Avoiding the Most Common Pitfalls in a Contact Center Launch
When it comes to setting up and running a contact center – something nearly every company with more than just a few employs winds up doing – there is a lot of trial-and-error. Most business owners today will recall their company’s earliest attempts at a contact center with a bit of a grimace, or at least a laugh. While it’s true that no two businesses are alike, and therefore no two contact centers will ever be exactly alike, there are some universal “dos” and “don’ts” that can be associated with the operation of a contact center. Learning from others’ mistakes is a vital tool in avoiding the common pitfalls.
For some companies, the first mistake they might make is choosing to run the contact center themselves. Do you have the resources to do so? Will it benefit your business and your customers to engage in such a complex operation that isn’t your core business? Do you know what you’re getting yourself into? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” and you decide to proceed, be sure to follow best practices and learn from the experience of others.
Writing recently for Business2Community, Flavio Martins, VP of customer support at DigiCert, Inc, advises companies to keep an eye out for customer support traps that have derailed the efforts of other companies. According to Martins, there are five most common mistakes to avoid.
Borrowing customer experience components from others. What worked for your cousin’s plumbing and heating services company is unlikely to work for your wholesale clothing company.
“Customer experience for your customers is a very personal thing,” writes Martins. “What your customers want from you and what customers from another company expect can be completely different. That’s why when it comes to adding to your customer experience, any new component, any service, any feature, any process has to fit into the ultimate strategy you want to execute.”
Failing to invest in services, features, or tools. If you ever consider a feature and reject it not because you truly don’t need it but because you can “make do” with something else, stop and think. Presumably (hopefully), your business is going to grow, and it needs a solid foundation on which to grow. If you begin jury-rigging services or tools together to avoid spending a few bucks, chances are good it will come back to bite you down the road. If you don’t have the right tools to support the customer, the customer will know it in the quality of service you’re providing.
Doing more before you’ve mastered your current offerings. We all learn to walk before we learn to run, and the contact center should be no exception. The vast array of technology offerings today leave some of us eager to try the shiny new toys, only to find that we’re getting in over our heads.
“If we can’t masterfully execute and exceed our customers’ expectations with what we currently have, trying to add something new won’t completely win over the customer,” writes Martins.
Failing to document your plan. If the contact center’s strategies and goals are stuck inside the head of one person or – even worse – two people who later find out that their goals and strategies don’t match, you won’t be doing the company any favors. Build a formal framework for your contact center, and document it. Make it official policy, and ensure that everyone understands it.
Thinking that customer service success will come overnight. We all like to think that we are smart enough to master anything we lay our hands on faster than anyone else. Since the contact center is a sum of people, processes, technologies AND customers, it will take a while before the machinery starts up and begins to run smoothly.
Building a contact center follows an old life adage that if it seems to good or too easy to be true, it probably is. Your contact center will be the foundation on which you build the most important element of your company – your customer base. You need to take time and make sure that foundation is strong enough.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker