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Contact Centers Must Be Focused On Data

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Contact centers have long been a source of information. When customers have a question about a product or service, one of the first places that they generally turn to is the help desk of the company in question. Traditionally, this was primarily done over the telephone. The consumerization of IT, however, has made it so that tools like instant messaging, email and even video are just as important assets to have. Today's contact center has to be multichannel in order to truly reach its potential.

Along with the incredible progress made in telecom technology over the last decade or so, the contact center's relationship with data has become something much different. Not only have representatives been able to access more information whenever they need it, but they now have what they need in order to obtain further data from the queries placed to them.

"As the world becomes more and more connected, and we create ever more channels of communication, it's crucial for contact centers to not only incorporate these new channels, but also continue to pull information from them in order to improve services and evaluate business," wrote Contact Center Analytics Review Web editor Alisen Downey.

Present day contact centers must be equipped not only with all relevant channels of connection, but also the call center software that can collect, retain and process information. With so many means of communication and countless scores of data circulating through cyberspace, it will be important to establish the right lines and enable the necessary functionality.

Customer Service Changing As A Field

These developments may sound far off, but by many accounts, they are already here to stay. According to a study conducted by Forrester, 30 percent of companies reported that their contact center agents are trained to support multiple channels. Additionally, 52 percent of companies stated that a majority of their representatives are multi-channel employees, but a select few hold down specialist positions in areas like social media.

The remaining 17 percent of organizations surveyed either had workers handling only single forms of communication or were unable to make a distinction. This means that there are plenty of businesses out there that are not operating at their full potential, and there will be a lot of catching up to do further down the road.

But in spite of a select majority of contact centers falling behind, No Jitter contributor Eric Krapf believes that the field as a whole is making broader strides than any other division of enterprise communications.

"Contact center decision-makers are successfully leveraging the cloud to deliver new capabilities, something their counterparts in broader communications implementations are still struggling with or are outright rejecting," he wrote. "Contact centers are also likely to be the place where analytics and big data first are integrated with communications, since the payoff is pretty clear for this integration."

Internet Of Things Will Be Big For Contact Centers

Customer service representatives cannot find themselves without the right information - be it regarding the problem at hand or the caller themselves. As the Internet of Things begins to take shape, this will mean getting call center software up to speed to handle increasing analytics. Because so many more devices will be supplying a consistently-elevating amount of data, there will be an elevated importance placed on having these advantages operating effectively. Failure to do so could mean lost revenue - or even a permanent shuttering of doors.

"With so many devices now communicating with one another, there is an increasing flow of data exchange taking place, and analytics software needs to be kept at pace with rising machine to machine (M2M) trends, in order for all this information to remain useful and, perhaps more importantly, profitable," wrote Downey.

Time To Change Is Now

Technology moves at an incredibly rapid pace. Despite their relative infancy, new contact center assets have already proven themselves important to the success of modern organizations. As has been stated, bringing about new customer service resources and hardware can foster innovation as well as provide benefits financially. The advantages that these tools create will be tantamount to instilling growth of the business as a whole.

With that in mind, it is going to take initiative in order to make these changes happen. Acting sooner rather than later will be imperative over the next few years due to the serious risk involved with remaining complacent. The longer of a wait that occurs, the more difficult the transition is going to be. Downtime is not a viable option for today's organizations.

"It'd behoove everyone in enterprise communications to pay close attention to what's going on in contact centers over the next 12-24 months," wrote Krapf. "Technologies and business cases that often lag (or never emerge) in the wider enterprise very often make sense for the contact center."