The competitive advantage of integrated contact centre operations
Integrating front and back office operations using RPA and WFM technologies can drive customer satisfaction and profitability in contact centres.
Customers typically call a contact centre with a clear intention in mind.
Usually, they want to buy something, complain about something, or seek information. Each call represents an important touchpoint in the customer journey and, as a result, companies need a robust and fully integrated front and back office to ensure customer queries can be resolved.
Front office teams are responsible for interfacing and dealing with customers: tasks such as sales and marketing, after-sales, and customer satisfaction reside here. Poor service in this domain will impact revenue growth. Whereas back office teams undertake administrative roles to ensure seamless operations, involving tasks such as processing customer goods and service requests. In the back office, clock time (how long it takes to process requests directly) impacts measures like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Effort Scores (CES).
An integrated front-and-back-office connects people, processes, technology, and data, and becomes a source of competitive advantage for those who can master it. Two technologies which we, at BT, have implemented to help facilitate an end-to-end integration in the contact centre are Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Workforce Management (WFM).
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA is a machine learning ‘digital enabler’ that automates routine, operational tasks in a contact centre. At BT, we’ve automated 711 individual processes using 550 robots, or ‘digital workers’, which together amount to more than 150,000 hours per month of manual effort saved. This is being used to facilitate growth in certain teams who can now take on more varied work. Our goal is to drive exponential growth in the number of menial hours saved by our employees, and reallocating that time towards further improving both customers’ and employees’ experiences.
In our experience, integrating your front and back office through automation optimises day-to-day operations, speeding up processes. For example, the end-to-end integration of customer data in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, in billing and invoicing systems, and in production, shipping and handling environments, can be entirely automated.
RPA also generates valuable insights into every touchpoint in the customer’s journey. This knowledge allows companies to pre-emptively identify problems at the back or front end and provides immediate remediation to streamline the customer’s journey. For example organisations can see where customers are getting stuck in a fulfilment process, and act accordingly.
Workforce Management (WFM)
Another important digital enabler companies can consider is Workforce Management (WFM). WFM is a cloud-based solution used for optimising resource utilisation (such as agents and advisors) as well as forecasting, planning and scheduling work. This is particularly useful in environments with multi-skilled agents, serving customers in many languages, and working across varied time zones.
When deploying WFM tools, companies can view information on all workers, including their respective proficiencies, language skills and availability. By leveraging this information, they can align the appropriate workforce to the workload based on skills and availability, resulting in a more consistent customer experience and improved satisfaction. One global airline customer we work with saw a 15% increase in Net Promoter Score following deployment of an integrated contact centre and cloud-based WFM suite, as well as a 5% reduction in the cost per call, and a 31% reduction in call transfers, thereby increasing first contact resolution.
To conclude, integrating front and back office functions can drive up customer satisfaction and profitability in the long term. By incorporating technologies like RPA and WFM, companies can benefit from seamless workflow, obtain a more informed and unified view of the customer, provide faster and more accurate services, and ultimately enrich the customer experience. In doing so companies can better serve their customers at every stage of the journey.
To learn more about how we’re helping organisations integrate their front and back office contact centre operations, speak to your account manager or visit our solution page.