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The Future of Agent Workspaces: Choosing the Best Software

According to Forbes, the contact center market has a total addressable market of $24 billion per annum and growing. It’s no wonder then that everyone wants a piece of this market, the majority of which has yet to migrate to the cloud.
For contact center executives, the market landscape has become littered with multiple vendors touting customer relationship management systems (CRMs), marketing automation, and ticketing software platforms that all pitch computer telephony integrations (CTI). As most companies have one or more of these recording systems in place, it becomes increasingly complex to decipher which system should house the telephony, messaging, or chat integration.
CRMs had never intended to be agent workspaces. They were designed to house data with a single customer record for the organization. Over the years, substantial players like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Oracle have morphed into customer ticketing systems and are now trying their hand in the contact center industry. Customer ticketing systems such as Zendesk and ServiceNow have also started to morph into mini-CRMs, and marketing automation platforms like Hubspot have morphed into CRM and ticketing solutions.
So, with a proliferation of platforms that house customer data, which (if any) of these systems should a contact center executive choose to be the single pane of glass for the agent workspace?
Future Proofing
CRM, ticketing, and marketing automation systems weren’t typically purpose-built for the contact center. As a result, when trying to integrate a CTI widget into their software, it’s often clunky, difficult to install, and hard to maintain. The outcome is the need for expensive system integration projects and ongoing maintenance to add new features and functionality.
The main selling point of migrating your contact center to the cloud is the increased agility for your organization. I recently had a customer tell me that it cost them over $30,000 for a change request and a six-week project just to update their hold music on their legacy on-premises solution. If you're going to make the switch to a cloud contact center as a service (CCaaS) solution, you must ensure that you can plug in (and unplug) software solutions and new services as needed. Locking your contact center into the framework of a CRM limits the ability to take advantage of innovations as they come to market. It also adds a degree of lock-in, tying your CCaaS strategy to your CRM vendor.
Implement a Single Pane of Glass Into all Systems
The single pane of glass concept isn’t new. It’s the idea of having a single master screen that the agent can access, containing all of the information and tools they need to serve a client. These tools include multiple customer communication channels, which have different requirements.
While your CRM contains much of the customer’s story, I have yet to find an organization that doesn’t manage customer interactions in multiple systems such as shipping, e-commerce, operational tools or even retail point of sale. The ability to bubble up this data for agents in real-time, provide customer context, or automate service, adds significant value to the contact center.
Optimizing the Agent Experience
In the contact center, time is money. At Local Measure, we discovered time-saving features such as canned responses potentially save an agent three to five seconds per chat interaction, which can add up to hundreds of hours of saved time per month for a medium-sized contact center. Optimizing an agent's workspace around an incoming call, chat, or ways to improve that interaction is critical to the success of contact center operations.
Before selecting your agent workspace, we find it best to work backward from the customer and agent journey and map out the work required to solve the inquiry on the first touch.
Quick Time to Value
Integrating CCaaS into other platforms is complex. I’ve seen many glossy brochures discussing the simplicity of a CTI widget but have yet to see one that is easy to deploy, maintain, and update. As a result, the setup and implementation phases for these projects can be lengthy and costly. By comparison, modern CCaaS solutions should be able to get you up and running quickly. For example, I’ve seen clients migrate their entire contact center to the cloud in under two weeks, from the time they made the decision to the time they took and executed their first calls.
Most of the major CCaaS vendors have basic CTI integrations for the popular third-party software stacks. However, if you stop and look at where vendors spend most of their effort, they continue to double down on their own agent desktop experience. As I wrote previously on No Jitter, the agent experience is becoming the battleground for customer experience. In this context, no other decision is more vital when upgrading your contact center than asking yourself what your strategy is for the agent desktop.
Learn more about Local Measure’s Agent Workspace Engage here.