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The Confederation of British Industry says that 75% of UK businesses are experiencing a shortage of workers, depressing trading and growth ambitions. And unfortunately, we all know that the customer service and contact centre industries often struggle with staff turnover the most.

Of course, your organisation might be able to offer higher salaries to bring on board the talent you need, but the majority of the businesses I speak to aren’t so lucky. Neither do bean bags, ping pong tables or free snacks have the pull they used to (they hardly pay the bills).

So, let’s look at some of the ways technology can help you and your staff during this challenging period. It’s not a silver bullet, but with some smart changes, you can make a huge difference to how you operate.

Automate the simple stuff

Use AI-driven chatbots to provide quick answers to simple queries and to route customers to the right person when more detail or sensitivity is needed. The programmes we provide help businesses overcome peaks in traffic whilst making sure that no customer falls through the cracks. The technology can tell from what a customer writes whether they can be directed to a resource or whether they’re becoming frustrated and need to talk to someone urgently.

Not only does this boost customer resolution levels, but your staff can also focus on delivering expertise to the customers that need it most, which will be more rewarding for them too.

Train up wider teams to support your specialists

As the cost-of-living-crisis escalates this winter, and the Christmas rush kicks off, the number of incoming customer enquiries will go up, putting your teams under increased pressure.

If your wider team isn’t trained to deal with customer queries, consider upskilling them in how to use your systems to handle initial calls or emails so that you can route the easier queries to them. That way your experienced customer service teams will have support when things get really busy and can focus their resources where it matters.

This should only be a temporary measure though – heads of other departments probably won’t be too happy if you keep on poaching their staff.

Interactive guides

Consider introducing interactive scripting guides within your software for your teams to follow so they can lead the conversation and reach a conclusion faster.

Try to highlight that staff have the ability to go off script so you avoid ending providing one-size-fits-all responses which miss the nuances of a situation. It will be far more satisfying for staff if they have a template which supports them, but from which they can deviate to really use their people skills and industry expertise.

Making the most of the staff you do have

Using workforce management software will help you ensure that your agents’ schedules are organised in line with forecasted volume and will empower you to quickly change schedules in real-time.

This will stop your teams from burning out and make sure you capture all the new business that comes in during peak times.

Integrating all your systems

Integrating your key systems will help you streamline your processes and minimise time spent on just operating systems.

For example, make sure your contact centre platform is integrated with your CRM solution so your staff don’t need to sign in and out of multiple systems or switch between different platforms as they help customers.

Including your workforce management software in this integration will also help you easily access schedules and monitor performance to help make sure resources aren’t being spent unnecessarily.

Outsource to cope with peak demand

Choosing a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partner to help with peak periods or less frequently dealt with queries can free up your core teams to focus on the core areas which need more expertise, and which are of more value to the business.

When choosing a partner, be sure to probe into their own staffing levels and the challenges they’re facing to make sure there’ll be no drop in quality when calls are routed their way.

If you’d like to learn more, please do reach out to discuss how we can help your organisation on its growth journey.