Turn your customer service cost center into a value center in 2021

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Insights for Telecommunications executives

A new revenue opportunity: Contact centers evolve to generate profit

The role of contact centers in the Telecom industry is transforming from a service-oriented cost center to a relationship-driven value center. The increased customer adoption of remote and digital channels is providing an invaluable opportunity to evolve contact centers into real revenue generation hubs. 

Telecom companies are more ready than ever to take advantage of this opportunity. The accelerated digital transformation during the pandemic has eased this evolution. 

Here are some exciting predictions by analysts:

  • According to Gartner, “By 2025, 40% of customer service organizations will become profit centers by becoming de facto leaders in digital customer engagement”1.  
  • A 2021 research analysis by McKinsey estimates that companies which transform their contact center into a profit center can increase topline revenues by 10-20 percent2.  

How can telecom contact center leaders get started?

Contact center leaders looking to turn their contact centers into real revenue generation hubs should focus on three avenues :

  1. Move from a transactional to relationship-value service approach
  2. Scale AI and apply analytics for revenue generation
  3. Drive agility with a cloud-based distributed operating model

In this blog, we recommend how to tackle these areas.

1. Move from a transactional to relational-first service approach

Over the years, customer support and service have generally been viewed more as transactional touchpoints rather than as opportunities to improve customer relationships. Performance measures and management attention tended to prioritize cost savings while maintaining an acceptable customer experience.

But the pandemic crisis accelerated digital change, both for customers and providers. Customers now have a wide range of choices at their disposal and they are exercising this power freely. For providers, new technology means service no longer has to be a “necessary money-pit” but can become a  critical investment to drive human-centric experiences, meaningful relationships, customer loyalty and measurable contribution to revenue. 

The 2020 state of service report by Salesforce shows that 59% of customers say the pandemic has raised their standards for customer service and 91% of customers say good customer service makes them more likely to make a purchase3

Actions to consider:

  1. Use analytics to quantify the value of customer relationships and derive the financial contribution generated by CSAT, NPS, and conversions. Deduct service costs from this quantified value, and you will get the profits and ROI gained from your investments in customer relationships. The math is simple –

Quantified financial value of customer relationships (CSAT, CX, NPS) – Service costs 

= Profits generated 

  1. Rethink customer service metrics and prioritize the ones that are key to improving the experiential and financial value of customers. These can include CSAT, NPS, revenue, sales conversions, and Customer Effort Score (CES). Leading organizations are now focusing on improving CES by prioritizing effortless customer interactions.
  2. Design an integrated omnichannel strategy to serve today’s multi-channel customers
  3. Identify and automate low-value customer transactions and processes so agents can focus more on high-value interactions 
  4. Use analytics for agent performance management and improvement – thereby empowering them to improve relationships and drive sales
  5. Right channel is more important than the right shore. Right-channel digital customer engagement – determine the right digital channel that will help resolve customer’s issues quickly and satisfactorily. 

2. Scale AI and apply analytics for revenue generation

AI, automation and analytics technologies are fast becoming fundamental pillars of contact centers in medium and large telecom companies. Many companies already have established centers of excellence – but the use cases of these technologies still emphasize delivering cost savings and operational efficiencies. 

In order to build a value center, companies must fully exploit the potential of AI and apply analytics to drive business outcomes such as incremental sales, up-selling, cross-selling and improved retention. Leaders should also look beyond one-off use cases and tackle these advanced technologies with a process-wide strategy. 

Actions to consider:

  1. Propensity modeling: Propensity modeling is an analytics use-case that helps capture what top-performing agents do differently and identify the likelihood of a customer being interested in taking up the offer based on their historical buying patterns
  2. Customer interaction analytics: Harness customer data and agent conversations to monitor customer behaviors and predict the best product to recommend to the customer
  3. Train customer-facing chatbots with up-sell and cross-sell capabilities. Bots can analyze customer conversations and send personalized product recommendations
  4. Use real-time analytics to deliver proactive customer service and improve conversion rates
  5. Establish a clear roadmap to improve the overall AI and analytics maturity in the organization

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3. Drive agility with a cloud-based distributed operating model

Building a resilient and agile operating model is key to transforming a contact centre into a value centre. The pandemic disrupted the traditional contact centre workflows and processes as we know them. We have seen companies adopting too many remote working and cloud technologies without a sound strategy.  

An action to consider:

Implement a cloud contact centre-as-a-service solution

Deploy an integrated cloud-based Contact centre as a Service (CCaaS) solution that supports a distributed operating model for customer service, where agents can work either in the centre or at home. A CCaaS platform integrates various legacy and emerging technologies and acts as a unified platform for customer service operations. Thereby, it provides a single window view of customer data and increases operational agility and scalability. 

The Europe contact centre as a service market is projected to reach USD 2,249 million by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 16.4%4.

A distributed operating model enabled by a CCaaS platform also allows companies to recruit better talent across geographies and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Getting started

The pandemic has changed customer service. The rising adoption of digital and remote service channels among customers has opened up a unique opportunity to use contact centres for generating revenue. Telecom leaders must retire their traditional mindset of viewing service as a weak link in the customer journey and recognize contact centres as potential sources for creating additional customer value and revenue. 

As a global leader in customer experience and digital contact centre solutions, Firstsource is helping telecom companies accelerate this transformation. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with one of our telecom industry experts. For further insights, you can also consider exploring our Digitally Empowered Contact centre solutions or visit our Communications industry services page.

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