Top Contact Center Resolutions to Make for 2023

Posted by Call Design on January 10, 2023

Group of contact center agents working.

As we get back to work for the start of 2023, we do so not only with familiar 2022 challenges still hanging around, but with the added prospect of economic downturn looming ahead. While a possible recession could have us asking if we can afford the very best contact center performance, we should be asking if we can afford not to make the contact center a top priority. Let’s look at the dawn of 2023 as an opportunity to face uncertainty and volatility with some resolutions to make the contact center thrive.

Resolution 1 – Fight the Recession with Great Customer Experience

The last few months have seen multiplying predictions of a slowing economy coming in 2023; but rather than waiting to react, it’s a chance to be proactive when it comes to Customer Experience. The competition for customer loyalty has been fierce enough even before we had the specter of a downturn. As consumers tighten their budgets, customer retention will be determined to an ever larger extent by the highest level of Customer Experience (CX).  

Customers now demand to be met on the channel of their choice with an excellent, personalized experience. Great experiences build lasting customer relationships, while substandard experiences are now more likely than ever to not only end a relationship, they’re also more likely to be shared on social media. While personalization and omnichannel integration used to be nice-to-have items on many contact centers’ wish lists, 2023 customers will see them as must-haves. 

Customers have become accustomed to algorithms anticipating their desired content and will hardly put up with unnecessarily long interactions where they aren’t recognized or have to repeat themselves over and over. They expect that their complex customer journeys are seamless from your website and across multiple contact channels. 

The good news is that for contact centers, these journeys present not only a larger range of ways to reach your customers, but also a chance to track omnichannel interactions and gain insights into who your customers are and what they want. Mining this valuable data gives you the ability to create initiatives for even more personalized customer experiences. 

A crucial part of that personalization is not just an omnichannel technical solution, but also successful, smart interactions on every channel– especially when an agent is required. The foundation of great Customer Experience is equally great Employee Experience, ensuring that agents are happy and fulfilled at work. Which brings us to our next resolution:

Resolution 2 – Invest in your Employees

Smiling customer service agent.
Fully empowered employees at every level are the best pro-active way to ensure a positive customer experience

In 2022 we couldn’t get away from stories about the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting; they really got the conversation going about Employee Experience. Will 2023 be the year that contact center employees are universally recognized as the critical assets they can be? Even with all the capabilities of a powerful omnichannel technological solution at your disposal, today’s customers aren’t satisfied by a live interaction with an agent who is disengaged, doesn’t have answers at their disposal, or conducts the entire interaction from a generic script. Fully empowered employees at every level are the best pro-active way to ensure a positive customer experience: happy agents create better experiences for customers, informed supervisors manage their teams to success, insightful WFM analysts generate the accurate forecasts and optimal schedules that enable the center to run efficiently. 

However, they all must be recognized as value creators, critical to your ability to deliver great CX. Once this recognition becomes part of your culture from front line to C-suite, your organization can understand that your employees are the best place to invest– especially in times of economic turmoil. This means giving your employees the tools that enable them to perform at the highest level and meet your customers where they want to be met. Plus, customers want to be met with contextual information needed to create personalized experiences, and with the answers needed for real resolution. 

And we’re not talking about agents only. The need for the right toolset includes all of your employees including agents, team leads, executives, and the WFM team. Agents can benefit from AI-assisted Knowledge Management that gives them the guidance they need when they need it. Team leads need Gamification/Performance Management that helps them coach effectively and reward top performers. And the WFM Team can take advantage of Workforce Management solutions that automate manual tasks, freeing the team to think strategically and focus on transformative processes like truly flexible scheduling. 

Similar to the omnichannel routing solutions, technology can be a great thing, but to get the best Employee Experience, you must also invest in the human side of the equation. Without the right training to make the technology come to life, we can’t achieve the level of true transformational change needed for the coming year. And just as personalization is expected by customers, employees want an experience that fits their needs, such as customized expert training that can be delivered online on on-site where needed, digital training that is available online anytime employees need it, or AI-assisted training delivery systems that automatically send the module that an agent needs at the time that’s best for the agent and also protects service level. 

But when it comes to transformation that makes a real difference and gets attention at the highest levels of your organization, you’ve got to aim for the right target:

Resolution 3 – Move from Optimization to Transformation

For CX and EX in the coming year, not only is there room for optimism—it’s a must. As the economic environment changes, we must have the resolve to change in substantive ways to meet the challenges that 2023 will bring. According to a BCG survey from November 2022, a majority of organizations plan to increase their investments in digital transformation in spite of the fact that they complain that they don’t receive help in prioritizing the steps of transformation. The first step has to be committing to transformation that creates a new level of EX and CX, not just reinforcing existing processes. 

Investing in the best Workforce Management tools may give our WFM team the ability to game out new scheduling strategies, but without the will to actually implement the best of those scheduling strategies, there’s no transformative flexibility to improve employee engagement with better work/life balance. Having the best performance scorecards, fully connected to Quality Management and other important systems is a powerful achievement in itself, but without the commitment to act on those insights with coaching and meaningful recognition for top performers, there is no moving the needle on Customer Experience in a way that goes beyond business as usual.

Digital-based training is always there when needed, but if training isn’t aligned with the WFM team so that it’s delivered automatically at the best-possible time, there’s no transformative increase in employee experience coupled with the protection of customer experience. And beyond the inbound front office, just think of opportunities for efficiency and performance gains that might be achieved by extending the transformation strategies and WEM tools into the outbound and back office areas. Simply put, don’t just add technology without the right mindset for change. With the right cultural commitment to innovation, everyone can feel connected to the transformation effort, being fully aware of the key role they play in making the organization a great place to work and a trusted partner for its customers. 

These are just three possible resolutions for new year. We’re already a week into 2023, and maybe not all of our resolutions are getting off to a great start, but one area where we can’t afford to fail is finding new levels of success in the contact center. There’s nothing inherently magical about the start of the new year, it simply gives us a convenient point to try something new. But we can make it special by committing to being proactive in preparing for whatever 2023 might have in store for us. 

If you’re looking for ways to make your contact center even better this year, Call Design can help. We’ve got the tools and consulting skills to make your resolutions a reality, whether you’re looking to move from spreadsheets to an automatable Forecasting/Scheduling solution, searching for a CX platform that enables better customer experiences, or meaningful ways to improve agent engagement for better employee experience.