All you need for your contact centre start-up

Aim to provide a high-quality customer support service that will ensure long-term customer loyalty and brand confidence.

Johannesburg, 02 Aug 2019
Read time 4min 40sec

Regardless of what type of contact centre you want to invest in, there are some basics that can be followed. This quick guide is meant to give you a brief overview of the few essentials required. One thing to note is that it isn't a quick, cheap and effortless exercise. However, with the right solutions in place, you will find the journey a little easier.

Having a contact centre is an important extension of the business if your organisation is customer-facing. No matter what your motivation is for starting a contact centre, you always have to aim at providing a high-quality customer support service that will ensure long-term customer loyalty and brand confidence.

WORKFORCE

Workforce management (software)

Workforce management (WFM) involves the strategic forecasting of staffing and management schedules to accomplish a particular task on a day-to-day basis. Organisations use WFM to gain insight into their business needs; for example, the number of employees needed to accommodate customer demands.

In a contact centre, WFM can be used to allocate agents based on call volumes, skills and channels. The advantages of using a WFM system include improved employee productivity, better planning, reduced operational costs, time efficiency and better customer service.

WFM software is often integrated with third-party software like HR systems or customer relationship management systems. There has been significant growth in the adoption of workforce management software, which assists with forecasting/budgeting, staff scheduling, performance management and so forth.

Agents

Having the right people on your team saves you time and money. When you’re looking to hire a new contact centre agent, you need to carefully assess all your applicants to ensure that they have all the qualities your organisation is looking for. You must first work out what criteria you use for hiring, and how to determine if a potential candidate is a good match.

Pre-employment assessments: These are key to finding the right people. These tests can comprise a series of psychometric tests, including personality tests. As an employer, you need to have a general guide for what sort of personality you are looking for in an agent, as well as skill level.

Training agents: They are extremely important. Ensure that you have a detailed and extensive training course in place. It is a long and expensive process, but making sure that agents are trained well is key to saving your business time. Read more on Agent Experience.

TECHNICAL NEEDS

High-availability architecture

High-availability architecture (HA) keeps your data as accessible as possible, even in the case of a partial server failure. HA is a solution that every company needs in place for reduced down time, limited revenue losses, simplified maintenance and increased flexibility.

Open API and easy integrations

You need to be able to move away from disparate systems that don’t talk to each other. The primary purpose of any contact centre is to increase customer experience and track customer journeys. By integrating your software systems, the above is made easier for both your agents and customers.

Cost-effective and easy automatic system upgrades: Have the necessary infrastructure in place that will cost you nothing to upgrade and is automatic, with minimal to no down time.

SOFTWARE NEEDS

Global multilingual contact centre software

It is imperative to use brands that are known and proven to work. Conduct research on compliance and certification. A good place to start your research is Gartner reviews for contact centre infrastructure. The software should be able to support your outbound and inbound needs. Basic features to look out for should include:

  • Omni-channel suite
  • Outbound dialler (predictive, progressive, power)
  • Mobile app
  • Chatbot and voice bot
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Call and screen recording
  • Numerous native integrations
  • Simple IVR designer
  • Skill-based routing
  • And so much more: Read on xCally Features

Customer relationship management software

This software is critical as it's responsible for helping businesses build strong relationships with their customers, boost conversations and improve revenue rates based on customer data coming from multiple interaction channels. Integrate your customer relationship management with your omni-channel software to realise optimal service. Read on xCally/Salesforce Integration.

Ticketing system

Depending on the type of customer service you are offering, you may need a reliable and intelligent ticketing system. Read on xCally/Zendesk Integration. Ensure that the system you choose has the ability to support customer interactions across phone, chat, e-mail, social media and any other channel necessary.

KPIs AND METRICS

Your agents operate in a stressful environment in which they need to manage thousands of calls each hour, while maintaining a high standard of customer service. To do this effectively, you need to have the latest metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) such as current service level, call volumes and call resolution rates. Find your industry-related service-level agreements and train your agents around these.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

The contact centre environment never stops evolving. The information above is just to help you get started. However, you need to do more research on the compliance and technologies relevant to your industry. Continuous improvement comes about through commitment to studying different approaches and the organisation's ability to be flexible when it comes to change.