This is the beginning of the end for the contact centre. For half a century now companies have used contact centres when they had more customer calls or IT helpdesk queries than they could handle, or when they wanted to outsource customer service or technical support to a specialist, leaving them free to focus on their core business.

It was a simple model and it worked, after a fashion, but there are now changes afoot that will soon consign the notion of contact centre service to the history of business, alongside the typing pool, the fax machine, and the final salary pension.

We at TELUS International Europe are among a handful of outsourced business process providers that are transforming this sector through the introduction of business process improvement (BPI). Where the traditional contact centre provided a simple service, we now offer a partnership that adds value.

The value is genuine. For a telecommunications company we increased the user satisfaction with a technical support programme by 20%. In the financial service sector we increased first call resolution rate by 23%. For a utility we increased sales conversion in webchat by 7%. These are significant outcomes for our clients who are enjoying cost reductions and revenue gains that in many cases run into the millions of euros. So, what is this BPI and how do we achieve it?

Business process improvement
Before we begin to work on any campaign our BPI function analyses existing client processes and identifies opportunities for improvement in the quality or quantity of output. It then creates training aids so that we can close any gaps in skill levels, implements any necessary technology enhancements, and then maps out the processes needed to achieve desired outcomes.

From that point onwards we operate a continual process of improvement that is possible because we have trained 1,500 of our managers in Six Sigma, the methodology adopted by Jack Welch at GE to identify and then eliminate weaknesses in any business process.

This significant investment in developing our key people through the Yellow, Green and Black belt levels of the Six Sigma programme enables us to deliver excellent, consistent, and predictable results to meet and exceed client expectations. It is generating remarkable returns not only for our clients but also for our company in the form of agent retention, client retention and acquisition, cost reduction and revenue generation.

Driving innovation
Quite simply, more and more companies are discovering that it is not enough to transfer your processes to a contact centre supplier. The contact centres of tomorrow will need a detailed understanding of their clients’ businesses and have the capability to drive innovation and transform those processes for the better. They will not only execute the existing work procedures, but they also bring added value, through the implementation of BPI.

It is good for us and good for our clients, but it is the death knell for the simple contact centre.

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