Risk Management In The Contact Center: 5 Crucial Concerns

Brian Cantor

Leaders within the contact center focus on adopting best practices and optimizing results.

Leaders at the executive level must consider the ramifications of that performance.  Specifically, they must consider the overarching “risk” associated with the customer experience function.

The contact center is not Vegas, after all.  What happens inside its walls most certainly does not stay there.  It meaningfully impacts the overall business, and it is the job of the customer-oriented executive to understand and manage that impact.

Rethinking Customer Data: For the past several years, the message for contact center professionals has been “data is king.”  The more you can collect about your customers, the better you can perform.

With regulations like the GDPR taking effect, that relentless quest for data must be curbed.  Organizations now must think carefully about how they gather and use customer information, and it is up to the executive to steer the company toward perfect compliance.

Keep in mind, however, that customers are not going to suddenly relax their demands for fast, frictionless, personalized experiences simply because of new regulations.  That introduces a new game of “doing more with less” and thus exacerbates the challenge for customer-oriented executives.

Industry Regulations and Compliance: The contact center engages in open, sometimes public conversations with paying customers.  Naturally, regulatory compliance represents a major concern.

While contact center supervisors (and systems) generally monitor quality and compliance on a day-in, day-out basis, the executive is ultimately responsible for building a compliant framework.

Customer-oriented executives must possess an obsession for understanding, communicating and enforcing industry compliance.  They must leverage accurate, real-time knowledge of key regulations when selecting technologies, collaborating with product teams, establishing policies and procedures and reviewing contact center performance.

Adapting to the Digital Age: The digital revolution is compounding the compliance challenge.

In addition to considering broad industry regulations, executives must consider the specific impact of digital channels.  To what extent can a bank engage with customers on a social network?  Can a doctor send medical information via text message?  Can an insurance company allow a chatbot to process a complex insurance claim?

While it would be easy to just assume “no” and route any sensitive interaction to the traditional call center, such an approach would violate the principle of customer centricity.  Many of today’s customers prefer simple, straightforward interactions in web, social and mobile channels.  Since companies must do everything they can to honor that preference, they must do everything they can to navigate the regulatory water.

Low-touch channels are, moreover, appealing from a business standpoint.  Insofar as the executive is looking to create the most profitable contact center possible, it would be thoroughly problematic to avoid opportunities to leverage digital media.

It, of course, would be even more problematic to violate regulations when using those digital channels.

Brand Reputation: The idea of “competing on the customer experience” is not a motivational façade designed to increase contact center performance.  It is speaks to an undeniable reality in today’s marketplace:  brands (and their advantages over competitors) are absolutely defined by their customer experiences.

Indeed, the customer experience markedly impacts a brand’s reputation, and executives must account for that reality.

The cost of satisfying a particular customer may seem steep in comparison to the value of the particular transaction.  But it may seem like pennies on the dollar in comparison to the cost of that customer badmouthing the brand on social networks.

Partner Relations: Not every company relies on traditional contact center outsourcing.  Virtually every company, however, relies on partners for some aspect of their customer experience delivery.  Their ability to successfully connect with customers, therefore, hinges on the performance of third parties.

Leaders within the contact center can help manage day-to-day partner activity, but it is up to the high-level executive to devise high-level partnership strategy.  They must identify credible partners, establish objectives and set the tone for long-term relationships.