3 Steps for Building a Strong Contact Center Business Case

If you’re like many contact center leaders, you may not be completely comfortable delivering high-stakes pitches to finance.
 
I’ve worked in leadership roles in many contact centers, and while it wasn’t initially a strength of mine, I’ve learned—by necessity and experience—how to successfully deliver a strong business case. I’ve found the best approach is to know your audience. And when that audience is finance, numbers talk.
 
1. Know Your ROI
Finance typically requires a compelling justification to approve capital investments. The best place to start is with return on investment (ROI).
 
You have to make an argument in terms of measurable ROI and how the purchase will impact specific metrics in your contact center. You might say something like: “If we switch to this software, it will save us $170,000 annually and reduce our handle time in the first six months from 120 seconds to 60 seconds. After that, we’ll see an exponential decrease in that handle time as our agents become more efficient, and our customer experience improves. Here’s how that will happen, and how long it will take to see a financial return.”
 
Be prepared to justify the investment, and benchmark where you are today as compared to your vision with the recommended investment.
 
2. Invest in the Research
Building a business case takes time.
 
In two contact centers where I worked, we switched out the customer relationship management (CRM) software, as well as the phone and financial systems that tied to it. I planned for months before we made the pitch, including working with IT to understand current costs and with the finance team to identify potential expenses beyond the initial software investment. I conducted in-depth research on alternative solutions, and I toured other contact centers to understand how they were using the solutions I was considering.
 
It’s essential to gather quantifiable data related to customer experience improvements (reflected in customer satisfaction metrics) as well as operational gains related to metrics like average handle time (AHT) and first contact resolution (FCR).
 
3. Present Multiple Options
Once you’ve done your research and are ready to make your pitch, include multiple options and be ready to talk about each one in depth. For example, even if I’ve decided Software A is our dream software, I’ll also pitch Software B (and maybe even others). By providing multiple options, you’re likely to leave the meeting with approval for at least one of them. If you pitch only one, finance will often ask you to research alternatives anyway, which just delays the final decision.
 
Laying the groundwork to pitch a capital investment for your contact center can be time-consuming. But it’s well worth it if it gets you the improvements your contact center -- and organization -- needs.
 
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