In the cut-throat world of customer service, a smooth-running call centre may seem like the secret ingredient to sales success.
But what often goes unnoticed are the unsung heroes working tirelessly behind the scenes — the back office support. While frontline agents handle the spotlight, it is the efficient and seamless operations of the back office that lays the foundation for a satisfying customer experience.
Analysis by market researchers Aberdeen Strategy & Research shows companies that invest in upgrading their back office experience an 11.7 times annual increase in employee productivity and a 2.8 times annual increase in customer satisfaction rates.
Those companies also experience average reductions in operating costs of 15.3 per cent, year on year.
TSA Group’s Manager of Quality and Risk, Storm Doyle, says a contact centre’s back office is just as crucial and can often be more complex than its frontline operations. Ms Doyle says TSA Group’s back office is responsible for a wide range of operations, including order processing, handling complaints, managing data and follow ups, and ensuring information provided to customers is accurate and timely.
“There is a huge amount of effort that goes on behind the scenes to maintain a positive customer experience and to make sure that what is discussed on that phone call actually eventuates and is what happens for the customer,” Ms Doyle says. “There are a lot of different systems to work with and it can take a long time to submit everything and process orders.
“We’ve streamlined that process so that the phone calls customers are having aren’t taking 20 minutes because they are waiting for the systems to process and submit. Instead, they’re having a nice quick conversation with a frontline staff member who will submit the details of the order to the back office provisioning teams, who then process everything in the systems. People are very time poor now and our back office support means we are able to service more customers more quickly.”
From closing deals to fulfilling orders
The back office also has a big role to play after a sale is closed. Ms Doyle says ensuring the customer is informed in every step of the order process – from buying and billing to delivery is a key aspect of back office operations.
“If a product goes on back order or there is a delay in shipping, the back office personnel communicate that to the customer quickly and keep them engaged through the whole process,” she says. “As a customer, when you order something and you’re really excited about it and you’re expecting it to arrive, even if you had a fantastic phone call making that order, your experience drastically changes when it doesn’t arrive on time, and you don’t know why.
As well as supporting a positive customer experience, Ms Doyle says TSA Group’s back office enhances the entirety of the leading contact centre group’s operations.
“We capture insights across every area of the customer journey, which drives continuous improvement across the business, enhancement to our training and knowledge management spaces, customer journey mapping and offer viability, and now operational strategies,” Ms Doyle says.
“From a customer quality and compliance lens, the back office plays a big role in supporting the front of house teams with their discussions and conversations with the customers. We utilise speech analytics and AI for some of that. And for customer sentiment, key risks and compliance pieces such as privacy and data security, the back office can provide insights into industry specific legislation around how to sell to and how to protect the customer.”
Collaboration and communication
While contact centre frontline staff and back office have a disparate range of skills and job requirements, Ms Doyle says TSA Group’s success is driven by constant communication and consultation between the two divisions.
“Here at TSA Group, everyone that we have in our back office, whether they are in customer remediation, handling complaints or if they are in back office provisioning, they are all experts in their role,” she says.
“They’re also experts in the front of house processes as well as the back of house processes. It can be really useful to have people within the back office team that have that experience and an understanding of the frontline part of the customer journey.
“One thing that we’re really conscious of is driving collaboration and communication between the frontline teams and the back of house teams, so they have the same goals and they both share and contribute to the customer outcome.”
TSA are Australia’s market leading specialists in CX consultancy and contact centre services. We are passionate about revolutionising the way brands connect with Australians. How? By combining our local expertise with the most sophisticated customer experience technology on earth, and delivering with an expert team of customer service consultants who know exactly how to help brands care for their customers.