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How to reduce cost in the contact centre

Top 5 technologies that will reduce cost in the contact centre in 2020

16 min read

[Updated Dec 2019]

Contact Centre Managers can face a real challenge when it comes to them trying to reduce cost in the contact centre. To make the most out of every customer interaction requires a balance of productivity, quality and efficiency in day to day operations.

Here are our top 5 technologies that can help reduce cost in the contact centre without compromising quality in 2020:

1. Reduce Cost in the Contact Centre with Workforce Management

Workforce Management (WFM) technology allows planners to quickly allocate the right employees, with the right skill sets at the right time, in order to meet service level agreements in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

WFM can help reduce cost in the contact centre through:

Resource Planning

With a modern WFM tool, planners can forecast, schedule and track the exact resources and skills needed in the contact centre daily. This means that costs related to overstaffing (and understaffing) can be avoided and efficient workforce planning is enabled.

WFM Self-Service Functionalities

 WFM Self-service functionalities enable agents to highlight their work preferences such as overtime availability, desired shifts and time-off requests, which not only help cut administrative costs, but also improve agent engagement and moral. The latter leads to a reduction in agent attrition rates which will in turn save the contact centre recruitment and training costs. For example – if you were to recruit 100 new agents within a year’s time to replace employees that left, you would be spending close to £250,000 in recruitment and training costs.

Workforce Management – Gamification

Gamification is the ability to incorporate the fun and competitive nature into the workplace, whilst also pushing agents to perform to the best of their ability. Gamification modules within WFM, position contact centre agents as players of a game. The game can then reward performance (with medals such as bronze, silver and gold), based on pre-determined parameters and metrics. The medals won can be traded in for prizes e.g. being first in line for the next shift or holiday bid.

The whole essence of gamification allows for positive reinforcement based on incentives, ultimately reducing absenteeism and agent turnover.

For more information on Workforce Management, check out our article:
What is Workforce Management?

2. Reduce cost with Back-Office Workforce Optimisation

Back Office Workforce Optimisation technology allows for the digital transformation of the back office to achieve operational excellence and cut operating costs.

Back Office Workforce Optimisation can reduce cost in the contact centre through:

Back-Office Workforce Optimisation – Orchestrating the Workload

A Back Office Optimisation tool will deliver volume work tasks to the most appropriate resources – human or robotic – based on an organisation’s defined business priorities. Work task progress and quality of the work being done is then tracked and reported on in granular detail for visibility of your operations, ultimately helping you see ways in which you can reduce costs.

Here’s just a small idea of how a Back Office Optimisation tool can reduce cost in the contact centre:

‘Get Next’ Functionality – Agent Application

Many mid and back offices within contact centres find that their staff are ‘cherry picking’ work instead of doing what is best for the business and agreed SLA’s.

To combat this, some Back Office Workforce Optimisation tools have what is called ‘Get Next’ functionality. This functionality allows for automatic work allocation, ensuring the agent isn’t ‘cherry-picking’ work. Work is allocated from multiple channels and volumes and is allocated based on what is best for the business and customers – helping you meet your SLA’s and maximise your resources.

Skills Based Workflow – Team Leader Console

Skills based workflow functionality within some back office workforce optimisation tools make sure your most appropriately skilled staff are handling the right work. With this functionality, elements can be automated in order to ensure the work goes to the appropriate staff. However, there is also the option for the team leader/manager to set manual assignments and adjust work priorities to certain agents when needed. Using Skills based workflow helps your customer service exceed as well as motivating your employees to keep on track.


Many back office optimisation tools allow you to automate business rules and scripts to streamline processes and complete mundane work. Some tools allow for a ‘ScriptFlow’ functionality – this can guide an agent through a specific process, increasing what an agent can handle and delivering greater value to the customer on the call. ScriptFlow allows for a more streamlined customer experience and provides you with the option of blending the front and back office of your contact centre if needed. For example, to assist back office staff who are occasionally providing front line customer support, ScriptFlow is ideal for supporting agents through complex calls and messaging.

ScriptFlow can also create scripts related to certain back office tasks to reduce the need for specialist silos in an operation and empowering your agents to handle complex customer demands on the call. Not to mention these scripts can also be used for training purposes to broaden the skill sets of all workers.

Related Content [Whitepaper]
The Future of Front and Back-Office Workforce Blending

3. Reduce cost with Interaction/Speech Analytics

Interaction Analytics (including speech analytics) does all the hard work for you by “listening” to all forms of communication to spot predefined keywords and expressions that can indicate both problem and opportunity areas as well as valuable insight.

Speech Analytics can reduce cost in the contact centre through:

Speech Analytics – Improving Quality Monitoring & Performance

With 100% of calls being monitored and categorised, only the most valuable are passed on for agent training. Speech Analytics can help develop a targeted agent training programme improving overall KPIs, including those designed to reduce the cost to serve.

Speech Analytics – Avoidance of Fines

Interaction/Speech Analytics can be used as a precautionary mechanism; being able to search for and identify inappropriate interactions through thousands of records, can allow the contact centre manager to remedy the situation before it repeats or escalates.

Speech Analytics – Improving Customer Retention

Similarly, being able to search thousands of interactions using keywords such as competitor names, and phrases that indicate customer dissatisfaction, means you can reduce customer churn and consequently loss of revenue. Equiniti, for example, with the use of Interaction/Speech Analytics, delivered 30,000 improved customer experiences based on the data provided by this technology, causing a 2% increase in customer satisfaction scores. 

For more information on Speech Analytics, check out our article:
The Best Ways To Utilise Speech Analytics in the Contact Centre

4. Reduce cost in the contact centre with Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses robots to eliminate repetitive manual tasks and deliver greater consistency over operational tasks, with unparalleled accuracy and speed.  Not only does RPA release the resources companies’ utilities to focus on service, but robots are able to operate continuously around the clock at high speeds.

Robotic Process Automation can reduce costs in the contact centre through:

Robotic Process Automation – Automation of Desktop Activities

These include application launch, mouse selection, field entry, information copy/paste, template auto-fill and calculations; allowing agents to focus on more challenging tasks of greater value to the business.

Robotic Process Automation – Self-Service Functionalities

This includes automating the back-end processes of your customer self-service channels, therefore helping improve overall channel performance. As self-service is one of the most cost-effective channels, the more customers use it the less your cost-to-serve will be.

Robotic Process Automation – Back-Office Tasks

RPA can take care of many manual and resource intensive back-office operations such as organising and indexing electronic documents and sending automatic replies to predefined requests, saving costs associated with a wide range of administrative tasks.

Robotic Process Automation – Avoiding Technological Failure

Health checks, updates and other event-triggered processes can be automated with Robotic Process Automation saving the IT department time and ensuring the contact centre will not be disrupted by a potential costly technological failure.

For more information on RPA, check out our blog series:
An Insiders Guide to Robotic Process Automation

5. Reduce cost with Cloud Contact Centre Services

Cloud contact centre services allow for a more flexible way to acquire applications without having to deal with the costs associated with the procurement and maintenance of on-premise solutions.

Cloud Contact Centre and Hosted services can reduce cost in the contact centre through:

Cloud Contact Centre – Scalability

Cloud services allow organisations to meet customer demand, scaling the number of licenses used according to their needs. This also means you are billed for what you use on a pay-as-you-go basis saving unnecessary expenditure. As well as this, with cloud, it’s extremely easy to add on any functionality, with no new hardware required, as and when your contact centre advances (e.g. speech analytics, Robotic Process Automation etc).

Cloud Contact Centre – Save Time and Resources

A cloud based contact centre solution can also easily consolidate your contact centre infrastructure, PBX and telecom suppliers to be with one vendor, saving you time and resource which goes with maintaining and keeping on top of multiple supplier relationships.

Cloud Contact Centre – Maintenance of Equipment

Using a cloud or hosted service means there are no operational and maintenance expenses, typically associated with traditional on-premise equipment.

For more information on cloud contact centres, check out our article:
What To Consider When Moving To A Cloud Contact Centre