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Recipe for Modernizing Your Contact Center

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What comes to mind when you hear the term contact center modernization? I’m guessing it would include: cloud migration, digital transformation, broader integrations, and AI.
 
These are all clear drivers of modernization. But there’s more to it.
 
Modern software development practices have new value to offer contact centers that, until now, have been largely inaccessible due to limitations of legacy technology. Specifically, these practices include rapid innovation, continuous delivery, and agility. In a world defined by constant change, these practices are more relevant now than ever. But legacy contact center solutions were never built to withstand this transformation. These voice-centric solutions were born in a different era and designed for five to seven-year refresh cycles. By applying modern software development practices to your contact center, refresh cycles can instead compress to five to seven days.
 
Implementing a modernization strategy requires one part technology, one part culture shift. Here’s why.
 
Let’s start with the technology bit.
 
Modern platforms enable rapid innovation with DevOps workflows: centralized plugin management, automatic conflict detection, debugger tools, and more. As a result, the contact center can quickly experiment with new channels to see what resonates with customers or acclimate the integrations in the agent user interface to accommodate changing business conditions. Just as corporate strategy never gets set in stone, neither should be your software applications. Adapt or fade away.
 
When we examine Twilio Flex win reports, the ability to iterate more easily, quickly make changes, and integrate new applications and channels’ are remarkably consistent themes.
 
Consider Vacasa, a vacation property management company, as an example. Flexibility was critical because it wanted to give three different Flex user interfaces to three different teams and quickly iterate as needed. Vacasa uses one user interface (UI) for its guest experience agents, a completely different UI for its homeowner experience agents, and a third for the sales team encouraging new homeowners to get on its platform.
 
Now let’s consider the cultural mindset that goes along with deploying modern technology platforms.
 
Contact centers should embrace an appetite for experimentation. Jeff Lawson, Twilio co-founder, and CEO, often says that experimentation is the prerequisite to innovation. This mindset is almost always present with our most successful customers.
 
Take Lemonade, a company offering home insurance policies, for example. Billing themselves as ‘Insurance for the 21st century,’ Lemonade is out to disrupt the insurance industry with a digital-first approach differentiated by exceptional customer support. Prior to deploying Twilio Flex, Lemonade relied on their chatbot, Maya, to handle most customer inquiries. It decided to experiment by adding SMS as an additional support channel. All SMS and webchat interactions that need agent assistance are presented to agents in the Flex UI with the Zendesk integration.
 
In addition to experimentation, contact centers should also engage agents to solicit input on solution design. There’s nothing like asking those on the front lines with customers what they need to succeed.
 
Two Twilio Flex customers immediately come to mind that do just this: Travel Perk (travel management company) and ezCater (online marketplace connecting businesses with restaurants and caterers). Travel Perk authored their own story about implementing Flex and highlighted how shadowing agents and running focus groups helped influence solution design. Agents themselves even voted on the name: Lighthouse. Read Lighthouse’s story here.
 
ezCater similarly ran focus groups with agents (called ninjas) to inform solution design. The company developed a one-of-a-kind plugin to assist agents in completing their after-call tasks quickly, with automatic pop-up messaging in the agents' existing UI to improve customer satisfaction. The result? 16% reduction in average handle times given increased productivity.
 
With the right technology tools and a new cultural mindset of experimentation and employee engagement, you can bake up a winning customer engagement program that will make you competitive for years to come.
 
Watch our latest demo to see how Twilio Flex offers the software capabilities essential to your modernization strategy—enabling you to meet your customers on their preferred communications channel, while integrating data from multiple sources to support the customer's request with ease.

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