The Perfect Storm: Why Contact Centers are in Crisis (and How They’ll Recover)
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The Perfect Storm: Why Contact Centers are in Crisis (and How They’ll Recover)

Harry Chang
March 2, 2022 3 min read

What Is the Forecast For Contact Centers ‘Weathering the Storm?’

Every contact center is different. But no matter the size, scope, or industry, every contact center has been affected by the sweeping changes our world has undergone over the past two years. Customers have new demands, brands have new challenges, and contact centers are being relied on to develop new strategies that satisfy both consumers and agents. Under this “perfect storm” of conditions, what does the future look like for leaders charged with overcoming the storm clouds and breathing new life into the contact center?

Short-Term Forecast

⛈ Contact centers are experiencing challenges from three major fronts. 

The Great Resignation. Contact center leaders can’t build their teams quickly enough to meet customer demand. The problem has affected BPOs and staffing agencies as well. Traditional strategies like seasonal hiring and temporary hiring are met with higher training costs and less engagement in workers. At the heart of this problem is the fact that employees simply no longer want to do repetitive, mundane work for hours on end. On the whole, this has led to exhorbitant wait times and frustrated customers.  

The Global Pandemic. According to the Harvard Business Review, the pandemic has created 68% more call escalations, 50% more difficult calls and 34% longer hold times. A survey by Calabrio found that 96% of contact center agents feel acutely stressed at least once a week. Almost half cite ‘too many calls’ as their biggest challenge. They’re being asked to manage 7.2 more calls per day. Customer service representatives are bearing the brunt of the contact center crisis – they need relief quickly. Read more stats.

Unpredictable External Forces. Changing weather patterns, cybersecurity attacks, supply chain disruptions and other unpredictable events all lead to unforecastable customer service challenges. When spikes occur at a more common clip, contact centers can’t scale up and down fast enough to service the resulting customer demand. The accuracy of predicting staffing needs in both and long-term has become unreliable, leaving managers playing a costly guessing game.

Overcome the contact center labor crisis with Replicant.

Long-Term Forecast

☀️ Brighter days are on the horizon – and many contact centers are already seeing the sun. 

Automation for Tier-1 Conversations. Contact centers intent on climbing out of crisis mode are leveraging Contact Center Automation to offload high-volume requests from their live agents. Contact Center Automation uses conversational AI to carry out natural, lifelike conversations that resolve customer issues with zero queue times and none of the frustration included with legacy solutions like IVRs. Customers can use the channel of their choice, speak in the language of their choice, ask multiple questions at once, and never have to repeat themselves. 

Scale + Availability = Relief. Contact Center Automation solutions like Replicant are unlimitedly scalable and available 24/7. It can handle millions of conversations concurrently, and flex up or down based on a contact center’s real-time needs. Contact Center Automation slashes costs by essentially adding an unlimited virtual staff that achieves equal or better CSAT scores and lower AHTs than human agets. As an out-of-the box solution, Contact Center Automation can be customized, integrated and deployed into contact centers in just weeks. This offers immediate relief to staffing issues and unpredictable call volumes.

Happier Agents, Satisfied Customers. Customer service agents love Contact Center Automation because unlike other solutions, it doesn’t simply make them faster at solving tier-1 issues, it does it for them entirely. Contact Center Automation collaborates with human employees to automate repetitive conversations and allows agents to focus on more engaging work. It’s a first line of defense that can also intelligently escalate customers to agents with full summaries of notes. Customers no longer have to wait on hold before getting resolution, and agents can earn higher wages by using talents that automation doesn’t have, like empathy and creativity.

Download The Great Resignation: Why Your Contact Center Won't Survive Without Automation