Operational transformation in the contact centre sector

Contact centre operations throughout the world are analysing their response to Covid19. Lessons learned from the pandemic will shape operational transformation to translate into a new business as usual.

We asked one of our senior candidates with nearly 20 years experience within planning and optimisation to share his thoughts on the operational transformation we can expect to see post Covid19.

Key focus areas for operational transformation

“Using robust joined up quantitative analysis delivers a fast focus on the right pragmatic actions we can take to drive operational transformation. Data gathering and change execution drastically reduces the risk of failure and impact on the customer. The key areas for businesses to focus on right now are:

  • Core delivery proposition – understand what this is, the processes that support this, and deliver these consistently
  • Customer insight management – the fulcrum on which to place your operational performance management approach. This is essential to ensure finite resources are deployed to deliver customer outcomes
  • Agent knowledge and quality support – appropriate virtualization of training, coaching , 1:2:1’s etc. How can existing CRM/Knowledge Base and telephony infrastructure be leveraged to support these crucial interactions. Agents need to be viewed as customers of the multichannel communication model too
  • Management support – managing in a virtual environment is very different”

Planning ahead

Contact Centre Workforce Planning

“So much is dependent on the biology of the virus. Realistic estimates put a vaccine a year away. This requires planning for at least one more ‘Corona season’. I think that social distancing will be the new norm for much longer. I believe this will have a much larger effect on the contact centre and services sector. These measures will manifest in many areas. Floor plan usage, team scheduling, break (un)optimization right through to a call agents’ ability to commute confidently require consideration. Home working seems to be the logical answer to these challenges.

From an UK epidemiological policy perspective, I think we are simply too useful as a section of the workforce. We can keep the economy moving whilst reducing the R rate by effectively working from home”.

Quick wins

“We will never transition back to the old way of doing things. We have been forced to complete the rite of passage of transferring the contact centre to home working. This process and risk would never have been accepted in normal circumstances. Conceptually, Covid19 has done the job no pre-sales consultant would ever achieve. It has changed the target operating model of the business to unlock the technical benefits of the solution. Quick wins include:

  • Real estate cost reduction
  • Better shift optimization – offering more shift combinations to a wider recruitment pool not geographically constrained
  • Increased employee engagement and work life balance
  • Improved DR (assuming VOIP cloud telephony in place)
  • Heightened pace of digitization”

Maintaining operational culture

“Organisations face the challenge of maintaining operational culture and brand touch time for employees. They will come under more scrutiny in terms of their behaviour towards employees and perceived risks they may be exposing them to. Organisations with large operational and fulfillment business units need to have a robust approach in place to social distancing, otherwise risk PR backlash and union involvement.

Technology and Complexity in Planning

“Contact centre operations may choose a blended remote/office model post Covid19. On the surface this may look complex. Alot of what needs to be delivered is in the technology sweet spot of these software providers. With the right analyst at the wheel this shouldn’t be an issue.

Software may now be required where planning could have been done on Excel. The development of the SaaS vendor model across these providers means there is a cost-effective solution for all organisations. The concept of virtual contact centres has been around for some time. The complexity is in the management procedures and approaches that need to be adopted in this new world.

The challenge will come for those dyed in the wool. The in-house only organisations that have never considered such approaches. The change agenda will be tougher for them”.

New workforce profile

“It is no secret such external shocks drive innovation. Digitization will continue. We will have a better understanding of what needs to be left alone!

There will be a shift in what we expect or need from a call centre agent. Digitization of the mundane. Development through AI of fulfilment interations. Agents will service the complex and non-repeatable work. The skills needed to perform this role will be different. It will move more to account management and away from order taking.

The change in role profile is conducive to those ‘trusted’ to work from home. The challenge to organizations will be to ensure they have the right management talent in place to support this new workforce profile”.

About our guest blogger:

A pragmatic senior operational transformation leader with nearly 20 years of experience of developing, leading and implementing operational transformation through scientific and statistical management information, six sigma methodologies, resource planning and customer insight strategies.

A highly skilled contractor looking for his next assignment and whose knowledge and capability includes Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Project Delivery, Voice of the Customer, NPS improvements, Business Integration Due Diligence, Operational system migration & implementation, customer excellence improvements, digital transformation delivery, Target Operating Model definition, ERP, Prince 2 Agile, Marketing Analysis, Strategic Business & Operations Analysis, Revenue Growth and Cost Controls.

For further information on this candidate and his availability contact Matt Lazenby.

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