This month saw the Enghouse ‘Interact’ road show tour ANZ. As with last year, we held events in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, and then headed across the Tasman for stops in Auckland and Wellington. Each event featured a panel discussion with Enghouse Interactive customers from those cities, as well as our very own rocket scientist, Enghouse Interactive CTO Alex Black.
Alex gave an excellent presentation around the realities of some emerging technologies in the contact centre, including Artificial Intelligence solutions and Omni-Channel. Alex provided some challenging perspectives, which I will be blogging about once the road show has drawn to a close, but today I wanted to share some of the insights given by our customers in each city.
It’s always interesting to hear customers outline their needs. They are varied, and usually more about meeting a specific business challenge than harnessing the latest technology or trend. And that was the case with two of the customers on the road show.
The first stop was in Brisbane and Andrew Williams, Team Leader of Voice Systems for Griffith University, gave us a glimpse into his world. Andrew oversees up to 120 agents across 13 university department contact centres, each with their own queue. With 40,000+ students and 5,000+ staff, the Griffith contact centre teams handle a huge number of calls and enquiries every day.
But if that isn’t enough of a challenge Griffith has a policy to conduct ‘voice only’ engagements. They have call routers in place to ensure students and staff get to the right agents as easily as possible, but once there, it’s 100% voice. No auto greeting, and no voice mail.
It’s an admirable policy, and one I’m sure we’d like to see in place at a few of the contact centres we might call, in regards to our own affairs. But Andrew flags that it is one that might need to change. Not because of cost or time efficiencies, but to meet the demands of some of their customers – the students.
Unlike the older generation, for Millennials voice engagement isn’t the be all and end all. For them, being able to email in a request, and then check for the answer in their own time later, is the preference. It’s a reminder that one size (or in this case channel) does not fit all.
Fast-forward to our guest speaker in Melbourne, Julie Young Customer Service Manager for 7-Eleven, and we have a very similar situation in regards to voice calls, again due to the needs of the customers.
For Julie’s 35-seat team, 7-Eleven’s franchisee’s are in a very unique situation. It is quite often the case for the stores to have a single-person team, who cannot be in the back-office for extended periods of time, and need to remain front-of-store.
Even dashing out to write a quick email is too long to be away from the front desk, so while it is more for necessity than policy, inbound phone calls to the 7-Eleven contact centre is the best route.
However, with the knowledge that franchisees are often one-person teams, 7-Eleven is looking at emerging technology to provide extra support, and hopefully provide solutions to problems before the franchisee even knows it exists.
The Internet of Things (IoT) can play a part here. With more and more devices being connected, 7-Eleven is looking at the ability for fuel pumps, coffee machines and other devices to automatically flag if there is a problem. This way a job can be automatically opened, technicians dispatched, and a call placed to the franchisee letting them know things are already being taken care of, before they even knew.
Across the Tasman in Auckland we were joined by Telnet CTO, Steve Hennerley. Telnet has been in business for over 20 years, and at any one time they have over 300 queues servicing their customers. They have a 200-seat contact centre in Auckland, a new 120-seat facility and 10 smaller 1-30 seat teams and 50 homeworkers to increase their capability, as well as 10 other remote connected site with between 1 and 30 users.
Steve gave a great case study example of scalability, around Telnet’s recent success with the New Zealand Census.
The Census is a massive undertaking, but even more so when you take into account how people tackle it. For a large number it is about filling out the forms the day before they are due, and submitting them at the eleventh hour.
This led to a need to manage 40,000 calls and 6,000 emails, across eight different languages, on a single day. As spikes go that takes some beating.
So what was Telnet’s solution?
They hired out the ballroom in a local hotel, and set up a bespoke 180-seat contact centre for that one day. To put that into perspective, apart from all the phones, computers, desks and agents, it also required over 10 kilometres of fibre to connect it all.
Enghouse played its part, and helped out Telnet with scaling their licences for the event, but of course the real achievement is all Telnet’s.
And lastly in Wellington our guest panellist was Corporate Connect’s General Manager, Sharon Rowell. Corporate Connect have been outsourcing contact centre services since 1998, and has 150 customer service reps to look after their 100+ customers.
Sharon expanded on comments by Alex, and agreed that one of the challenges facing the contact centre is managing multiple channels concurrently. While it is definitely a capability that will continue to increase, it is a simple case that a large percentage of staff are not suitable for all Omni-Channel mediums.
Currently about 50% of Corporate Connect staff are specialists in a single channel, with the other 50% work across several channels. This drops further to 15% in regards to staff who can traverse all channels.
This is where the power of good quality reporting really pays dividends. Corporate Connect monitors staff performance on each channel, and is then able to align the agent’s skills to the channel that is the best fit for them.
This results in the best productivity for Corporate Connect, and also the best service quality for their customers.
The Enghouse Interact road show has come to an end for this year, and undoubtedly we will be doing the rounds again in 2017. I look forward to seeing you there, and sharing more customer insights straight from the horse’s mouth.