I’m a Contact Center, Not a Cost Center!
Is it really possible to delineate between a pure cost center and a pure profit center at the contact center level? For example, if I’m a contact center that is solely assisting customer problems with my product, it’s likely to show up on the balance sheet as an expense. But what if that customer-to-agent interaction consistently delivers exceptional customer experiences? That won’t show up on the balance sheet either, but it may eventually as future sales because those customers who have received stellar experiences from the contact center will remain a loyal customer and an advocate of your brand. The data from analysts and consultants reinforces this line of thinking, have a look at Jon Picoult’s article on customer experience return and Bruce Temkin’s post regarding the correlation between customer experience practitioners and stock return.
A rather mature trend in the contact center world is to have up sell and cross sell offers worked in to the customer interaction work flow. This is an obvious option to generating more revenue and a great opportunity for consumers to derive more value from your products or services over the course of the customer journey, thus enhancing their experience. Revenue generation doesn’t end with programs for up sell and cross selling in the contact center. Revenue generation in the contact center begins and ends with the customer centric strategy and tools you employ to support these initiatives. When all’s said and done, enhancing the experience creates more loyalty to your organization, which results increasing the life time value of that customer. The simplistic way of viewing this is to say “customers will buy more products and services from your business when you deliver better experiences than that of your competitors”.
You may refer to your contact center as a cost center or profit center, but I encourage you to look at the contact center as the delivery mechanism for outstanding experiences which keep customers coming back. Let the accountants and finance pros identify cost efficiencies and profit opportunities in the product or service. The caveat is that no cost cutting should come at the expense of the customer. The tricky part is finding the mix of strategy, processes, technology, and people that create operational efficiencies that keep costs managed and the customer experience in an ideal state. In pulling it all together, start treating your contact center as a contact center, not a cost center.