By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2018 Issue
According to the global customer contact center service provider Mitel, 2018 is shaping up to be the year of strategic thinking: better analytics, more intentional social media conversations and innovative ways to involve artificial intelligence. Mitel recently identified some of the most influential trends affecting call centers this year.
Advances like unified omnichannel communications and machine-to-machine communications via the Internet of Things (IoT), are making it imperative for call centers to adopt a forward-looking digital transformation strategy to stay competitive. Mitel says a truly digital contact center should redefine the customer experience from start to finish; those ahead of the curve are integrating technologies across their business to provide full customer context with each interaction and leveraging system data to provide proactive service.
Unified communications and collaboration (UCC) tools, like team collaboration applications, are becoming strategically important for contact centers because they enable employees to leverage the collective intelligence of the whole business. Vendors that offer applications with open APIs provide new levels of customization and integration to help deliver a truly seamless customer experience.
More and more call centers are taking advantage of sophisticated analytics to turn data–like call and screen recordings, chats and SMS messages–into useful feedback for their agents.
More omni-channel call centers are starting to rely heavily on analytics programs to build dashboards with the statistics that affect their businesses; these statistical dashboards are being displayed on user interfaces, so call agents and managers get real-time updates on customer experiences.
Omni-channel communications are proliferating: more businesses are recognizing that while a customer journey may begin on one channel, valuable insight and feedback from the customer is taking place on a completely different channel. Unifying customer communications across channels gives businesses better context for their customers, helps resolve issues more quickly and helps sales agents identify better opportunities for future sales.
Cloud communications has become essential for many contact centers. With the steady increase in remote call agents, cloud communications are a necessity for businesses who want to take advantage of seamless team communications and collaboration. With cloud communications, traditional office-based contact centers can take on new locations, grow and contract workforces as market needs demand it.
Two-way social media conversations are becoming a necessity, allowing customers a place they can go to give quick feedback. According to Mital, the gold standard in measuring customer satisfaction with call centers continues to be Amazon’s Negative Response Rate (NRR) strategy.
CALL CENTER HUB: LAKE HAVASU REGION
The scenic Lake Havasu region of Arizona, including Mohave County, offers a low cost of doing business for call center operations and we can prove it. For example, a 75 employee call center occupying 19,000 square feet of class B office space for lease reveals big savings compared to other call center locations in the west. The annual operating costs in Lake Havasu based on Payroll, Payroll Taxes & Benefits, Utilities and Lease payments would run roughly 3.02 million whereas in the Phoenix region the cost would run around 4.47 million.
The Lake Havasu area also offers employees a quality of life that is unmatched in other areas. Imagine your employees here: against a backdrop of vast, clean blue skies, beautiful desert vistas, vibrant lakesides and the Grand Canyon, taking advantage of a low cost of living, friendly neighborhoods and endless recreational opportunities. Run a 5K, have lunch under the London Bridge, take a boat out on the lake, explore the breathtaking views, take a weekend with friends in neighboring Las Vegas or just relax in our 300+ days of sunshine. Whatever your employees choose to do, we know they will love it here.
Lake Havasu offers a qualified workforce with Programs related to call center operations. The Mohave Community College District is home to 13,000 students across four campuses in the region. Along with programs for training and preparing employee candidates for call center careers, all students are potential part-time workers throughout their college studies. In addition to the community college Lake Havasu is home to ASU @ Lake Havasu. Arizona State University Colleges—Lake Havasu Campus and the Mohave Community College District are generating a local pipeline of talent. Unlike larger university campuses, the ASU campus in Lake Havasu offers big personal attention from small class sizes, much like a private college.
Lake Havasu City, in collaboration with more than 20 organizations in town, is committed to the Vision 20/20 Revitalization plan, a living, working document for change in Lake Havasu City. This plan is focused on five pillars: Economic Development and Job Creation, Education and Talent Supply, Tourism and Place Development, Water and Community Engagement.
Vision 20/20, initiated as a result of Frontier Communications “America’s Best Communities” competition, has now placed Lake Havasu City as a top 3 community in the nation and was awarded a 2 million dollar prize. The commitment of stakeholders, leaders, organizations, and residents have taken the initiative for an elevated level of change shown through an acceleration of projects highlighted in the Vision 20/20 plan. With its $2 million prize, Lake Havasu City will accelerate its Vision 20/20 plan, which focuses on the five pillars.
You have the opportunity to be a big fish in this quality lake town. People flock to our beautiful town for recreation and many choose to live here year around. Unlike larger urban areas, you have the opportunity to position your company as the employer of choice in Lake Havasu, where employees value the opportunity to develop a career outside of seasonal tourism jobs.
Extremely low operational costs, reliable telecommunications, Mountain Time zone and existing buildings for call center operations are ready to accommodate your operations.
MOHAVE COMMUNITY COLLEGE CONNECT
The Daily Miner newspaper recently conducted a survey of callers who have interacted with Mohave Community College Connect.
The survey, which took place from Feb. 27 to March 17, involved a 10 percent sampling taken from each day, totaling 226 callers. It showed 85 percent, or 192 callers, were extremely satisfied with their overall experience. A total of 220 callers, or 97 percent, said the representatives demonstrated good listening skills and understood the problem or question.
When it came to representatives being knowledgeable, 94 percent, or 213 callers, said they were. A total of 182 callers, or 81 percent, said the call was their first attempt at dealing with the issue they called about, and 80 percent, or 180 callers, said it was taken care of adequately. Seventy percent of the callers, or 159, said they didn’t have to expend much personal effort to get their problem resolved or question answered.
The call center, located on the college campus at 1971 Jagerson Avenue, celebrated its first birthday April 19. Shortly before, MCC President Michael Kearns commissioned a survey to find out how the call center is perceived by the community before adding more responsibilities to the 15 customer service representatives answering telephones from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
Since it opened, the call center has logged 104,000 calls, with 90 percent answered and resolved. The other 10 percent were hang-ups or went to voice mail. The call center is able to identify the phone numbers of hang-ups and quickly call them back. The three busiest times of the year for calls are summer and fall registration and finals week in December.