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Contact centers must find their own path to enlightenment

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Contact center decision-makers must overcome traditional methods of adopting similar tools as their peers.

As the enterprise technological landscape continues to change, it is important that contact centers recognize their individuality. Because organizations are essentially overwhelmed with the number of paths they can take to achieve their own unique benefits, it is becoming critical that decision-makers assess their specific needs and the technologies they can use to achieve those objectives. Executives in the contact center in particular need to understand their one-of-a-kind personality if their companies are to differentiate themselves from rival firms.

In the past, businesses often thought that contact centers around the world had to deploy the same old phone system, regardless of size, industry or customer demands. In doing so, organizations could keep up with competitors without branching out to cater to the needs of their clients. Inevitably, this led to a decline in how consumers saw the contact center industry as a whole, permanently scarring a department that should be the key focal point in any customer services project.

A recent Call Centre Clinic report highlighted how there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to technologies in the contact center, regardless of how disruptive certain solutions are and all of the prospective benefits associated with those tools. The underlying truth is that every company and, as a result, contact center is different, as each needs to meet unique customer demands without putting too much strain on the corporate budget or impairing other mission-critical operations.

Ignoring the bells and whistles

While there are numerous sophisticated business phone systems that can help contact centers evolve, grow and mature, not every offering will deliver these results. In other words, not everything that glitters in the contact center industry is gold. In fact, if organizations implement tools that do not align with their specific demands and requirements, those solutions may actually turn into a burden, rather than blossom into a benefit.

Call Centre Clinic noted that a lot of enterprises fall into the request for proposal trap, which tempts executives to purchase anything that promises to be "next generation" and deliver substantial financial or operational boons. Because every company is different, however, not every emerging technology will be applicable to each firm, even those that are of a similar size or industry. Rather than pursuing the same solutions as rivals or even successful organizations, enterprise executives should take a step back, assess their current operations and pursue solutions that grant more scalability and flexibility.

Still, there are a number of communication platforms that deliver these benefits, so how do decision-makers know what tools to select? Managers need to take their time and consult with different service providers, evaluating which technologies can optimize performance, reduce costs and augment operations and which services will only impair these opportunities.

Looking beyond internal changes

In the contact center, engaging with prospective and existing customers is the top priority, Call Centre Clinic noted. This means leveraging platforms that these individuals want to use and ensuring the experience is thorough and informative without being too binding. To carry out these needs, organizations often need to support multiple collaborative tools, allowing consumers to pick and choose which services best align with client needs. In many cases, supporting a cloud infrastructure can give firms the flexibility they need to leverage several tools simultaneously.

By leveraging a hosted PBX system, contact centers can support remote connectivity to multiple types of applications, including video conferencing, voice services and even instant messaging. In fact, a report by Aberdeen Group revealed that cloud-based contact center outperform premise-based departments when it comes to revenue, profits and even customer retention rates.

In addition to having the ability to deploy unique collaborative services that are needed in the particular workplace but not necessarily based on industry standards, organizations with cloud-enabled contact centers often have greater visibility into how certain solutions are functioning, Aberdeen Group noted. This means that if a certain phone system is acting up or companies cannot temporarily support a remote workforce, IT directors can quickly make adjustments to operations to ensure those potential hiccups do not introduce long-term customer service issues.

Call Centre Clinic said the ultimate success of a contact center comes down to how well executives understand their customers and go out of their way to meet their needs without impairing internal performance. In many cases, organizations are making the transition to the cloud in an effort to keep pace with ongoing technological innovations in their own way. This is important for the industry as a whole, as customer service departments need to find unique methods to differentiate themselves from other organizations that are offering similar services without falling behind the inherent forward progression of the market.