Customers lean on businesses for support and they expect every interaction to be quick, effortless, and personalized. But a variety of challenges exist within the contact center—from struggling to find and retain qualified agents, to a lack of customer insights across channels—preventing businesses from meeting rising customer demands. And these issues vary across outbound, inbound, and blended contact centers.
In this new eBook, Aberdeen Group and LiveVox partnered to understand how the top challenges and opportunities differ by operating model, to help contact centers benchmark against their peers and implement a roadmap for better customer and business outcomes.
What you’ll learn in this eBook:
- The top pressures impacting outbound, inbound, and blended contact centers
- What the data reveals about the key strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities within each operating model
- What outbound, inbound, and blended contact centers can learn from their counterparts to improve business performance.
Find out which operating model is leading the way in CX performance and how you can take the data back to your contact center and create actionable playbooks that improve the overall quality of your agent and customer experience.
You can access the insights in full, but we’ve summarized some highlights below.
Each operating model faces different challenges
In their independent research, Aberdeen identified different market pressures impacting each operating model, all of which track along the lines of people, processes, and technology as well as the need for greater simplification of backend tools and more connected workflows. Aberdeen states:
Outbound contact centers need to stay up to date with changes in customer expectations to influence the customer journey, sales opportunities, and ultimately revenue. Today’s empowered customers want to use new devices and channels to engage with businesses, and outbound contact centers are struggling to keep up with those advances in buyer behavior. Reducing operating costs to boost profit margins is also important for those with outbound models
Inbound contact centers need to hire and retain qualified agents who are knowledgeable about their products and services and can efficiently address customer concerns. They struggle with finding and retaining the right talent to drive operational efficiency in service delivery. Boosting agent engagement through programs such as agent empowerment, gamification, and Performance management along with proactive skills-based hiring are vital for helping to address these challenges.
Blended contact centers must assess the scale/impact of each pressure on their activities holistically and prioritize addressing challenges to alleviate the most pressing issues to support achieving their goals. For example, if they struggle with short-staffing, then ramp-up and onboarding programs must be a priority. Whereas, if they struggle with achieving desired CX results (e.g., customer satisfaction, customer retention), they must prioritize adapting to changing customer needs through better use of relevant tools, channels, and processes. It’s important to note that often those priorities overlap. For example, a lack of skilled employees may hinder the quality of CX results. That’s why it’s important for business leaders in blended firms to prioritize the challenges by determining which factors have the greatest impact on their ability to achieve desired outcomes.
Outbound firms outperform their inbound and blended counterparts when it comes to customer effort
Aberdeen’s research shows that centers in the outbound category are laser-focused on lead generation and account recovery and they’ve found the secret sauce to hitting the mark: making things easy for their customers. It turns out that there is a direct correlation between minimizing customer effort and increasing agent productivity.
By employing functionality like skills-based routing that optimizes interaction efficiency and gets people connected with the right staff members faster, no time is wasted and more is gained from a revenue and experience standpoint.
Blended firms prioritize revenue-generation
Aberdeen found that blended firms tend to focus on maximizing revenue through cost-efficiency gains, usually in the form of a hyper fixation on reducing agent handle time and other agent-productivity-related efforts. However, because of this performance squeeze, blended firms actually fall short of their outbound peers in revenue generation because their agent resources are spread so thin.
This segment would do well to invest in more self-service and automation as doing so would free up heavily taxed human capital and allow them to dial in on the customer experience.
Outbound firms lead the way in technology adoption
Aberdeen found that blended firms in particular trail outbound firms in the adoption of skills-based routing while inbound firms lag both outbound and blended in the adoption of this capability. This isn’t because skills-based routing isn’t important or effective for inbound firms, but rather because outbound and blended firms have a focus on revenue generation.
Outbound and blended firms can more easily find and allocate resources for key capabilities such as skills-based routing than inbound firms that still prioritize customer satisfaction. Inbound firms can’t justify investing in CX technology tools as easily and directly as outbound and blended firms due to their cost-centric approach in service delivery versus revenue focus by their counterparts.
CRM integration – Regardless of operational category, an integrated CRM system lets contact centers gather customer data from disparate sources in one view, enabling teams to pinpoint the most valuable customers, see historical interactions and preferences ,and use the information to increase customer loyalty by zeroing in on opportunities for more personalized customer service experiences.
Automated call distribution – ACDs help contact centers match the right agents to the Use ACDs to gather important customer data to better route calls to the appropriate departments and provide faster identification and rapid response to your most valuable callers. With an ACD connected to the CRM, contact centers can leverage data to optimize CX by accessing key interaction information such as call routing attempts and self-service completion rates to better understand and improve the customer journey.
Voice of the customer – The way a customer experiences and thinks about a company is directly related to how likely they are to purchase from that company. According to recent research, nearly all (94%) US consumers report they are likely to make more purchases from a company with a “very good” customer experience (CX). Finding your company’s VoC nearly guarantees an increase in sales.
Integrated analytics – In tandem with a well-connected CRM, integrated analytics that spans omnichannel interactions let contact center leaders learn from each customer touchpoint. Analytics software that’s integrated can then help to visualize trends. This data can then be used to inform upsell and cross-sell campaigns. Speech analytics, omnichannel reporting, and business intelligence dashboards can also be used to gather customers’ suggestions, which can be shared to make product or service improvements, influence marketing campaigns, or optimize the customer journey.