Strategies to cope with your customer contact staffing issues
A new staffing challenge
The recruitment crisis has made headline news in recent times, with businesses being affected by labour shortages brought on by changes to both local and global economic conditions caused by the post-pandemic recovery and for UK based organisations, the aftereffects of Brexit.
In one sense it’s great that economies are experiencing a period of rapid growth after such a difficult 16 months but this has its challenges for many business owners, with recruitment and wage inflation becoming two of the biggest hurdles to expansion or in some cases survival.
According to figures recently released by Reed Recruitment, customer service has seen the highest overall salary increase of any sector (in the UK) with employee wages in 2021 up 32% compared with 2019. This wage inflation is adding huge pressure to both the ability to recruit and retain existing staff, within customer service and sales operations.
Add to this the increase in customer demand for query resolution and a return to business as usual from the consumer’s point of view, then the reality for many contact centres is that staffing is going to be difficult just as a period of peak demand, for many businesses, begins.
Challenges faced include:
- Resource shortages driven by macro and microeconomic conditions
- Post-pandemic recovery growth creating rapid expansion opportunities
- Increased customer demand putting pressure on customer service teams
- Outbound and inbound sales not being fulfilled due to resource shortage
What can you do to cope with staff shortages?
There are two alternatives to recruitment, which may work better for your business helping to save time and money, whilst improving your customer experience as well as increasing sales conversion and revenues.
These alternatives can both help to fix your short and longer-term resourcing issues and enable you to build a more sustainable business in the future, that can handle both foreseen and unforeseen demand fluctuations.
Outsource to cope with peak demand and recruitment transition periods
There is a wide choice of outsource contact centres, who provide a highly professional service, which presents itself to your customers as a seamless extension of your business. Choosing an outsourced partner to cope with your peak periods or to handle your less complex frequently dealt with enquiries, will free up your core teams to focus on areas that require higher levels of expertise such as complaint resolution and more complex sales conversion. This will enable your business to focus on the development of its higher skilled advisors and salespeople, resulting in greater loyalty, increased retention rates, higher customer satisfaction and increased revenues.
Outsourcing can also be used to meet customer contact requirements whilst your business is in recruitment mode. Measuring your recruitment needs can be difficult, as consumer demands fluctuate, and finding the ‘right’ people for your business can take time when the labour market has become so limited. Working with a partner while you rebuild your teams can help you to maintain customer satisfaction, reduce customer churn and protect revenues.
Identifying the right outsourcer for your business can be difficult if you do not have full visibility of the market or the skills to vet each outsourcer against your requirements. Working with the Contact Centre Panel team takes the pain away, making the process much simpler and ensuring you find the right match for your business.
Implement new technology to reduce demand on your teams
Implementing the ‘right’ technology solution can help your business to cope with demand fluctuations and improve how you handle enquiries in a more consistent and controlled way. Improvements in technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Bots are enabling contact centres to massively reduce the demand on agents by channelling low level enquiries away from expert advisors and resolving them. The cost of implementing new technologies is covered by a reduction in resourcing expenditure, improvements to working and process efficiency and increased sales revenues.
The key to implementing technologies successfully is to identify a solution that fits your current and future business requirements. With such a large choice of potential systems and providers, it can be difficult to make the right choice, particularly if you do not have full visibility of what is available and the appropriate level of technology expertise needed to accurately assess each solution.
Many businesses have, so far, chosen to wait in fear of making the wrong choice, either retaining dated legacy systems or delaying the adoption of new. When adopting new technologies mistakes can indeed be costly in terms of wasted time and expense, but if done correctly this can be the reverse. Successful businesses are now embracing the opportunity to streamline their operations and improve customer service delivery by implementing the latest contact centre technologies, guided by the right level of expertise.
Working alongside a trusted partner, such as Contact Centre Panel, to help you narrow down your options will help your business to adopt a measured, managed process to selecting the right technical solutions to improve and future-proof your operations.
Who can you talk to about the options?
Contact Centre Panel has built a network of over 140 contact centres and 50 technology providers. We’ve done this to find solutions to the greatest challenges facing the customer contact sector. Whether it’s staff resourcing to meet fluctuations in demand or to cover recruitment periods, or it’s choosing and implementing tools to improve customer interaction/experience and agent reliance, we can help.
We work closely with clients to understand their specific requirements before helping them to source the appropriate contact centre outsourcer or technology provider. We are entirely independent, so you know our recommendations are not driven by self-interest. Our selection process is managed by industry experts, so you will always be in safe hands.
For more information. Get in touch.