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Digging In to the Contact Center Obsession: Page 3 of 3
Looking for Solutions
So what should you be looking for in a modern contact center? The first thing to remember is that your business is unique -- what is right for one client may not right for you.
There are literally hundreds of internal and external applications, features, and functions available to enterprises today. Some of the major features to consider are:
- Call routing (skills based, time of day, product, geographical)
- Multi-channel ACD
- IVR (chatbots)
- Self-service portal
- Call recording
- Screen pops
- CRM integration
- SaaS vs: on-premises
- Network provisioning/connectivity
- Analytics and reporting capabilities
- Workforce management
Understand what the goals are that you are trying to accomplish. Just because a vendor offers a feature, it doesn't mean you need it, or even that you should have to pay for it.
Go slow, and set realistic and attainable KPIs -- you don't have to implement everything all at once. Look for the features that will help solve or lessen your most immediate problems, implement it, work with it, and understand the impact on your business.
- Make sure you understand all of the different configurations available
- Make sure you understand how seat/agent/feature licensing works. For example, if you are just getting your feet wet, Tilo Ricci of Jive Communications always likes to remind us that Jive includes a basic contact center license with its phone system. As your needs progress, you can upgrade to a customized full-featured platform from its partner, or any of several phone system independent contact center software packages from vendors like Genesys.
- If you prefer a single vendor approach, consider Avaya, Mitel, and Cisco.
- If you do not have the in-house expertise and resources consider using an outside expert such as a consultant.
What Comes Next
As we look ahead into the future, several trends are taking shape:
- As we have already seen, the customer will own the customer experience. They will decide how they want to contact you, and if that customer experience was satisfactory.
- Cloud will certainly be the contact center deployment model of choice. Many companies are moving away from premises-based contact centers completely. The old model of spending millions of dollars on infrastructure deployments are pretty much gone. Cloud deployment is quick, scalable, relatively secure, and can be implemented almost anywhere.
- Along with cloud, Opex will outpace Capex. You already use the Opex model for your IT needs; it will be the same for contact centers.
- As we continue to increase the use of mobile, and portable devices, the need to be able to respond to these mobility needs will increase as well.
- As the tendency to move away from voice and email interactions continues, chat will in all likelihood become the preferred method of interactions.
- Gartner predicts that social media will become a more strategic channel and actually become the contact method of choice.
- Gartner also estimates that by 2020 there will be approximately 26 billion devices connected to the internet. This could change the very nature of the contact center as we know it. These devices will call in on their own to report trouble, exchange information electronically, either fix themselves or schedule a repair, and order refills or replacements with out any human interaction required.
Other things to remember when considering a contact center implementation:
- Do I need to be HIPAA compliant?
- Do I need to be PCI compliant?
- Do I need to be compliant with non-U.S. regulations such as EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?
- Do I have a migration plan?
- Do I have an agent training program?
- Does my budget include professional services, integration, and any customization I may need?
Whatever direction you ultimately decide to go -- cloud, premises, premises/cloud hybrid, single vendor, stand-alone contact center software, in-house, consultant, out-sourced, etc. -- one thing should be clear: Contact centers are in your future and will be for a long time to come. Make sure you choose a platform that is scalable, flexible, and can be adapted to the next generation of technology.
"SCTC Perspectives" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.