What does buying a house and software acquisition for the contact center have in common? A great deal. Let me explain:
Imagine—you’re about to purchase a house. You schedule the walkthrough and it’s got the ‘must have’ feel about it. Great lighting, en-suite bathrooms, already furnished, an Aga range cooker in the kitchen, high ceilings, and double glazing that manages both sound and temperature. You are eager to buy. However, your partner insists that you get a proper inspection done. Of what? Well, it’s on a hill, with great views, meaning you better check out the foundations. It’s got loads of fancy electrics, there’s plumbing to think about; you’re not sure about the rated gas consumption, and so on.
Inspecting these things takes time, it’s costly, and, heck, do you really need to do all the work?
Now, let’s think about contact center software. The interface is beautiful. It has all the omnichannel
facilities you could ever want, a predictive dialer
, skills-based routing
, and all the tools you need to provide a very effective customer experience (CX) solution.
You don’t have time to look under the cover, so you go on a few reference visits. Well, no reference visit known to mankind ever produces bad feedback.
Bottom line is, whether house or software, how far do you dig into things to ensure you’re not buying a veritable pig in a poke?
Assessing the Foundations
Whatever you’re buying, one thing you have to get right is understanding whether the architecture is truly fit for purpose. In the case of the house, it’s perched on a hill. How deep are the foundations? Will they manage if there is heavy rain or an earthquake, or will the house collapse around them?
The same thinking applies to software. For example, you have omnichannel. Everyone has it. But can an agent handle multiple digital channels
simultaneously, moving between them with a single mouse click? In the case of chat, how can you be sure to generate the right content? And what options are there when a consumer is bored and wants to have a voice session with a live agent? The analytics
look great, but the ones you want will be different. How easy are they to create? Can you show me?
And the software you are looking at; is it a true contact center as a service (CCaaS)
solution? It says it is on the tin. What does this mean? It usually means simplicity of design and easy deployment. But this comes at a cost; can the solution do the things really
important for a contact center Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), namely:
- ensuring the highest customer satisfaction and first-contact resolution rates, by routing customers to agents with the skills most likely to produce a positive outcome?
- and… keeping all of your agents busy as much of the time as possible, by balancing agent workloads across all queues and channels?
- and… keeping inbound service level agreements on track and maintaining the best outbound performance, by blending agents seamlessly and automatically between inbound and outbound workloads (while freeing supervisors from fiddling with agent allocation to concentrate on sharpening agent performance instead)?
The Importance of CCaaS Platform Architecture
To handle this complexity well in a CCaaS platform
is no mean feat and usually requires the software architects to rethink their initial architecture from the bottom up. This starts with deep consideration of how to manage the need for stateful behaviors in the ACD engine (to properly track and manage all resources) yet still deliver the horizontal scale and reliability that comes with stateless architecture. (More on this next time.)
So, back to my main point: what has this got to do with buying a house? Everything. It’s about doing your homework to get your dream home (or cloud system) from the foundations to the roof, that can perform well no matter what stresses and strains it encounters.