Article

Your Contact Center is Not a Cost center

Cody McLain

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Know the difference between a Cost Center and a Call Center. SupportNinja’s mission is to show the world a better way to outsource.

A contact center is the heart of the organization and it can reflect on the bottom line of the company. This is because they’re responsible for the satisfaction of the company’s customers and unhappy customers can cost the organization tons of money.

Contact centers are typically considered cost centers because they are funded to perform a necessary role despite the fact that most companies don’t see the need for them. But it’s virtually impossible to deliver consistent and satisfactory customer service without a contact center.

What is a Cost Center?

A cost center is a department or unit within an organization that incurs costs but doesn’t directly contribute to the revenue of the company. Since their contribution is indirect many companies feel that it’s okay to not have them. The contact center is one such unit in the company. Although it handles all the customer complaints and issues it doesn’t generate revenue directly to the organization.

The cost center approach denies the indirect ability of the contact center to drive revenue to the organization.  The only reason a contact center can become a cost center is if it isn’t managed properly.

How does a Contact Center generate revenue?

They Pass on Information

Contact centers become a crucial part of company operations and goal realization when the organization is running a marketing campaign. The dedicated staff members manning the phones are the first point of contact with the company and they can up sell or cross sell products to the leads calling in.They will answer questions and collect data that can be utilized by the marketing team to create winning campaigns.

Route Calls

Staff at the contact center know exactly to route specific calls to so that not callers are not being best served with the right information. Potential leads will go to the sales team, investors will be routed to the company executives and complain will either be handled in the contact center before being escalated to the relevant department or they will be escalated immediately. This ensures efficiency in following qualified leads that can be turned into conversions and complains are handled professionally so customers do not take their business to the competition.

Prioritize Callers

The contact center prioritizes callers so that the most important calls are responded to as quickly as possible. For example, a contact center for a hospital will be staffed with professionals who know how to get relevant information out of callers in order to get them the fastest medical attention that they require. This way calls making their way to doctors and nurses in the facility have already been flagged as very serious or critical.In a corporate environment prioritized calls can lead to interactions with customers that can become conversions.

Why can Contact Centers become costly?

Proper management of contact centers is the main key to preventing them from becoming cost centers. Here are a few management problems that cause contact centers to become cost centers.

No Technological Strategy for the Contact Center

The methods used to reach customers can be redundant making the center inefficient. Upgrading the technology of the center to make it more efficient is key to making it a revenue generating hub. Statistics show that the market for cloud based contact centers is expected to grow to almost $21 billion in 2022.  

Companies that are still utilizing contact centers find that the newer the technology they use the more efficient they are at identifying qualified sales leads for their products. The technology ranges from the communication tools used to integration with the company CRM. Automation drives efficiency while manual processes hold back growth.

Poor Scalability

When a company launches a marketing strategy they need all hands on deck. This entails the units in the organization working as a team.However, the campaign can be dead in the water if the contact center is undermanned. The company can scale up their staff requirements by hiring remote staff but this is only possible if they have the right equipment. VoIP solutions are scalable and provide room for rapid expansion even for contact centers with limited infrastructure. VoIP allows the remote employee to manage calls from their own computer.

Untrained Staff

Many companies recruit untrained staff to man their phones which leads to customers receiving wrong information or unprofessional exchanges with clients. This inevitably leads to loss of customers. The staff at the contact center need to be trained in the company culture, phone etiquette, and also product knowledge. Look for people well versed in the product to work in the contact center. As new products are released and older ones are upgraded the staff needs refresher courses. Train the supervisors and agents in the contact center to think and respond to calls as sales agents.

The Importance of a Contact Center

The contact center is becoming the epicenter of strong customer-business relationships once again. As companies look to the cloud and remote teams for solutions the first solution is right at home within the organization: Identifying and understanding the customer experience ecosystem.Once the company has understood the importance of their customer experience ecosystem they can employ modern tactics like using AI for contact center needs.

Don’t measure the success of the contact center in the wrong currency which in this case would be how much it is costing the company to keep the contact center running. Instead focus the success measuring metrics on the customer experience with the company’s contact center. This is a recipe for success even when the right technology is applied in the contact center operations.  After all, if one takes a bad process and applies the latest technology to it, they are only facilitating bad results faster..