and complex, and it requires decision makers across the local economy to make a proactive effort in understanding the many potential interpretations of the law that will apply to specific cases, contexts and scenarios.

It is now a legal requirement that communication records are instantly accessible and traceable across all possible channels, from user emails to phone calls to SMS interactions. Each organisation must identify – in detail – what their contact centre managers must know about the CPA. The next challenge is delivering the relevant education, within the context of day to day operations.

Progress in proces

From the consumer’s perspective, service must be as close to seamless as possible, and this means that not only must the right mix of communication channels be in place, but also that each channel must offer a smooth, logical path to resolution.

But processes are by no means restricted in relevance to the consumer’s experience. A mature communication strategy will often involve blending inbound and outbound functions, for example. By adding outbound account management to the mix, many brands have reduced debtors days significantly, an improvement that can deliver major savings. And then there are the management obligation records created by the CPA. No matter which way you look at it, processes matter, and to ensure that exactly the right processes are in place, one needs to start at the beginning again – with the technology.


By Karl Reed, marketing director at Elingo

pf button big Creating a successful contact centre

Other News

  • Opinion

    Savvy SA schools SMS

    A Cape Town mom is more than a little displeased with her children’s primary school. During the recent heat wave in the Western Cape, the school cancelled athletics practice due to the extreme temperatures. The teachers went home and children, under the age of 13, had to wait alone outside the school in the heat until their parents picked them up at the time the sports practice was meant to end. The school had no way to alert the parents [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    Contain mining costs by adopting cloud services

    Being agile in the face of unpredictable volatility will become even more important as pressure increases on mining companies to continue growing while reducing operating costs. A solution to reducing costs is based in cloud computing, which has become a topic of interest for a variety of industries, specifically in mining where, historically, the preference has been to own and run applications onsite. Cloud computing offers the mining sector the opportunity to consolidate multiple applications by hosting in highly virtualised [...]

    Read more →
  • Internet

    DOC successfully connects Tshwane college

    The Tshwane North College for Further Education and Training (TNC) broadband project, in partnership with the Department of Communications (DOC), has yielded positive results for teachers and students, says the college.   The Public Private Partnership saw the DOC provide internet connectivity to the college and its campuses through service provider, iBurst. Acting Principal at the college, Charles Pule, said that the TNC Broadband Project was formed  out of frustrations experienced by the TNC following its lack of ability to [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    Cleaning up your applications portfolio

    One of the top five biggest business issues that many IT organisations wrestle with is trying to contain the size of the applications portfolio they are asked to manage. Many organisations simply fail to take a hard look at which applications can be retired and, as a result, the cost of the IT infrastructure needed to support all those applications spirals out of control. Here are some tips on how to rationally clean up the applications portfolio. Set an objective [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    Creating a successful contact centre

    The quality of the consumer’s contact centre experience defines a significant portion of overall brand value – far more so now than was the case a few years ago. For most brands the defining contact centre challenge is to move away from a paradigm where customer service is a gritty and unpleasant coal face experience, and towards positive customer interactions that enhance brand value.  Achieving this shift requires a considerable amount of strategic planning and tactical effort. Decision makers embarking [...]

    Read more →
  • Mobile

    133% growth for FNB eWallet

    FNB’s eWallet has seen a 133% jump in growth in December 2011 - processing over  R140 million in money transfer transactions as compared to R60 million in December 2010. “Every festive season since its launch, eWallet has continued to show remarkable growth. Average daily transaction values have also increased to approximately double the figures we saw a year ago,” says Yolande van Wyk, CEO of FNB eWallet Solutions.   eWallet recently announced various enhancements to the eWallet functionality. Customers can [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Internet

    National libraries get connected

    Vodacom has completed the implementation of Phase 1 of a libraries project for internet connectivity in the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.

    The National Department of Arts and Culture multi-million rand project is managed and driven by the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) and is being implemented through partnerships with service providers and provincial libraries.

    When completed, almost 300 community libraries will be connected using VSAT and Vodacom ADSL services.

    “This project started when we were implementing the SITA/ NLSA open source Library Information Management System (LIMS),” says Lesiba Ledwaba, CIO National Library of South Africa and head of project.

    Read more →
  • Mobile

    Telkom searches for mobile unit MD

     Telkom has embarked on a recruitment process to appoint a MD for its mobile arm as it gears up to offer several new propositions. The MD will join 8ta, which was introduced in October last year and currently has a market share of  nearly 2%, and become an exco member of the Telkom Group. “It is of great importance that we keep the momentum going. In fact, delivery on our mobile investment features very high on the corporate agenda. It is [...]

    Read more →
  • Opinion

    SMS direct marketing contravenes CPA

    The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) allows sending unsolicited direct marketing communications (which is commonly seen as spam by many consumers) under certain conditions. However, if one looks more closely, it turns out that it is simply not possible to comply with these conditions with SMS communications. Before sending out direct marketing messages to a database of contacts, a company would have to ensure the following in terms of the CPA: Check if recipients have already opted-out from direct marketing messages [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Mobile

    Consumer Commission tackles high roaming fees

    National Consumer commissioner, Mamodupi Mohlala, has revealed that the commission has set its sights on tackling the high cost of international roaming for cellphone users.

    Briefing the National Assembly’s Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee, Mohlala said the commission would seek the advice of experts around international roaming fees.

    The commission says it is currently looking into cellphone and internet service providers that provide pre-paid data but do not allow consumers to carry over unused data to the next month.

    Read more →

SA IT NEWS Feedback

We appreciate any and all feedback about our site; praise, ideas, bug reports you name it!

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER ISSUE | Engage in our latest issue of Saitnews Magazine titled Woman in IT Download Now