Featured Image for the blog: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Contact Center for a Recession

We’ve seen the writing on the wall… All signs are pointing to a recession coming very soon.

Between the massive amounts of  job layoffs you’ve seen while scrolling LinkedIn, to the gas prices that, just when you think they’ve hit their peak at the pump, manage to go up again – an economic downtown seems to be on the horizon.

Nobody wants to think about a recession, but now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand. We’ve got to face this possibility head on.

Let’s dive into the 5 things you can do now to prepare your contact center for a recession.

Take the steps to prepare your contact center now for an upcoming recession.

As a call center, your ability to withstand a recession is truly dependent upon the business as a whole. If the business struggles during the recession, so does the call center. However, contact centers have the ability to streamline operations and add to the durability of the company. Now is the time to take action and make sure your contact center is prepped for an economic downturn.

Your tech stack adds up. Time to cut it down.

Company leaders are often allowed to choose the technology products they want and create the processes surrounding these products. Over time, these applications add up – and before you know it, you have a jumbled mess of software solutions that overlap, become underutilized, and waste more money than they are worth. Although well-intentioned, an omnichannel platform that results from bolting together several of these disparate systems delivers real problems to both the end-user and your larger organization.

With a recession coming, it’s time to evaluate your current list of applications. Audit your list to see what overlaps and is underutilized, and reduce systems to streamline your tools.

Simplifying your tech stack to a manageable, all-in-one solution, helps your organization as a whole by:

    • Reducing risk

    • Increasing ROI

    • Becoming more agile

    • Lowering overhead

    • Improving productivity

    • Simplifying your processes

As your business grows, it’s common to pick up platforms along the way and add them into your processes.

As you’re planning for a recession,  take advantage of more robust platforms that help to lower overall organizational costs. SharpenCX’s all-in-one, CCaaS/UCaaS/Telco platform has everything you need for your contact center and business communications, minus the headaches of bolted together applications.

Hyperautomate: Make the most of automation and AI.

Hyperautomation simply refers to the ability for organizations to automate as many business and IT processes as possible, utilizing several tools and platforms, while being careful to avoid redundancies.

By adding in automation, you can cut down on the easy, redundant tasks that take up your agent’s time, so they can shift focus to more complex customer needs. Take automation to the next level with sophisticated pre, during, and post-interaction automations.

Here are just a few examples of how you can automate along your customer’s journey:

    • Precision routing leverages new AI models to get your customer to the best-suited agent or self-service.

    • Chatbots/self-service automations with new speech-to-text and text-to-speech options, including new languages, conversational dialogue connections, and an all-new drag and drop interface allow customers to self-serve faster.

    • Low-code/no-code integrations can make every integration feel “out of box.” When your contact center platform takes advantage of Open APIs, making connections with other tools is a  breeze. Low-code/no code integrations takes this a step further by eliminating the need for expensive development resources.

By automating functions throughout your customer’s journey you can lower costs, make customers happier, and satisfy agents.

By turning on SharpenCX’s AI platform, Xyngular has seen significant impacts in its call center. “[Bots] ​​helped us reduce costs from our previous chatbot as well as allow 90% of interactions to be self-service and never pass to a live agent. This gives the customer the quick service they need while allowing our team to focus on the more complicated or escalated situations.”

– Jordan Cotterell, Senior Manager of Member Services, Xyngular

Reach your customers the first time.

Don’t waste your time with outdated autodialers. Long gone are the days that customers are picking up the phone for numbers they don’t know.

In fact, 97% of consumers reject or ignore phone calls from numbers they don’t know. Conversely, 98% of customers open an SMS in the first 5 minutes. And even better, 45% of those customers that opened, reply.

By investing now in an omnichannel contact center platform, you’ll be able to meet your customers on their preferred channels. Your contact center platform should ensure your outreach doesn’t get lost in the noise.

Not only will you eliminate the unnecessary costs of making phone calls to a void, you’ll also be able to provide a better customer experience. Manage your costs now when it comes to the channels you focus on, and don’t wait for mandatory budget cuts to tell you autodialers are out.

Focus on existing revenue with customer loyalty.

During times of uncertainty, focus on your current customer base, and provide the best customer experience for them. We all know great customer service breeds customer loyalty. Repeat customers typically spend 67% more than new customers.

During the early 2000s recession, Starbucks avoided things like huge discounts. Instead, they focused on out-of-the-box value-add ideas for customers, like Wi-Fi Internet access in its stores, the Starbucks Card, and better customer service. Because of these initiatives, Starbucks grew their sales by 6% due to an increased traffic to their stores of more than 8%.

What are some ways you can make your existing customer’s experience with your contact center even better? Here are a few examples:

    • Give customers the ability to reach you 24/7 for better and quicker customer service with chatbots.

    • Let customers find quicker answers to their questions with more self-service options.

    • Listen to your customers and seek opportunities for their feedback with periodic CSAT surveys.

    • Automate phone calls, texts, and emails to send your customers appointment reminders.

    • Precision-route customers to the best agent suited to handle their request.

Keep track of your call center’s ROI.

Lastly, in order to show your contact center’s positive impact on the financial health of the business, it’s imperative you keep close tabs on your call center’s metrics so you can prove ROI to your company’s leadership.

When cuts to the organization are being made, you need to be able to show that your contact center is adding to the bottom line–not hurting it.

In order to do that, you’ve got to:

    1. Have great data;

    1. Know what to do with your data;

    1. Create clear, easy to understand reports.

With SharpenCX, you can drive better business outcomes through your data. Use default reports, or build custom reports, to give you the insights that matter to your organization. Analyze cross-channel customer interactions in one interface and easily obtain the data you need to optimize the customer experience. Plus, our data science team will work with you to create reports you will actually use in your day-to-day operations—for free.

OLE Health, a large healthcare provider in Napa County, partnered with SharpenCX because they were looking for a solution that would provide them insights into their data to improve operations.

“Once we got connected with their data science team, everything I asked for, they were able to build it. The level of customization in their reports was very important to my COO and I. Having the direct support of a data science team is something I knew we would not get anywhere else but SharpenCX.”

– Priyanka Modi, Patient Access Manager, OLE Health

Take Your Call Center’s Future in Your Hands.

You’ve seen nonstop in the news and on social media that a recession is likely coming soon. Fortunately, since you’ve seen these warning signs, you can now take this time to prepare.

By cutting down your tech stack, utilizing automation and AI, reaching your customers quicker, delivering a better customer experience, and proving your call center’s ROI, you’ll be able to prepare your contact center for what’s to come.