Contact Center Operations: Keep it Simple – Keep it Human

Running a contact center today is a tricky business, but it doesn’t have to be – with the right mindset and a human approach, it pays to keep things simple. Ross Daniels describes the most common pitfalls and how to navigate a smooth path to operational efficiency…

Many believe that modern contact centers have become far too complex. In a world where “work from anywhere” has become the norm, how do organizations manage effective staff planning and forecasting while keeping teams connected and meeting service levels?

The growth of digital platforms has only increased complexity, but not necessarily for the greater good. A new survey from McKinsey & Company reveals that during the pandemic, consumers have turned to online channels. Additionally, organizations say they are three times more likely than before the crisis to say that at least 80% of customer interactions are now digital in nature.[i] However, only 35% of consumers are truly satisfied with automated CX solutions and 38% would still prefer to speak to a human.[ii]

Five golden rules to keep it simple

The first step to successfully tackling operational complexity in a contact center is to be aware of the do’s and don’ts. Avoid the most common mistakes by following these five golden rules:

1. Think before you scan – rather than simply replacing systems and processes with “like-for-like” digital equivalents, check whether the original ways of working are still fit for purpose. This will save time and money later.

2. Value not cost – having the right mindset is essential to success. The usual reaction is to solve operational problems by cutting costs – cutting labor costs, downsizing and lowering costs in an effort to increase profitability. It’s a pretty common mistake, but what about the customer? There should be no compromise between cost and effectiveness. Better to ask “how can we add more value and achieve great results while also achieving positive business impact? »

3. Involve the right people – when finding new ways to serve customers, seek input from front-line employees and involve them early in the process. They have a wealth of valuable information and first-hand experience that is essential in selecting the right digital technology to best serve your customers.

4. Learn from your users – when looking to introduce a new channel or service, remember to ask customers what it should look like or if it is even useful. Proper research, design and testing will avoid costly mistakes and keep customers and employees satisfied through closer engagement.

5. Reassess Success Criteria – too many customer service organizations are so focused on metrics – such as number of conversations per hour or average handle times that customers end up being treated as a statistic rather than a real person. Put in place the right measures of success that assess the human factor of digital interactions.

Keep it simple with human-centered design

Once you know what pitfalls to avoid and have the right mindset in place, add the human touch to operations. Look from the outside in to establish what really matters to your customers and employees? Involving people from the start will mean that the membership and budgets of the people who matter will follow naturally.

Building an operational strategy that starts with a human perspective leads to 7 positive results such as:

• Encourage collaboration (to avoid costly thinking, process, and mistakes as organizations transition to digital platforms)
• Listen to shareholders (including IT and other senior executives)
• Involve everyone in the process (contact center staff, marketing, sales and operations)
• Create a shared vision for CX and EX across the organization
• Identifies capabilities and therefore defaults where there are gaps
• Align people, process and technology
• Creation of the CX and EX vision to drive the technology roadmap.

Read our next blog for practical advice on managing complexity in the contact center. For more ideas and inspiration, watch Calabrio’s latest webinar “How to improve the customer and employee experience by applying human-centered design” or visit

Ross Daniels is Marketing Director at Calabrio

About Calabria

Calabrio is the customer experience intelligence company that enables organizations to enrich human interactions. The scalability of our cloud platform enables rapid deployment of remote work models and gives our customers precise control over operating costs and customer satisfaction levels. Our AI-powered analytics tools make it easy for contact centers to uncover customer sentiment and share compelling insights with other parts of the organization. Customers choose Calabrio because we understand their needs and provide a best-in-class experience, from implementation to ongoing support.

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[i] “How COVID-19 Pushed Businesses Above the Technological Tipping Point – and Transformed Business Forever” – Study published October 5, 2020 by McKinsey & Company: company-transformed-forever
[ii] NTT “Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report 2021 – Crossing the CX Divide: Leading from a New Base” –