Llaura Hughes: Future of the Contact Centre Conference Speaker Interview
With just two weeks to go until the opening of the 2019 Future of Contact Centre conference, we sit with speakers to hear an insight into their industry and what you can expect to learn from their case studies. Today, we are joined by Llaura Hughes, Communications & Development Team Manager at Motability Operations…
Can you tell us more about how you’ve implemented a virtual agent?
Engagement plays a large role when implementing any new technology, especially when delivering to a large audience like a call centre. Bring advisors into their own digitisation journey whilst keeping up with fast pace developments puts us in an infinity loop in the change cycle and so keeping employees engaged with their knowledge management tools is a continuous project which has no end. With our internal virtual assistant (Ask Mo) we started by understanding what truly matters to us as an organisation when it comes to the interactions that our advisors have on the phone – first and foremost the customer is at the heart of everything we do. Due to this; we needed to ensure that our solution will enable advisors to focus on fulfilling the customer’s needs/request as well as concentrate on their call handling behaviours (providing the best customer service possible), rather than worrying about having to memorise processes or procedures). Because of this; we pulled together all process information, whether this be: written, process maps or just general knowledge advisors store in their heads overtime. We then placed it into Ask Mo where all areas of the business are able to access the information they require right at their fingertips and are prepared for any call that they may receive.
To be able to do this successfully; we needed to engage the frontline staff from inception and keep them involved throughout. Ultimately, Ask Mo is their knowledge management tool where they are encouraged and empowered to feedback on its content to ensure that it is always up-to-date and improvements are made where required. We started with a team of two people managing all process changes and developments and following the 10 year success of our internal Ask Mo, we launched a Customer virtual assistant (agent) in early 2018 leading to an expansion to our team; which now consists of 5 communication specialists who are responsible for the content within both our internal virtual assistant and our customer facing virtual assistant.
What do you think is the biggest factor affecting contact centre performance at the moment?
Within the call centre industry I’d say that employee engagement and motivation (or the lack thereof) is the biggest factor that needs to be considered. With technology at everyone’s finger tips and the varying generations working within this type of environment, it’s our duty to ensure that all employees are engaged and have sense of intrinsic motivation. Due to this; I’d say that listening to your employees by involving them in discussions about how best to be engage with them and your customers is going to pay dividends. Call centre employees are the ones that carry out the work, have interactions with your customers and ultimately know how best to adapt working practices, systems, processes…etc. to provide a better service all round. Bringing them into the decision making process will not only motivate them to perform well, but you’ll then create a culture of continuous and sustainable improvement; whereby employees will be more forthcoming sharing their ideas and help identify areas for improvement.
What do you think the future looks like for the contact centre?
The buzz word for many years now has been “omni channel” or “multi-channel” and this hasn’t changed. The way in which customers, service users and even potential employees wish to engage with organisations is forever adapting based on technological advances, cultural changes and any other change that may occur (including the weather J). Due to this, without a crystal ball or the ability to time travel into the future, I suspect that our contact centres will continuously adapt and possibly looking to follow a more agile way of working which has worked out very well within the technology sector when it comes to project management and implementation. We’ll have multiple communication channels so that customers can choose their own preference in how they wish to interact; which in turn will lead to our contact centre staff being multi-skilled in the varying communication talents needed to be able to interact and adapt to customer’s needs. As we change as a society globally; we cannot rest on our laurels and assume that the world within the 4 walls of our organisation are not impacted by the ever changing customer and employee base.
We’re very excited about your case study! Could you provide a sneak preview into the benefits you’ve seen from using an employee facing virtual agent?
The benefits we’ve seen are:
- High and consistent customer satisfaction scores
- High and consistent employee engagement scores
- Removal of an IVR
- Reduction in call times for some call types
- Reduction in classroom training and time-to-efficiency for new starters
What are you most looking forward to about the event?
I really enjoy attending this conference as I’m surrounded by likeminded people discussing and sharing best practices as well as offering food for thought in how we can improve as an industry overall. I’m personally looking forward to Peter Finding’s case study update about the Taylor Vinters Zebra Project as the consideration of AI alongside the human workforce is of great interest to me and I’ll also be sitting in on James Sandberg’s talk on Automation and Data Driven Dashboards as I believe that having actionable insights is key to ensuring continued and worthwhile adaption of processes.