Do not succumb to the ‘CX sacrifice’

Whether or not 2023 will usher in a light recession or simply an financial downturn, nobody is aware of. What’s plain is whispers from that satan in your shoulder, “What about headcount?” are getting louder by the day.

Workforce reductions are tempting within the face of financial headwinds however know-how and buyer expertise consultants urge contact middle leaders to take the lengthy view, and resist. Know-how investments shall be extra tempered in 2023 and that requires extra strategic planning, mentioned panelists on the latest ICMI webinar, “Weathering the Storm: Investing for Lengthy-Time period Contact Middle Success.”

“Plenty of manufacturers tend towards what I name the ‘CX sacrifice,’ decreasing workers and lowering your time to serve. This can be a mistake,” mentioned panelist Nick Cerise, chief advertising officer at TTEC.

As an alternative, Cerise and analysts from international analysis agency Omdia mapped a path to maintain the workforce intact, extra productive, and better-equipped to ship an distinctive buyer expertise.

Tech spending grows, although extra slowly
Greater than half of worldwide enterprises will improve contact middle know-how investments this 12 months, mentioned David Myron, principal analyst, contact middle applied sciences, Omdia. Citing outcomes from Omdia’s 2023 IT Enterprise Insights survey, Myron mentioned 59% of firms plan strategic or minor cloud know-how investments for the contact middle in 2023, down from 63% this 12 months.

Myron mentioned different areas the place contact facilities will improve know-how funding in 2023 embrace self-service automation and conversational AI/chatbots.

One other Omdia panelist, Mila D’Antonio, principal analyst, linked enterprise, mentioned some firms view a possible financial slowdown as a chance to strengthen relationships with prospects and put money into synthetic intelligence (AI) that yields higher enterprise insights and automation.

Technique, digital transformation
“Firms need to be extra strategic of their planning and investments,” she mentioned, “and the information can also be telling about how distributors should place themselves on value and repair going ahead.”

Whereas being extra strategic about CX means in search of out financial savings, the panelists questioned how Frontier Airways’ latest cost-cutting transfer to eradicate dwell phone assist would play out. The low cost provider now directs callers to its web site, cell app, social media, WhatsApp and chat.

“It will likely be attention-grabbing to see how this mannequin works for them,” mentioned D’Antonio. “If it does work, we are going to begin to see extra digital-only fashions take maintain as extra firms search that holy grail of decreasing prices whereas elevating the shopper expertise.”

TTEC’s Cerise mentioned firms’ finish aim shouldn’t be digital-first to the exclusion of all else. “The aspiration must be: Meet the shoppers the place they’re and ship wonderful service,” he mentioned. “Optimize the best way you might be participating prospects however do it at a decrease complete price of possession. That must be the aspiration to begin with.”

Clever name routing, instruments and course of adjustments
A chief downside contact facilities face is that the majority buyer intents are usually not intelligently routed, Cerise mentioned. Firms can anticipate 10% to twenty% price financial savings simply by routing buyer inquiries to the proper channel, digital employee or dwell affiliate with the correct ability set to resolve a problem, he mentioned.

D’Antonio agreed managing channels is a problem. Greater than half of North American CX professionals are unable to have interaction throughout channels in a related and customized manner, she mentioned, citing Omdia’s State of Digital CX 2022 findings.

“We see the very best focus in strategic and minor investments deliberate round issues like clever digital brokers, video chat, and augmented actuality,” added D’Antonio. “This factors to the necessity for investing within the newest instruments that cut back working expenditures whereas elevating CX to fulfill buyer expectations.”

Myron shared extra 2023 IT Enterprise Insights findings that quantify spending plans in AI-powered options similar to social listening/ticketing, digital buyer contact analytics, and clever name routing.

Perceive the why—and the what
Name facilities want to look at the the explanation why prospects have interaction within the first place. Additionally they must be real looking about what they’re asking associates to do.

“Perceive your prospects and why they’re participating. Then construct a roadmap, a fast roadmap, to attempt to resolve that,” Cerise mentioned. That will imply routing a voice name to self-service, or conserving it in voice however deflecting to messaging. It might imply routing to video so an affiliate can see what the shopper sees to raised troubleshoot an issue, similar to crossed wires of a malfunctioning good thermostat.

Study your course of, Cerise continued. For easy queries like, “The place is my order?” associates might need to navigate 13 enterprise functions, he mentioned. “It appears like I’m making that up, however that is an precise use case.” For this consumer, the typical deal with time (AHT) of 9 minutes was slashed to a few minutes with TTEC deployed robotic desktop automation.

With streamlined processes and automation, firms can optimize responses and resolve points pre-emptively. All this results in the last word aim, what Cerise calls “proactive CX.” By understanding buyer intents, name facilities can create incremental income with up-sell and cross-sell alternatives.

“Please do not fall into that CX sacrifice lure,” Cerise suggested. “Don’t sacrifice your buyer expertise and make it horrible since you are simply chopping heads.”

Attend the ICMI webinar, “Weathering the Storm: Investing for Lengthy-Time period Contact Middle Success.”