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Guest Post: The Four Phases of Contact Center Maturity

This week, we feature an article by Joe Walsh, GoTo‘s Vice President of Product Marketing. He discusses the Four Phases of the Contact Center. To keep up with increasing customer demands and new technology, businesses must continue to evolve. They need to mature their contact centers to help deliver the best customer service possible and […]

This week, we feature an article by Joe Walsh, GoTo‘s Vice President of Product Marketing. He discusses the Four Phases of the Contact Center.

To keep up with increasing customer demands and new technology, businesses must continue to evolve. They need to mature their contact centers to help deliver the best customer service possible and ensure they’re not wasting time and resources. Unfortunately, the status quo at many companies means the customer service arm operates autonomously. This isn’t effective and can inhibit growth. To find success, contact centers should aim to evolve past this initial, siloed stage. 

Contact centers range from rudimentary to cutting-edge across a spectrum that can be classified into four distinct phases. It’s important for a business to know where it stands along this spectrum so it can tailor its growth and modernization strategy accordingly. To aid in this process, GoTo developed a maturity model that helps businesses map out their transition from phase one through to phase four. If followed, businesses can shift their contact center from a cost center to a center of growth.  

Phase 1: Initiate Conversations

This initial phase is defined by the traditional contact center – and is where most companies start. Costs for these centers are often high. And, agents are reactive to customer needs rather than proactive, which can put them a step behind.    

Businesses in this stage must focus on two areas as they look to build towards phase two. The first is identifying the limitations within their technology and potential roadblocks that currently exist within their organization. Once identified, they can initiate important internal conversations that will help start the path toward growth. Next, they should begin to build compliance by implementing policies and procedures. This includes call monitoring to better understand customer and agent interactions and set a baseline for performance moving forward.  

Phase 2: Collaborate Internally

The second phase of maturity sees a shift towards action. The internal conversations that began in the prior step transform into collaboration towards newly defined goals – the main one being minimizing costs.  

Businesses can take a few key tactics to cut costs and increase internal collaboration. A major area of focus should be integrating internal systems, especially the CRM application, so that information can be better shared across the organization. Agent training should also be elevated in this phase, where extra focus on developing soft skills will be important as the organization matures further.  

In this stage, analysis also comes into play. By analyzing past calls, companies can assess the quality of service being provided and identify common pain points and customer frustrations. These insights can be leveraged to improve and document the customer journey and find other areas for optimization and improvement.  

Phase 3: Digital Transformation

After laying the groundwork during the first two phases, this is where increased maturity begins to come to fruition. This is the stage where silos between the contact center and other departments start to break down while also starting to digitally transform – allowing for improved customer interactions.  

Omnichannel messaging can be embraced by integrating voice, text, email, video, and more, allowing agents to meet customers on their preferred channels where they’re already comfortable communicating. Simplifying the customer communication process is the most effective method of improving the customer experience. This also includes offering self-service and outbound capabilities, which reduces burden on agents who are then able to use the time saved to improve their skills and focus on goals that drive the business forward.  

Another core focus area should be on software improvements for agents. This includes upgrades like contact management tools that make it easy for agents to redirect communications to colleagues in other departments who have better skills that match the customer’s needs. Other improvements might include a solution that allows agents to manage multiple interactions simultaneously without reducing the quality of the interactions.  

Overall, the goal of this phase is to leverage new solutions to increase employee and customer satisfaction. This will, in turn, improve the overall customer experience and agent contentment, reducing turnover. 

Phase 4: Automate & Accelerate

In the final phase, technology takes center stage. Businesses should look to level up their tech stacks to include tools that allow agents to take their skillsets to the next level. AI can be leveraged to assist customers, eliminate time-intensive manual processes for agents, and fuel analytics that will ultimately help spur growth.  

Further, creating a centralized contact center platform will connect disparate systems throughout an organization. This allows for AI and automation tools to be leveraged to improve the customer experience. Advanced automation streamlines processes and produces better data-driven insights. AI can help make insights that were previously only reachable to enterprises – who have the ability to invest in expensive tools – available to companies of all sizes.  

On the personnel front, contact centers in phase four should aim to develop more autonomy in their agents. This will not only help them train new joiners more effectively but also make them more likely to experience job satisfaction and stay in their role, creating valuable cost savings over time.  

Reaching Maturity

Despite the sentiment held by some company leaders, contact centers should not be considered cost centers. A fully evolved and modernized contact center can be a key growth engine for a company. It creates tangible benefits like increased customer satisfaction that leads to more sales and retention that far outweigh center costs. By investing in the right technology and training for agents, businesses will be well on their way to developing a contact center that fosters growth and success for years to come.  

Check out GoTo’s Contact Center Blueprint for Growth to learn more.

Joseph Walsh serves as the Vice President of Product Marketing for GoTo. He helps organizations in enhancing customer and employee experiences and increasing revenue by embracing digital technology.

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