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Operational Support is more than just ticking boxes

In a world that is fast approaching interconnectivity between people, the industry they work in and the brands they work for, the siloed tick box method of doing business is becoming obsolete. In addition, businesses also need to understand the effect that local and global events have on their productivity and efficiency, and how best to respond to these.


"In our industry, these events, from civil unrest to natural disasters, are playing an ever increasing role in workforce management, as well as in quality assurance, business improvement and management information," says Mithum Singh, Head of Operational Support at Merchants, a leading BPO and CMO provider in South Africa.  

 

Singh adds that as result of the interconnectivity and local and global events, the single dimensional view based on historical and time forecasting, can no longer provide an accurate picture of what is needed to ensure that customers' questions and queries are consistently met.

"In our industry, these events, from civil unrest to natural disasters, are playing an ever increasing role in workforce management, as well as in quality assurance, business improvement and management information,"  


"We need to change our focus to a holistic view, turning what we know and what we can predict into a rand value," explains Singh, "it's not just about an adequately occupied contact centre – it's about showing you where you are losing money, how you can plug the hole and perhaps even increase your revenue. It's about helping companies gain the competitive advantage through efficiency and business improvements."

In order to ensure that these improvements can be competently implemented, a combination of skills of WFM, QA, BI and MI is needed, preferably all under one roof.


"It's about helping companies gain the competitive advantage through efficiency and business improvements." 


"We recognised this need and as a result established the Cortex," says Singh, "it came about when we brought those four functional areas together under one manager, we could then see that not only would this provide bigger picture accuracy, but would allow us to add a consulting layer of 'fore frontal thinking' to the services we offer and help our clients move from cost centre to value centre.

 

"Our solutions, coming off the back of over 70 years of combined experience in these skills, provide our clients with active intelligence – information they can use and implement and we can use to create opportunities to save on costs, optimise efficiencies and ensure general business."

Singh explains that most companies go through a process of obtaining data, analysing it for information, gaining insight from it and then not acting on that intelligence.


"What we want to focus on is transitioning the contact centre from cost centre to value centre, and the way to do this is through a three-tier process we have conceptualised where Tier 1 consists of the standard Operational Level Agreement, Tier 2 involves data gathering and Tier 3 is the provision of solutions. 


Singh highlights a recent quick win at one of Merchants' own contact centres, based in Cape Town where break downs in public transport resulted in reduced FTE during peak times.

"Many of the agents were getting to work up to an hour and half late affecting the contact centre's service levels and ability to deliver at the agreed to levels. We analysed the internal and external data available to use ad found that constant train strikes in the area were having adverse effect on their ability to get to work. To mitigate this, we implemented transport for people who worked late or lived far away from the contact centre."


In another similar intervention, the Merchants cortex team found that attrition was fairly high at the contact centre and again, through data collection and analysis, were able to implement a complete solution that served more than one purpose.



"To mitigate this, we implemented transport for people who worked late or lived far away from the contact centre." 



"Once we analysed the data, we pinpointed the peak usage time and were able then to change the shift to daytime only – people could come to work from 8am to 6pm and live normal lives, thus improve their outlook and morale. And, we were able to save costs because we could shut down the building at night – in essence we kept our revenue the same, reduced our costs and improved our margin.

 

"Furthermore, because we now retain agents, we don't have to spend money training new agents, and the retained agents use their knowledge and skill to improve First time contact resolution, Average handling time and customer experience."

 

Singh ends with: "We know that often WFM and QA, and those related capabilities are not the core function of a business utilising a contact centre. However, we have made these our core functions and our strength is in the fact that we can deliver holistic solutions, on whichever tool your company chooses to use. In addition, we don't just show you what to do, we take an active and participatory role in helping you improve your service at every level." 


"Furthermore, because we now retain agents, we don't have to spend money training new agents, and the retained agents use their knowledge and skill to improve First time contact resolution, Average handling time and customer experience."


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​ABOUT MERCHANTS


Merchants is a recognised global leader in providing customer management and related business process outsourcing solutions that deliver positive business results. Providing flexible access to technology, facilities and people, we enable companies to keep pace with – and exceed – customer expectations.
Merchants is a Dimension Data company – the world’s leading contact centre systems integration business and part of the NTT group​.

 Looking fo​r more?

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In addition to helping you identify the future needs of your customers, Merchants is able to source, build, manage and support all aspects of your entire contact centre infrastructure requirements – from technology hardware and software to buildings and facilities. 

The Complete Contact Centre from Merchants.


​Talk to us to find out more, email marketing@merchants.co.za