SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


J.R. Simmons
J.R. Simmons has over 30 years' experience as a full-services independent consultant providing planning, design, analysis, implementation management, troubleshooting, and...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



J.R. Simmons | January 12, 2017 |

 
   

Don't Buy the Sizzle Without Being in the Know

Don't Buy the Sizzle Without Being in the Know Customers need help to understand contact center digital transformation.

Customers need help to understand contact center digital transformation.

portable

There is an old saying in sales: "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." But what happens if the buyer does not understand how to make the sizzle? After all, even a few drops of grease can create a sizzle.

In the contact center sales game, it appears that some are buying the trendy sizzle of the day. It used to be multi-channel, then omnichannel, and now, as analyst Sheila McGee-Smith points out in her recent slideshow on the top contact center stories of the year, the sizzle phrase is "Digital Transformation." But selling the digital transformation sizzle can be tricky since many buyers don't understand what digital transformation is or how to accomplish it.

Some contact center projects include expensive features that go unimplemented or aren't used to the full potential, most often because decision makers don't want to be left behind or fail to purchase a feature that they will eventually want and need. Examples of this can include having multi-channel licensing for voice-only call centers, collecting a large mass of data points that are not fully analyzed or leveraged, paying for multi-language support for English-only designs, unused speech analytics, and more.

We see many clients, for example, that continue using non-integrated point solutions for managing customer contacts via email and Web chat. But getting to a full omnichannel experience -- oops, digital transformation -- takes more than simply adding it to the bill of materials and checking the "on" box during setup. There are some good success stories of organizations that did transform the customer experience (another sizzle phrase!), but it required commitment, planning, implementing new workflows, testing, refining, training, and communications -- not just sizzle marketing.

It is also a mistake to buy the sizzle without knowing the what and why – only then does the "how" become important. In the mid-1980s one of my first consulting clients asked me to help them purchase a voice/data PBX. Asked why, they responded that it was the recommendation from every telephone sales person they met. But the client did not actually know why, and we recommended that they not bother purchasing something they did not need. They saved money by leaving the data transport hardware and software off the order.

In a recent post, I mentioned that our clients are now asking how they can leverage contact center technology. Although that post was more around how the contact center sales promise is hobbled by the pricing and licensing philosophy of most suppliers, it is clear that clients are asking the right initial question. What is often lacking is the follow-up to "make it so." Even when convinced of the benefits of the new contact center vision, adequate experienced guidance is needed to overcome the inertia of the status quo.

With every client engagement having unique challenges, the vendor's implementation team must be able to educate the client and execute on the promises. Client education is also the driver behind my Enterprise Connect 2017 contact center session "Turning Features and Functions into Customer Experience Best Practices."

The digital transformation potential is not the false sizzle of the voice/data PBX sale. However, when customers ask the right questions, the vendors need to be prepared to help them with the details. Collectively, we must extend past the sales phase of painting glorious pictures of the future state and get down to the nuts and bolts of the digital transformation. Otherwise, we may resurrect another phrase from the past: "where's the beef?"

"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.

Learn more about contact center/customer experience trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2017, March 27 to 30, in Orlando, Fla. View the Contact Center track, and register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus pass.





COMMENTS




April 25, 2018

Yesterdays simple phone call to a contact center or business location is rapidly becoming todays interactive session, spanning multiple channels and devices. If you need to know how Omnichannel can

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.