Dialing Up

Planning Strategies to Support Agents in the New Contact Center

Formerly considered a back-office operation for taking customer complaints, with equally overlooked office décor, today’s contact centers command attention from the C-suite down.

As organizations recognize the value of customer loyalty, they acknowledge the significance of those connections made between employees and their customers.

No longer named simply “call centers,” “contact center” and “customer care” refer to the central workspaces of customer service agents whose jobs have been elevated as companies appreciate their contribution to image and success.

Using telephones, email and live chat, today’s agents interact with customers 24/7, providing technical support, handling inbound or outbound sales, monitoring and responding to social media, and more. Staffers range from entry level customer service representatives to engineers who troubleshoot software and bankers who advise on retirement accounts. As the first line of contact with current and future customers, agents play a crucial role in achieving customer satisfaction as well as growing new business.

With the cost of new customer acquisition estimated at 5 to 25 times the cost of retaining a current customer, companies have a lot at stake in how they treat their existing customers. While yesterday’s disgruntled customer might have told 10 people about their experience, today, thanks to social media, a dissatisfied user might reach 1,000 others with a single click.

Knoll spoke with designers, clients and real estate specialists to identify emerging trends that affect the design and planning of contact centers and learn the requirements of their occupants. This paper compiles feedback and shares solutions and best practices for designing winning contact centers.

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