Successful Migration Strategies Require More Than Just Lift and Shift

Blog Post By Phil Murphy

The goal of most companies is to grow and build a strong foundation of products, loyal customers, and profitable bottom lines. As growth increases, so do the costs and responsibilities of managing your own contact centre. For some, it becomes too much of a burden, so it becomes prudent to migrate contact centre operations away from internal resources to an external partner. This allows a company to focus on their core business while outsourcing their customer management to a world-class service provider.

A typical approach is for a partner to do a “lift and shift” -- replicate what’s being done internally at an outsourced facility. But blindly recreating old processes isn’t always the best option. Besides operational logistics, there are many employee, technology, and customer experience strategies that should be considered to optimise customer interactions for the client and end users. The move becomes a perfect opportunity to assess what works, what doesn’t, and what can be improved.

A broken process, technology, or customer culture won’t be fixed simply by moving it to another entity. You may move operations away from your core business, but you can’t outsource accountability.

We often find that client operations are disjointed and fragmented, with little documentation and even less strategy on how to improve. Systems, employees, and ways of conducting operations vary from office to office, or employee to employee.

Our approach is to work with clients to enhance the end customer’s experience, as well as drive efficiencies in the business. This often means creating processes where none exist, and consolidating the client’s internal tribal knowledge to create repeatable, efficient, and effective experiences for associates and end users. We can deploy a team of subject matter experts who manage projects related to processes, systems, knowledge management, employee training, and customer journeys. None of this can be done successfully without a comprehensive strategy.

We offer six recommendations for moving away from the tactical lift and shift approach toward a strategic, optimised enhancement of contact centre operations.

1. Listen and learn. Before embarking on a migration journey, take the time to understand your company’s current state, and identify an ideal future state from both an employee and customer perspective.

2. Align the culture for a successful transition. Encourage the organisation to embrace culture change around customer experience enhancement even before migration occurs. Pick key people within all customer-facing divisions of the client team to be champions, such as marketing, the call centre, and IT. Give them goals and make sure they’re rewarded when they succeed.

3. Develop true, collaborative partnerships. Your migration partner should be just that, not just a vendor that considers only cost or service levels. They will bring their domain expertise about how to transition, and you will bring your unique knowledge of your business. Yes, a partner will do much of the heavy lifting, but you can’t exclude yourself from the transition. You know the nuances of your contact centre, your products, and your customers. Where possible, create teams from both sides to gather insight and keep employees engaged throughout the process. This should extend to making the appropriate investment in deploying subject matter experts from your business to assist with the transition.

4. Fix what’s broken. Chances are there are things that need fixing, but there wasn’t the interest or resources to fix them prior to the transition. Make sure these items are priorities that can be addressed during the transition. Some things may not be considered phase one priorities, but make sure they’re on the list for future phases.

5. Stay nimble. Develop a plan to address potential problems during and after the transition. Prepare for how to handle unexpected issues that might arise, from both the partner and client side.

6. Be honest. In most cases, cost or customer experience concerns drive the decision to migrate. It’s often not a popular one within an organisation or with customers accustomed to dealing with internal staff. But it’s important to be as honest and transparent as possible with employees and customers about what’s happening and why. Acting on the principle of trust will go a long way. It’s a sensitive topic, but expect that you must do the right thing by your employees and customers if you are to continue the relationship you have post-migration.

Done well with the right partner, contact centre migration can improve customer relationships, drive down costs to the business, and allow you to focus on your core expertise. Remember to balance your commercial and customer objectives, using them as a lens by which to gauge the transition’s success.