Why Contact Centers Are More Than Just a Cost Center-Stephanie Shaffer De Jesus

Moving Contact Centers From SLAs to Experience Level Agreements


What’s the future of contact centers in shaping customer experience and brand loyalty? Companies are increasingly recognizing the critical role that contact centers play in shaping customer perceptions and driving brand loyalty. In this podcast episode, Stephanie Shaffer De Jesus, a seasoned customer experience practitioner, shares invaluable insights into the future of contact centers and the role that Experience Level Agreements play versus the Service Level Agreements that contact centers are generally managed by. By backing into contact center metrics – starting with the customer and the desired customer experience – the contact center can transform.

Stephanie envisions a future for contact centers where communication adapts to align with customer preferences, emphasizing the importance of personalization. The antiquated model of merely answering calls and ending them, often requiring multiple calls for resolution, is outdated. Failure to adapt and unlock this code will leave businesses trailing behind their competitors.

Furthermore, empowerment in the contact center is about giving agents the autonomy and resources they need to excel in their roles. The most successful contact centers are those that empower their agents by providing them with the necessary tools, technology, and processes. Unfortunately, some contact centers tend to limit empowerment by introducing overrides and complex decision trees that take control away from the front line.

As we journey further into the phygital (physical and digital) age, data and technology are assuming increasingly pivotal roles in enhancing customer experience and contact center operations. Advanced analytics empower contact centers with invaluable insights into customer behavior and preferences. This data-driven approach facilitates personalized interactions, anticipation of customer needs, and proactive issue resolution.

Moreover, technologies such as chatbots and AI-powered virtual assistants have become indispensable in the contact center realm. These tools proficiently handle routine inquiries, liberating agents to focus on more intricate and emotionally charged interactions.

In addition to Stephanie’s insights, it is essential to consider the perspective of starting with a customer-centric approach when setting metrics and goals for contact centers. She highlights the importance of reevaluating and reinvigorating the vision and mission behind contact center operations. Often, companies have been running their contact centers for so long that they may need to dust off their goals and refocus on the desired outcomes.

Stephanie emphasizes the significance of beginning with the customer viewpoint and how a company wants its customers to feel. This approach may seem obvious, but it can be overlooked when contact centers become entrenched in existing metrics. It is important to prioritize people over numbers, recognizing that customers and associates are real individuals having unique experiences.

In conclusion, contact centers have the potential to evolve from cost centers into revenue generators. Stephanie has illuminated the path forward, emphasizing the need for personalization, empowerment, and a relentless commitment to the human experience. By embracing these principles and continuously adapting, contact centers can shed their cost center image and emerge as revenue generators.


Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the FutureFor regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here

Share this post