2020 has been a challenging year for businesses, right across the globe.
2020 was not anticipated to be a positive year for business. In fact, the 23rd PWC survey of global CEOs, conducted late in 2019 across all verticals, revealed only 27% were confident that revenue would grow in 2020 – the lowest levels of confidence for 11 years. And that was before Covid-19 hit.
Although hopes weren’t high, no one could have predicted the economic impact of the pandemic. According to the ONS, GDP in the UK fell by over 20% during Q2 of 2020, compared to a decline of 2.2% in Q1. This represents the largest decline since records began.
Many businesses are now facing a cataclysmic storm of disruption, including changed customer behaviour, reduced revenues and falling customer numbers. Regardless of how well companies were run before the pandemic, many are now facing a very real threat to their survival. As a result, they must push forward with a defensive agenda and look to minimise costs and maximise revenue.
What can Customer Experience Management (CXM) Outsourcers do to support companies and deliver meaningful savings?
In response to this, outsource providers should look for ways to support clients, reduce total cost of ownership and improve results. This can be done by analysing the customer journey, empowering consumers to self-serve and by automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks.
Let’s look at this in more detail –
It’s more important than ever that CXM Providers use data to support the taking of well-informed, insight-led business decisions. The customer support sector has always captured large amounts of consumer interaction data. We expect this to show there is a huge opportunity to introduce and improve self-service and automation. This digital-led approach will be at the forefront of reducing costs in a meaningful way.
Implementing effective self-service online can reduce the number of contacts coming in via phone or email significantly, typically by around 30 – 40%. These results alone are impressive, but combining them with other cost-reduction efforts, such as moving the contact centre to a lower cost area or combining with a work-at-home team, can reduce costs even further through reduced core costs and better agent utilisation.
Further, robust and user-friendly self-serve content improves brand loyalty by creating positive online experiences for the consumer.
On the digital front, automation can eliminate a significant number of agent hours required by manual office tasks, freeing them up to deal with higher-level tasks and, ultimately, reducing the number of hours required. For example, working with a client in the education sector, SYKES deflected over 1 million calls from agents to a self-service portal, where they were all resolved. This represented a significant saving for the client.
A final thought
The Covid-19 pandemic has expediated the move to digital in many sectors, including customer service, which now questions whether having the bulk of agents in-centre is the most efficient and effective approach. Or, move to a virtual model with agents working from home and thereby reducing the need for physical centres.
And it’s not just about changes based on labour arbitrage, but rather developing a model focused on adopting digital channels, as well as significantly increasing the level of automation and digital operations to streamline costly processes.