Choosing a call center consultant in 2021 requires thinking big! And trust me, thinking big is not just virtual meetings, work-from-home trends, or cutting-edge technology. Thinking big means combing through all the challenges you have conquered in the past and being poised to face them again with renewed strength and a helping hand. Former US President Barack Obama once said, “asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new.” I have seen companies both large and small choose a call center consultant to bring a fresh perspective to a project and fintech, healthcare, insurance and many other executive sponsors have shared with me the keys to their success. I’d be happy to spend an hour on the phone to share some of those insights (and why they love Group Elite).
#1 Find a Call Center Expert in Your Problem Area, Not Just An Expert From The Software Manufacturer
In some cases, seeking help from your software manufacturer makes the most sense. They know the software, they know the market, and they have seen how other customers use the same tools. However, that same expertise often restricts them from thinking bigger – beyond the software and beyond its limitations. Instead, find a call center consultancy that is concerned with results and outcomes and not just the tech. Find a specialist that understands the limitations of the tech and is equally transparent about the capabilities of your team. WFM teams, QM teams, and Speech teams often need a consultant that will ask the difficult questions to bring out the best solution for your specific business model. Our team has hundreds of years of experience across platforms and industries.
#2 Ask For Proven Call Center Results that Coincide With Your Strategic Goals
Ask for references. Ask for case studies. Ask for specifics. Past performance on a topic important to you is the best indicator of future results, and you should not shy away from checking references. Many software companies and consultancy programs use the same references repeatedly to blanket several programs in the industry. Get specific and ask to see proven results that are strategic to YOUR needs! FCR, AHT, NPS, agent churn, collections effectiveness, schedule adherence – be candid with your consultancy candidates.
#3 Adoption Takes Time
Select a call center consultant that is willing to spread their services in intervals over a longer period. If your contract is more concerned about the number of hours that will be delivered versus the results of the efforts, you may want to consider looking for an alternative consulting group. Does your company measure success by the number of hours you put in? Then why should you accept that from your consultancy group? This does not mean stringing you along for more money – it means solid engagements that are based on your strategic goals will take time to see adoption and transformation to take shape. These are often branded “Health Checks” or “Check Points” in a contract.; Find consultants that want to “check-in” over the course of a year or two, not just ride into a project and leave after a few weeks.
#4 Fixed Quoting is a Sign of Strength, Not Weakness
Clients should purposefully shy away from time-and-materials (T&M) contracts for call center consultant projects. T&M means the “time” and the “materials” for your project are billed on an hourly basis and could last indefinitely. Look for fixed quoting projects that confidently price their efforts based on their experience. There might be circumstances that require the consultant to stay longer or work harder to complete a project that falls within scope of your contract. Group Elite proudly uses fixed quoting to keep your budget on track and your strategic goals top-of-mind.
#5 Choose a Call Center Consultant With Experience That Counts
Ideally a call center consultant should have 5-8 years of solid experience in either your strategic problem area or your industry, or both. The best-case scenario is someone that has experience across several industries and organizations of various sizes. Why other industries or sizes? Because today’s customer experiences (CX) aren’t measured in a vacuum. Consumers compare their healthcare experiences with their retail experiences, their banking experiences with their travel experiences. This cross-industry experience will help you set stretch goals to beat the competition, wow the customer, and reduce customer effort regardless of channel.
#6 Hire a Consultancy Practice That Is Focused On Adoption of Technology, Not Just The Rollout
Anyone can train your team on how to use a new software application. Choose a call center consultant that looks holistically at the problem and focuses on overall adoption of the tool. How many times have you taken inventory of all your software applications and recognize that workers have found home-grown shortcuts to reduce frustration? How many times have you invested thousands, or even millions in a software project, only to see users abandon the tool within a year? Group Elite concentrates on overall adoption – adoption that is deeply entrenched across the organization – from the front-line user experience to an executive’s dashboard.
#7 Ask Your Call Center Consultant to Focus on Metrics With Downstream Challenges
Speaking of executive dashboards, choose a call center consultant that understands the downstream impact to your business. First Contact Resolution (FCR) for example, is more than just reducing repeat calls for an agent. A leading call center consultant will see the FCR impact downstream on customer effort, loyalty, increase wallet-share and call center efficiency. And in the end, these metrics should be reflected in the project executive read-out. The executive read-out milestone of any project ties the original goals with the outcomes, includes the business impact, and serves as the cornerstone of a call center executive’s evangelism of the project to the C-suite.
To all the customers we have served over the last 9 years, thank you for trusting Group Elite to meet your strategic goals. If you have not met one of our consultants yet, today is the day. We leverage these 7 principles on all our engagements – from Verint 15.2 upgrades to cloud migrations to AQM transitions – let our experience be your advantage.