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January 2009 | Volume 12/ Number 1
Viewpoint: Voice of the Customer

Contact Centers and the Recession: Emerge as a Leader

Okay, we’re probably all feeling a little hung-over — if not from the holidays, from the wringer the economy has put us through. Instead of feeling discouraged about the budget that’s been cut and what we can’t do, I encourage all contact center managers, technologists and others out there to resolve to think about the possible and make the customer count this year.

Resolution: Spruce up Your Front Door

Does your website look scruffy and dated? Have you (like so many of us) just piled on more stuff without really looking at it from the user perspective? How about the IVR that front-ends your contact center? When was the last time you or some of your reps actually used it? And while you’re at it, get rid of all the “placeholders” recorded by the girl from finance.

Resolution: Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Nothing hits home more than living your customer’s experience. Try it out and map out the good, the bad, and the ugly. You’ll find ways to improve the experience that cost nothing (or very little) and can provide bigger paybacks in satisfaction and loyalty.

Resolution: Meet the Future

Now is the time to position your contact center for the kinds of interactions your customers will be demanding. Develop plans for mobility, social networking, and unified communications so you’ll be able to meet customer needs head on.

Resolution: Brush up on Quality

If you’re like most contact centers, your quality monitoring scores are built around things like if the rep greeted the customer by name and how often they used the customer’s name throughout the conversation. What you’re probably missing is the real important stuff, like how what you’re measuring rolls up to enterprise vision, branding, and customer strategy.

Resolution: Get Away from it All

It helps all of us to step away from the day to day and gain new perspective on how and why we run things as we do. Do you have a strategy for your contact center that helps you and your staff understand the whys and hows of your everyday? If you have a strategy, make sure that key processes, metrics, and operations support the strategy. If you don’t have a strategy, make that your next resolution. Your customers will be glad you did. IT

Just in time for the New Year, Vanguard is offering high impact, low cost checkups — for your self-service, contact center, and technology.

Elaine Cascio is a Vice President at Vanguard Communications Corporation, a consulting firm that specializes in contact center processes, operations and technology. She heads Vanguard’s self service practice. Visit them at or contact Elaine at [email protected].

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