Life in this decade is full of more contentious situations than life in the previous decade. Remember the days when you peacefully focused on spending your contact center budget so you could eagerly request for more in the coming year? It was great, budgets were ever-expanding and the resources to meet the demands were not scarce. Ah, I can sit back and soothingly say, “those were the days”.
Contact Center Budget Scrutiny
But reality kicks in. When I think about this modern-day contact center budget environment I think about how the budget deficit in Washington D.C. affects each state and each county within each state. In D.C., we have our congressmen and women fighting to protect the budget items for our state. Open your local paper and read about the impact of the budget cuts on education and the addition of new taxes. Local leaders are scouring each department to find things to cut. This scrutiny is not unlike your Finance department, comptroller, or accounting team reviewing your contact center budget.
It’s a fact. Contact centers are large ticket items in company budgets – labor intensive, technology rich, software license loaded, and large operational costs – so why wouldn’t the contact center budget be the target of the corporate budget cutting assault team? All of us customer experience people, know that this is a bad idea. We know that cuts on the ability to serve and support customers has extreme long-term, and even many short-term, casualties.
So you need to be brave. You are like that iconic student in Tiananmen Square, standing in front of the tank, protecting the customer relationship assets in the care of your contact center. But you need better armor. To elevate the importance of protecting the quality you deliver in your center, the ebook 29 Mistakes to Avoid with Quality Assurance asks – “Is your quality program protected from budget cuts?”
You Must Develop Better Armor
You cannot blame the finance people who are like the tank driver just following orders from up the chain of command. You just have to fortify your defenses against this aggression or else be run over.
How do you build better armor, and better yet generate an offense?
- Close the gap between C-level leaders and contact center operations by linking quality results to corporate objectives.
- Produce accurate Return on Investment (ROI) models for the major investments of your Impact Quality Assurance program (Internal Quality Monitoring (iQM), External Quality Monitoring (eQM), Metrics (KPIs, Reporting, Dashboards, Analytics, Actionable Insights), and Emotional Intelligence (Greater customer and employee relationships).
- Revise regular reporting about the contact center to be value oriented in order to retrain the C-level managers away from the cost-cutting focus.
- Quantitatively prove the impact of a customer experience with the contact center on Net Promoter Score (or relevant customer experience score), specifically related to First Contact Resolution, Average Speed of Answer and other agent staffing drivers.
- Prove the financial impact of the Goodwill Budget on the customer relationship (loyalty).
- Report the impact of your service channels on future revenue (use the corporate Customer Lifetime Values or similar estimate).
Victory can be yours! You start by building a good defense and quantitatively proving your value. Build that into an offense and you’ll have a fighting chance against the tank. If not, prepare for the pain as you get flattened by the budget cutting invasion.
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