In today’s hyper-competitive, customer-driven business climate, organizations are focusing on the delivery of an exceptional customer experience. That’s driving technology investments to help optimize every customer interaction in order to increase sales, build loyalty and boost the bottom line.
The contact center is getting a fresh look in light of this trend. Historically, the contact center was considered a cost center, with organizations automating as many processes as possible to minimize those costs. Now, many businesses are viewing the contact center as a profit center, and an integral part of the customer experience. They are investing in contact center technologies that help them anticipate customer issues, solve problems more quickly, and gather invaluable information for sales and customer relationship management (CRM).
Today’s contact center platforms combine voice, email, text, chat and social channels within a single interface so that agents can communicate with customers using their preferred media. Agents can view a customer’s entire contact history and quickly capture call notes and/or a recording of the interaction. Real-time and historical reports help managers identify issues and improve performance. This data allows organizations to evaluate every aspect of the interaction in order to optimize the customer experience.
From an operational perspective, contact center technology can increase efficiency, and streamline processes. For example, automatic call distribution systems, which route calls to specific groups of agents according to call volumes and other predefined rules, can be enhanced with skills-based routing, which assigns inquiries to the most suitable agent. This enables organizations to focus agent training and develop cross-functional teams that are better able to handle fluctuations in call volume.
Many organizations will need to update their communications infrastructure as well as agent and management interfaces and analytics software. However, few CFOs will approve expenditures based solely upon “soft” benefits alone. In order to justify these investments, contact center managers will need to build a business case that addresses the hot-button issues of financial decision-makers:
- Will the solution reduce staffing or other overhead costs?
- How will it increase sales or improve customer retention?
- Will the deployment be disruptive to the business?
In addition to traditional onsite solutions, you may want to explore cloud and hybrid models, which can provide faster implementation and more predictable operational costs. Cloud-based and hybrid contact centers also provide fluid scalability, and the flexibility to leverage remote or work-at-home agents.
It’s also important to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO) of contact center technology. TCO includes not only the upfront capital costs for hardware and software licenses but implementation costs and ongoing maintenance and administration. In many cases, the long-term management of the solution has the biggest impact on TCO, whether those tasks are performed by in-house personnel or a third-party vendor.
ShoreTel’s Enterprise Contact Center (ECC) solution is a multichannel communications platform with robust reporting features and application integration capabilities. Built on ShoreTel’s IP telephony system, with the lowest TCO in the industry, ECC offers ROI metrics that grab the attention of CEOs and CFOs. In future posts we’ll look under the hood and dig deeper into this advanced contact center technology.
If you’re ready to turn your contact center into a profit center, contact Eastern DataComm. Our experts can help you evaluate all the options and design a cost-effective solution that is aligned with your business operations and objectives.