How to improve public perception of the call center

Public perception of the call center
Contact centres seem to have traditionally received bad press. It has developed a stereotype for being the ‘sweatshops’ wherein employees are poorly treated and burdened with pressure. At the same time, the public perception of call centres is not good either owing to the increased level of automation and technology places thereby increasing distance and reducing the trust between the caller and agents affecting the intentions of both.
However, contact centres are one of the largest market sectors by employment. The industry has revived the deprived areas of the country through rural BPO schemes and allured investment into tier II cities and out-of-town locations alike. Yet there are black clouds hovering over the skyline of this industry. Practices in the current Contact Centres were established partly as a reaction to this appalling purgatory image of theirs. Gradually, it has now expanded and treads a long way towards spreading the message of being the best in practice and enhancing customer satisfaction for both employees and the clients they service. This was however not deemed to be enough. They work to ensure consistent and optimistic customer experience and therefore, resorted to turning more and more towards scripting technologies to lead their contact center agents through calls. This may be done in the form of an actual verbal script, as well as the steps necessary to progress through the call. One can ensure a consistent and improved customer experience by providing agent call guidance. One also starts to adapt agent knowledge into best practice methodology for ones contact center in effect. Over the years this prejudice from the customer seems to have generated because of long wait time, multiple calls for query resolution and lack of complete and foolproof customer interaction. Another blow, is the hurdle of manual operations that exist in the industry when the world is moving to automation. This scenario with appropriate technology can be reversed in the favour of contact centers. Mostly, customer calls that are time consuming, frustrate agents who struggle to toggle between multiple applications. However, a Unified Agent Desktop technology, changes the agent interaction from systems-driven to one that is customer-driven. By refocusing on the customer and optimizing a contact centers call process through automation features like IVR and ACD crucial parameters such as Average Handle Time (AHT) is reduced and First Call Resolution (FCR) is increased and agent tools and social media integration, add up to more efficient agents thereby accentuating a better customer service experience. Redundant data entries often constrain one’s ability to create efficient customer service processes. This results in awkward process flows and data-entry errors. On the contrary, if routine, intricate or protracted tasks are automated, data can be automated and new business rules can be enforced. Thus, we deduce, that the industry wishes to identify the technology loopholes which need to be addressed. This would help construct a solid base for delighted customers as it begins to improve on its image. The contact centres need to elevate the profile of their industry through ease of automation where employees are not overburdened and the customers are delighted as technology serves as the backbone for carrying the weight of customer interactions.