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How Knowledge Workers Become More Effective When UC and CC Work Together

There are some things that are just better together –milk and cookies, tacos and Tuesdays, and of course, John, Paul, George, and Ringo. The same is true for unified communications (UC) and the contact center (CC). While UC and CC tools and technologies are great on their own, they provide even more capabilities and benefits to organizations when used together.

With the increased focus on customer experience (CX) and improving customer service, organizations of all sizes are looking for ways to help frontline workers like contact center agents and customer service representatives be more productive and effective. Customers have high expectations for good service, as 88% of buyers say experience matters as much as a company's products or services. Zendesk found that 81% of customers say a positive customer service experience increases the chances of them making another purchase.

Regardless of size, all organizations need to ensure that customers are getting the right level of service from helpful, knowledgeable representatives. According to NTT’s 2023 Global Customer Experience Report, positive customer experiences lead to improved customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to increased business growth, improved productivity, and a higher level of brand advocacy among customers, with 92% of CEOs agreeing that improvements in CX directly impact their net profit.

Consumers have less patience today than they did before the pandemic. In fact, the top factors leading to a bad customer experience include when a representative cannot answer the question quickly and getting passed around from one agent or representative to another.


Breaking Down the Barriers

One way to improve the customer experience is by breaking down the barriers between workers in different departments. Companies understand that caring for customers involves not only front-line workers interacting with customers, but also knowledge workers, subject matter experts (SMEs), and specialists throughout the organization who can assist them. Integrating UC and CC helps ensure that the right tools are available to various workers and groups in the organization to provide improved customer and employee experiences. Contact center workers and frontline representatives can reach out to knowledge workers and subject matter experts outside of the contact center to get the information they need to solve customers’ issues and improve the customer experience quickly and efficiently.

Based on my estimate, by the end of 2024, 25-30% of all phone inquiries handled by contact center agents will require some sort of help from knowledge workers and SMEs. As AI, bots, and self-service are used for basic and repetitive inquiries, contact center agents will be handling more complex interactions. Many of these interactions will require assistance from a subject matter expert somewhere in the organization. AI, bots, and IVR can handle inquiries such as “When will my shipment arrive?” but questions like “My shipment arrived damaged and I’m not sure what my insurance covers” may need assistance from outside of the representative’s expertise.

With integrated UC and CC, agents can communicate and collaborate with knowledge workers in different parts of the organization including sales, marketing, or even engineering to better help customers in real time.

By streamlining the interaction between frontline agents and SMEs, businesses can tap into experience and expertise across the organization to better serve customers in real time, resulting in increased first contact resolution (FCR), improved customer loyalty, and increased revenues.

A single platform that allows agents to collaborate with SMEs solves accessibility within an organization, but whether those SMEs are available is a completely different issue. Presence sync provides some visibility, but there’s nothing compelling an employee to respond to requests from their coworkers. To this end, another way businesses could improve customer experiences is by extending contact center capabilities to internal departments. In doing so, department heads can ensure they’re meeting the needs of their peers – especially those charged with customer support. For example, the second largest healthcare municipality in the U.S. uses Intermedia Contact Center in other departments like Legal to ensure requests made by other departments via email and calls adhere to their organization’s SLAs.

Whether using an integrated UC and CC experience or extending CC capabilities to other departments, it improves the agent or frontline worker experience as well. Agents can more effectively solve customer issues with less work and in a shorter amount of time, without the frustration of having to research information and call the customer back later. In addition, unified reporting provides more comprehensive and holistic views of the organization, enabling contact center insights to be shared throughout the organization, assisting with marketing strategies, sales campaigns, product development, and more.


Various Approaches

The most common ways to integrate UC and CC are through a single vendor with a single platform, or with a best-of-breed integrated solution.

A single vendor solution provides simplicity, with only one contract to manage, one platform to maintain, and one vendor to handle support issues. With a single platform approach, agents, external-facing workers, knowledge workers, and SMEs use the same applications to connect with each other and external customers. This reduces the need for “app switching,” as agents use the communication tools in their agent desktop to reach out to experience workers. A single vendor also approach makes it easier for agents to access the communication capabilities with less effort.

Integrated solutions allow for a best-of-breed approach, while enabling businesses to leverage the solutions they have in place without having to move to a single vendor.

A single vendor/platform is generally the best approach for small- and medium-sized businesses, while an integrated approach may be a good option for large enterprises that require heavily customized contact center solutions with requirements for specific features and functionality, or for those with significant investments in existing contact center solutions.


Making the Integration--And Realizing Its Benefits

At Enterprise Connect I’ll be moderating the session “UC Plus CC: Making the Integration--And Realizing Its Benefits.” We’ll discuss issues such as:

  • What benefits are early adopters seeing when they integrate UC and CC?
  • What is the right technology approach to integrating UC and CC?
  • Is there an ROI case for integrating UC and CC?
  • What organizational and business process changes must accompany a UC + CC integration in order for it to succeed?

I hope you can join me on Wednesday, March 27 at 3:00 pm to learn more about why you should consider integrated UCaaS and CCaaS solutions to enhance employee and customer experiences.

Enterprise Connect 2024 will be held at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, FL, from March 25-28. Preview the conference schedule or register to attend. To keep on top of all Enterprise Connect developments, subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

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This post is written on behalf of BCStrategies, an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing business communications arena. A supplier of objective information on business communications, BCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of the dynamic business communications market.