What NOT TO DO with your contact center budget

What NOT TO DO with your contact center budget

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Building, managing, preparing, and freaking out about your contact center budget can be an all year round activity (or panic parade). Looking all over the place, turning over rocks, thinking about price, costs and cutting things is a mental marathon that will suck out your creativity and constructive idea generation. And leave you with a big headache.

So many people are more than willing to tell you what you should do with and about your contact center budget. Well, there are also opportunities for you to save energy and effort by knowing what NOT TO DO with your contact center budget.

Do not do this with your contact center budget

I know there can be dozens if not hundreds of items to consider when trying to manage and review your budget. You can put your eyes on everything. But putting your eyes on everything is not healthy or wise. You don’t have the time or capacity to do all of that. There are some things in your contact center that you do not want to spend time on. It’s not that you want to forget them, but you do not want to spend time on them.

customers-grade-the-callsAnd there are some things that you want to protect. Your customer comments are one of the top items that you want to protect, at all costs. Now, if you are one of those contact center leaders that is not capturing and leveraging customer comments in your decisions, you are powerless against defending your budget decisions. Adding customer comments to your voice of the customer program is something you want to do now. You’ll get your sanity back.

There are four important ways customer comments will save you grief. These are also reasons why you want to protect your customer comment analysis budget (and probably try to invest more).

  1.  Agent development needs: One of the vital points in your service delivery is the interaction between customers and your contact center agents. Improving the skills of your agents could impact your customer experience ratings from 15%-25%. Over the past several years we have calculated the agent impact on overall brand scores and the numbers are very convincing on the value of developing agents. And your customers are the best source for directing you to what they need and when they need it.
  2. Reasons for FCR problems: Why do customers have to contact you more than once for resolution? Did they go online, go to a forum, go to an outlet, ask their mom? Collecting customer comments about first contact resolution can be a huge benefit into making your problems be one and done.
  3. Taking the blame off you: While you do not want to point the finger at problems with other departments, you also do not want to get beaten up for bad customer experiences that others need to own. Can you control fixing the problems other parts of your business create? Probably not, but you certainly can be a team player and provide the insight so no body has to get bloodied.
  4.  Fixing staffing shortages: One of my most frequent battles at budget time was around FTEs (Full-time Equivalents). I am not meaning getting into the part-time, full-time or temp argument issue. I mean that we needed more contact center agents to handle the workload. I would spend countless hours trying to construct staffing models using different formulas and service level objectives and none of that would get me more staff. When I was able to provide customer comments about wait times and data supporting lost time by agents trying to explain the wait and show the impact long wait times had on the brand would I finally get the staff we needed. While this does seem very after the fact, it is the reality so many of us contact center leaders have to live.

These are just a few of my top-of-mind reasons I see why you want to protect your customer comments from budget scrutiny.  I know you can think of more reasons why customer comments are important to protect (and have). Please share yours in the comment section below.

If you ever question your commitment to customer comments just tell yourself this one thing. Nobody can argue with the customer. And in the contact center, the customer can argue for you (when you have their comments).

About Jim Rembach

Jim Rembach is a panel expert with the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) and an SVP for Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM). Jim spent many years in contact center operations and leverages this to help others. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence (EQ) practitioner and frequently quoted industry expert. Call Jim at 336-288-8226 if you need help with customer-centric enhancements.

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