Managing Costs in Contact Center Technology and HR
Every organization has a need for Contact Center for customer fronting operations. This involves mostly chats, email, and voice. Although Artificial Intelligent has greatly reduced the cost of Contact Centers, there is still a need for human intervention for high-value customers or complex transactions. There are 2 main cost drivers for contact centers: Technology Costs and Human Resources. After the pandemic, the world is going through an extended period of economic slowdown, being one of the major cost drivers of Customer Service in Organisations, it will be beneficiary for MNCs and SMEs to look at ways to reduce their cost of Contact Center operations.
Over the past 15 years, major IT companies have offered the marketplace suites of Customer Relationship Management products. These products are often highly-priced and customizations are often expensive and take a considerable period of time. The other challenge for organizations is the high cost of maintenance. Very often, these CRM products come with expensive after-sales service packages. One way for SMEs to overcome these challenges is to use simple CRM that is offered by smaller IT companies. These products are nimble, cost-efficient, and highly reliable. They can be tailored to your exact requirements without having to spend an exorbitant amount of money to keep track of your customer’s journey.
The other aspect of technology involves Telephony and an Interactive Voice Response system. In a space that was dominated by the lights of Cisco and Avaya, Asterisk has proved to be a product that is as reliable and available at a fraction of the price. Asterisk-based PBX can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of other branded PBX and it offers the ability to integrate with almost all of the CRM software in the market. All you need is an API and the rest of the integration can be delivered by companies that specialize in Asterisk PBX.
One of the most powerful tools in Asterisk PBX is the highly customizable Interactive Voice Response System. We have successfully implemented self-help IVR to assist clients in channeling their self-help to the IVR system and reduce their live call volume by nearly 70%.
Singapore is facing one of the most severe labor shortages in the region. The lack of foreign workers and a small recruitment pool have made recruitment for call center agents and supervisors in Singapore extremely difficult.
Even if recruitment is successful, the attrition rate is high with most contact center agents leaving within the first 3 months of placement. The reason for the high attrition rate is simple, with most simple calls being channeled to self-help, contact center agents are left to deal with more complex calls that result in higher stress levels. Most Singapore agents are not equipped with the necessary attributes or skills to deal with such calls.
The above conditions have resulted in the escalation of human resource costs in operating a contact center and the deterioration of service quality.
Labor shortages and mismatch of skillset in the Singaporean contact center market will be a permanent problem with no viable solution in the future. The contact center industry has embraced technology and automized the majority of touch point contacts. However, there will still be a need for human interaction for complex customer service calls. To resolve this, companies will need to embrace the idea of a borderless world and be willing to look beyond Singapore as a base for their contact center operations.
The pandemic has changed the way the world functions. During the peak of the pandemic, travels stopped and most companies were able to perform all functions with their staff scattered in different cities around the world. Most contact centers in the world were implementing Work From Home arrangements.
Work-from-home contact centers when implemented with the most dependable and secured IT solution is the future of the industry. Some contact centers in North America have started implementing full WFH solutions to expand their pool of talents and operate regionally. The availability of VOIP technology further fuels the growth of such a strategy and we are looking at a new era in the contact center industry.
For Singaporeans’ contact centers to embrace the challenges of escalating labor costs and shrinking labor pools, they will need to explore the concept of shifting work across different borders and reduce the expensive cost that is paid to real estate companies. And if you need further convincing, look no further than the reduced carbon footprint due to the reduction in agents traveling to work every day. We have implemented such solutions for one of the world’s largest MNCs and we look forward to sharing our technical and operational knowledge with you.
For more information on how I-VIC can assist you with a solution that is cost efficient and offers a high level of customer satisfaction, please email us at email@example.com or call us at 9692 2988.