Ideas & musings about consumer behaviour

Contact centre relevancy in a multi-channel world

In a competitive multi-channel world, not only are contact centres competing with other like organisations but they are competing with other internal channels for relevance to the customer.

If you want to survive in a multi channel world you have to understand the Unique Value Proposition (UVP) of your channel and then deliver.

So what is the contact centre channel’s UVP?  When contact centres were first established, it was all about a lower cost and more convenient way (compared to retail and mail) to transact with a customer and as a result contact centres expanded rapidly but now as far as convenience and cost for transactional needs, online is light years ahead.

However, what contact centres have that online will not have in the foreseeable future, is the ability to have a proactive conversation with a customer that builds trust, rapport and identifies opportunities to add value to a customer that they were not aware of. This is the sleeping giant in sales and service organisations throughout Australia.

So, the UVP of the contact centre now is the fact that it is the most convenient and cost effective channel to have a proactive conversation with customers.

The problem is however, that over the last five years as the capability of online to handle the reactive and transactional customer interactions has grown exponentially, the contact centre industry has shown little ability to develop its UVP of a proactive conversation.

Australian Contact Centre Industry AverageCCC 2007-2012

The above graph outlines data collected by Global Reviews over the last five years as an average across industries including banking, health insurance, general insurance, telcos, motoring services, credit unions, car rental and travel companies.

Global Reviews collects this data by making calls to organisations from our own small call centre. These calls are warm sales leads and as the contact centre agent takes the customers we employ through the sales process, our analysts assess the call against best practice sales and service behaviours.

There are between forty and fifty individual behaviours in the benchmark but what we have shown here is what we call a customer journey chart and is based on those criteria that can be shown in a timeline throughout a call. This data is based on over 80,000 sales calls across eight industries and represents the average experience you get when you call an Australian contact centre with a warm sales lead – and it’s not that great.

The data in this customer journey format not only shows how Australian contact centres perform against critical proactive sales behaviours, but it also provides insight into the underlying mindset of agents and in the last five years there has been little change.

There will always be a place for the contact centre but not if it remains reactive and transactional.

In essence, if contact centres don’t develop the capability to have proactive conversations with their customers then this channel will become irrelevant.

It is little wonder that many of these industries are now awash with brokers and aggregators who specialise in quality proactive sales conversations.

You can find out more information in our longitudinal study report Needs Based Selling in Australian Contact Centres.

For more information on how Global Reviews can help you increase the sales effectiveness of your contact centre, please contact:

Leonardo Arantes
Commercial Director (Contact Centre and Retail)
M: + 61 429 347 637
E: leonardo.arantes@globalreviews.com

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