Whether the contact center you’re operating is primarily focused on customer care or sales, it can and should be viewed as a revenue-focused function. This might sound like turning Hamburger Helper into lobster, particularly on the customer care side, but all contact centers can mix the critical ingredients to cook up mouth-watering revenue and that sweet, sweet customer lifetime value that we all need a second helping of.
The recipe to success for driving more revenue from the contact center starts with the lens that you view it through. If you view the contact center as a cost center, that’s what it will be. Your primary KPIs will be based on efficiency, low average call handle times (AHT) and deflecting calls. While this may keep costs down, your agents will mostly be focused on resolving calls as quickly possible, not providing a great experience or making sales.
If you look at your contact center as a revenue generator, your KPIs will be based on customer- and sales-focused metrics like conversion rates, upsell, retention, and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores. This keep your agents focused on what actually drives revenue—creating happy return customers and unearthing upsell, cross-sell, and conversion opportunities.
Here are eight of the key ingredients you need to turn up the heart on a revenue-generating contact center that drives high customer lifetime value.
Service-focused contact centers traditionally focus on keeping AHTs low to optimize staffing and keep labor costs down. This will indeed keep your costs down, but often the price you pay is missing out on revenue opportunities and providing less-than-stellar service.
When you factor revenue-focused metrics like conversion rates, revenue per call, and upsell into your KPIs, it’s likely that your AHTs will increase, but the incremental revenue generated will ultimately increase the ROI in the contact center and help you build longer-lasting and more productive relationships with your customers.
Using AI in the contact center can help you easily track and assign revenue to calls without any additional after-call work (ACW) on the part of your agents. With a conversation intelligence solution like Invoca, you can use AI-powered signals to detect when conversions occur during calls, assign revenue value to those conversions, and push that data to your CRM to reduce ACW and help agents focus on providing great service to every customer.
Gartner has predicted that AI will help contact centers reduce agent labor costs by $80 billion by 2026, and reducing ACW is just one of the ways AI can help.
There is a lot of crossover between the skills required to provide great customer service in the contact center and the skills needed to close sales. Your agents need to have great listening skills, display empathy, know the products and services, and have the ability to be creative and remain calm under pressure.
When your agents are expected to handle more sales and upsell opportunities, they need more specific training to help them convert customers without feeling like a pushy used car salesman.
First, they need deeper knowledge of your customers. In B2B sales, customer persona training is often used to help sales reps identify the needs and common pain points of different kinds of customers. This is less common in the B2C contact center world, but it shouldn’t be. If your agents have a better idea of what to expect when a customer calls, they can provide a more personalized and empathetic experience that leads to the kind of sale that makes customers feel known and valued, not pressured.
These agents also need much deeper product knowledge than your typical service-oriented call center representative. If a customer is going to make a purchase or upgrade, they will likely have questions that require confident, informed answers from your agents. If they know your offerings inside-and-out, they can help the customer get exactly what they need, quickly.
You also have to teach agents that sales is essentially proactive customer service. They have to know how not only to handle objections, but to draw the objections out in order to get customers to focus on the benefits. When your agents see sales as a service, they will inevitably provide a better experience to the customer that also results in more revenue.
Many contact center managers perform their QA by listening to and scoring a small sample of calls. Their goal is usually to find problems and identify poor-performing agents in order to keep their score quota above the board. This creates an inaccurate view of agent performance because most of your time is spent searching for problems and very little is spent on solving them. It’s also a costly time suck becase managers have to spend an inordinate amount of time listening to and scoring calls.
In order to create effective QA processes that result in improved experiences and better close rates, you have to be able to monitor, evaluate, and score all of your calls. Since this can’t be done manually at scale, you’ll need to automate the process.
Conversation intelligence platforms like Invoca use AI-powered speech analytics to monitor every call that comes through your contact center. This means you can automatically analyze the entirety of every single call, even when it’s transferred to an external call center or local destination.
You define the automated call scoring criteria to quantify agent performance and track compliance and the platform scores the calls, so you can move from subjectively scoring some calls to objectively scoring all of them.
Since call scores are available immediately after the call ends, you can quickly understand call handling and identify agents that need coaching and provide them with feedback while the call is still fresh in their minds. Better yet, you can understand why high performers are doing better and apply those learnings to developing better scripts and coaching lower-performing agents.
One of the most powerful benefits of automating call QA is that you get tons of quantifiable data from it. When you know which agents have the highest conversion rates, you can easily dig into why they are the best sellers on your team. And you may even find that these top-sellers don’t have the best call scores, which could be a red flag that your call scripts aren’t performing the way you expected them to.
With a conversation intelligence platform like Invoca, you can dig into individual call recordings and transcriptions to see exactly what transpired on the call. What are those high-performing agents saying that helps convert customers? Once you figure that out, you can integrate it into your call scripts, coach your lower-performing agents to follow their lead, and increase your conversion rates across the board. You’re a great contact center manager, but you probably have a lot to learn from your agents’ customer interactions and conversation intelligence can help take your performance to the next level.
Agent coaching tends to be a one-way street where managers tell agents what they’re doing wrong and how to improve. This isn’t just inefficient, it’s a demoralizing experience for agents who just feel like they’re constantly being micromanaged. This is the normal state of agent coaching because the scoring tools are usually only accessible to managers or handed down from a third-party firm or analytics team.
Invoca puts the power to level-up performance in every agent’s hand by allowing them to view call scorecards, transcripts, and recordings themselves. This means they can spot areas to improve and “self-coach” their way to better close rates. Supervisors and QA leaders can share comments and coaching tips with agents, sales management, and even other departments through the Invoca platform, so collaboration is seamless and feedback arrives quickly.
Automated QA and scorecards give you the ability to provide “always-on” coaching — even for remote agents — so you can have the most well-trained contact center possible. When your agents are properly and constantly trained, it enables you to empower them to make more complex decisions on their own. This reduces escalations and AHT, and improves customer satisfaction because they never get to the point to where they have to ask for a manager.
Another way to increase your conversion rate is to provide agents with data about the caller’s online journey before the call is connected. When the agent knows more about the caller’s intent and thier previous actions online, they can personalize the interaction, focus on providing empathetic service, and quickly get to the core of the customer’s needs.
Invoca’s powerful integration with Five9 enables businesses to provide seamless, personalized experiences for their customers by combining PreCall digital journey data with contact center interactions — all within one platform. Watch this video to learn more about how it works.
Invoca’s integration with Five9 stitches together online and offline customer experiences in one platform. Real-time omnichannel journey insights become accessible in one place, without disruption to existing systems, all while calls take place.
Even before callers reach a contact center agent over the phone, their digital behaviors reveal a lot. Invoca’s conversation intelligence platform tracks the consumer’s entire digital journey, including keyword search terms, ads clicked, and products viewed on the webpage. This data — collectively known as PreCall — tells agents exactly what callers want and how they can help.
Here are just a few of the ways that Invoca and Five9 can improve the customer experience:
You can also read more about Invoca’s Five9 integration here.
Your customers are far more likely to likely to buy if you can make the path to purchase as seamless as possible. If they have to fight their way through a frustrating IVR to talk to a person, they’re already going to be mad when the agent picks up the line. The conversion gets further away when you start out on the wrong foot.
PreCall digital journey data from Invoca can also inform how calls are routed. For example, if callers come from specialty product pages that require more expertise, Invoca can route those calls directly to the appropriate salesperson. Or if it’s a customer who’s trying to cancel service, they can be routed straight to a retention agent to reduce churn. Think of how much time is saved in unnecessary transfers or hold times when the right person answers the call at the right time.
Conversely, not every call into a contact center requires a live person. Especially given workforce shortages and increasing demand on agents, the Invoca + Five9 integration provides a value-add to already overwhelmed teams answering phones. Low-value calls asking about parking or store hours can automatically route to the Five9 IVA (Intelligent Virtual Agent), freeing up agent bandwidth and streamlining the customer experience.
Even in the tightest-running ships, some sales calls will slip through the cracks. Whether it’s because of calls coming in after hours, a sudden surge in calls, or technical issues with your phone system, you can’t answer every single call. But that doesn’t mean they need to be written of as missed sales opportunities.
Invoca’s Lost Sales Recovery feature enables contact center managers to see exactly how many calls are being answered by agents so they can diagnose and fix issues that cause calls to go unanswered.
Not all missed calls are created equal, and for most businesses, following up on every one is not feasible or beneficial. On that, an inbox full of generic “missed sales call” alerts isn’t particularly helpful. This is how Invoca differentiates itself from other solutions: we give you the transparency you need to prioritize your unanswered sales calls so that you can respond intelligently, appropriately, and at scale.
Invoca Lost Sales Recovery gives you the deepest level of insight so that you can appropriately respond to the lost sales calls that matter most. You can isolate the unanswered calls that were most likely to convert, for example, by defining “Quality Sales Calls,” with criteria like IVR keypresses (e.g., caller pressed 1 to speak to sales) or filter missed calls by hundreds of marketing criteria, such as if they called from a webpage or clicked an ad that shows high purchasing intent. This ability to automatically identify and prioritize what calls you need to follow up on is the key to recovering lost sales.
When you can follow up on your highest priority missed calls, you’ll increase your conversion rate and the drive even more revenue from the contact center.