Technology? I feel your pain.
Back in the days of my first encounters with customer databases in 1992 (many years pre-Connect Assist I should add), we eagerly anticipated the launch of Windows 3 and the ‘world wide web’ had been launched in August the previous year (it’ll never catch on).
Our developers created home-built interfaces, each to their own standards and coding style that bridged the gap between what our advisors saw on their screens and the customer databases.
As more functionality was added, so the system slowed and began to misbehave. I recall the chilled silence in the room when our new head of technology told us that if we added anything more to the system there was a serious risk it would irretrievably ‘fall over’. I still have nightmares…
That feeling of impending doom and being ‘left behind’ is a scenario that many charities face today and through our consultancy work we often hear of the challenges associated with the modernisation of supporter and beneficiary services. Two observations stand out. Firstly, the prevalence of bespoke legacy systems built 10 or more years ago and secondly, off-the-shelf systems that have been uncomfortably shoe-horned into a charity’s requirement.
Making matters worse, the successful operation of such systems is often viewed as a ‘dark art’ – genuine fear being generated at the potential loss of a member of staff capable of navigating the incumbent system’s technical pot-holes and work-arounds. It’s a topic capable of keeping anyone awake at night. So, where to start?
As part of our Giving Back programme, we’re extending an invitation to charities to ‘Inside Outsourcing’, a free-to-attend event to help charities find out more about the technology, people and processes behind Helplines. You may already outsource your helpline, deliver it in-house or have gnarly questions about the technologies and practical aspects of running a contact centre operation. Alternatively, you may just be wondering where to start. If so, this day is for you.
The event is taking place at the Connect Assist offices in Nantgarw (20 mins from Cardiff Central station) on Thursday 12th July, 9.30am – 5.30pm. A little further to travel for many but importantly, we’ll also be inviting guests to spend some time with the real stars of the show, our advisors, who deliver supporter and beneficiary services on behalf of a wide range of charities including the Royal British Legion, Mind, The Prince’s Trust and many others.
Our speakers have decades of hands-on Contact Centre experience between them and have worked with some of the biggest (and smallest) names in the Charity space.
- Recruiting for the ‘right stuff’
However good the technology and processes available, customer, experience and outcomes come down to the person at the other end of the phone. With formal interviewing generally being regarded as one of the least reliable ways to recruit quality staff, what tools can we use to help us find and recruit the right people into the right jobs.
- Safeguarding – how to protect your customers and staff
When we think of ‘Safeguarding’ we usually think of people whose circumstances, age or health make them vulnerable. However, staff handling difficult customer interactions are also at risk of trauma. This seminar explores the subject of safeguarding preparation and practice to make sure customers and staff are protected.
- Advisor Training – how to create a high-performance team
Large contact centre operations are often process-driven with advisors using scripts to navigate through customer interactions – the emphasis being “first contact resolution”. Is this the right model for your charity? This seminar explores how to achieve standardisation, consistency and quality without using call scripts and rigid processes.
- Contact Centre Quality Management
This seminar explores how to define quality standards and deliver assurance activities that are effective, efficient and focus on what ‘good looks like’. We’ll also explore the perception of quality assurance within the teams under scrutiny and look at ways in which continuous review and improvement can be viewed positively.
- Balancing demand with staffing and the use of communications platform technologies
Staff are one of the most valuable and costly assets a charity or business has. In providing helplines, we want to meet demand but not over-staff at great cost. Multichannel communications platforms offer a flexible way to maximise advisor productivity whilst also making the Contact Centre and engaging multi-disciplinary working environment. This seminar will explore what technologies are available and how to use them to deliver a blended, multi-media and efficient work place.
- Delivering outcome-focussed call handling
“First call resolution” is a buzz-term often used in Contact Centres encapsulating the idea that a customer’s wants / needs should be met as efficiently as possible. In Charity helplines this philosophy doesn’t always fit. This seminar will explore how to foster empathy within your teams and train your advisers to look beyond the obvious to unearth the right outcome for your enquirers.
- Handling challenging calls (Customer service from the Advisors seat)
Challenging calls can derive from complex situations, health issues, angry or abusive callers or at its most serious those threatening to harm themselves or others. This seminar explores how to prepare your team for challenging calls, how to handle them and minimise the impact on your staff’s welfare.
- What is a ‘CRM’ system and how can it support a Charity’s goals?
Customer Relationship Management or ‘CRM’ is one of the most misunderstood terms in business. This seminar explains what a CRM is (and isn’t) and will demystify the terminology associated with databases and customer service systems.
- Software As a Service, Customisation and Cloud Systems 101
What is the difference between ‘The Internet’ and ‘The Cloud’? With Technology moving at breath-taking pace, this seminar looks takes a pragmatic look at the latest technologies explaining what they are and how they work, their advantages and disadvantages as well as explaining the terminology so that you can negotiate the super highway with confidence.
- Multi-channel technology – what it is and how it works
We live in a ‘multi-channel’ world where organisations invite us to interact with them via whatever channel we choose. This experience inevitably influences enquirers’ expectations when communicating with charities. This seminar explores how to provide for multi-channel communication, the technologies available and how to use them to strengthen relationships with your stakeholders.
- GDPR – What the new rules mean for customer service
The GDPR has been the most significant change in data protection regulation since the original Act 20 years ago. It represents a step-change in responsibility, customer access and record keeping. This seminar will explore what GDPR means for charities at a practical level and offer a Q&A session to help with GDPR challenges you may be facing.
- Your organisation from the perspective of your customers
Customer Experience Journey Mapping (CXJM) is a valuable and adaptable methodology helping organisations answer some of their biggest questions around service provision. This seminar introduces the CXJM concept, explains how you can run your own session and access supporting resources.
Projects & Outsourcing Seminars:
- The role of business in solving social problems
With central and local government funding balanced somewhere between austerity and crisis, the pressure on charities to fill the gap is becoming more pressing. This seminar explores the role that business can have in being a force for social good.
- Finding the right partner and getting the best from Outsourced relationships
Many charities feel their services can only be run successfully by themselves or that the knowledge required to run the services is held by particular staff. This seminar explains how to find an outsourcer that can handle these challenges and importantly, represent your charity faithfully to its character and goals.
- Delivering technology projects
Technology projects have reputation for being complicated, expensive and often painful. This seminar explores the different project methodologies and offers tips on how to keep your projects on track as well as avoiding common pitfalls.
- Delivering Contact Centre Customer Service projects
Delivering new contact centre services can seem daunting. Staffing, technology, service delivery, quality assurance, cost. The seminar explores how to breakdown the challenges into manageable chunks and takes a pragmatic look at what to expect.