All too often, contact centers are referred to as cost centers. While they certainly play an important role in ensuring customer satisfaction (i.e., answering customer inquiries, solving product and service-related problems and monitoring call quality), contact centers are viewed as having little to no real impact on bottom line results. Businesses, however, are starting to realize the value of the contact center as a potential revenue driver.
This is because strong customer relationships and customer loyalty are becoming the new “currencies” driving business success. Good customer service is no longer a “nice to have” trait; rather, it’s a competitive differentiator that separates the more-profitable companies from their less-lucrative counterparts. According to the American Express 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer, more than two-thirds of American consumers say they’re willing to spend 14 percent more on average with a company that they believe delivers excellent service.
Besides driving revenue through improved customer service, today’s contact center is collecting and analyzing valuable customer data to make better, more-profitable business decisions from the top-level down. For example, voice of the customer data can help businesses identify trends and dive deeper inside the minds and motivations of customers, which can be used to shape overall business strategy.
If you’re looking to transform your contact center from a cost center to a revenue driver, below are some tips and tricks to help get you started:
- Make a strong business case for executives: Turning a contact center into a profit center can be costly as it requires updating technology to effectively measure key performance indicators and hiring new employees and/or training current agents. To get buy-in from wary executives, create a strong business case by clearly defining the benefits as well as emphasizing the potential revenue your new profit center will project.
- Empower agents to upsell/cross-sell with analytics: The main priority for contact center agents is to resolve service issues; however, they are often in a perfect position to upsell and cross-sell to customers—that is, if they have access to the right data. Through customer analytics, agents can leverage innumerable sources of information from the Web and existing information systems to unify key insights about each prospect, which can be used to effectively upsell and cross-sell.
- Hire well-rounded contact center representatives: As you make the transition from a traditional contact center to a profit center, you might want to consider making changes to your current hiring strategy. Therefore, look for representatives that are skilled in both sales and customer service. Agents should be able to effectively determine when it’s appropriate to “sell” to a customer and when a customer is simply seeking service. If you don’t have the budget to hire new agents, educate and train your existing agents by leveraging their call recordings or recent desktop activity to pinpoint what they are doing well and what they can improve upon.
Contact centers have the potential to become true revenue drivers for businesses. Use these tips and tricks to facilitate your contact center’s transformation into a profit center.