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Keeping contact center priorities intact

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Contact centers must evolve to keep up, but managers are encountering problems along the way.

The contact center plays a vital role in a company's ability to keep existing and prospective customers engaged with the organization and satisfied with the level of service they are receiving. In many cases, the rapidly evolving IT landscape is giving contact centers the ability to leverage advanced collaborative tools such as social media, instant messaging, video conferencing and, of course, voice. By using these solutions, customer service representatives can meet the consumer on his or her desired platform, improving reliability and experience.

At the same time, however, the transforming IT environment is also introducing some complexity. This is largely because many firms are simply unaware of the changes that need to take place within their business phone systems for that company to thrive and stay on top of the constantly changing demands of consumers.

A recent report by unified customer interaction solutions provider Altitude Software highlighted how the biggest challenge for today's contact center is having a well-rounded and efficient technological platform. This means that many companies are struggling to manage basic and complex changes in their infrastructure, such as the adoption of enterprise VoIP systems and the elimination of bulky, on-site land line telephony services. If contact center managers do not work to eliminate these challenges, they will continue experiencing problems in the coming years, especially as mobile and cloud computing technologies keep picking up momentum.

Improving performance in the contact center

Efficiency is critical to the success of an organization, especially in today's fast-paced business world. This means that companies need do their utmost to meet the customer demands if they want to thrive and succeed in the long run. Unfortunately, Altitude Software found that optimizing processes and improving productivity was cited as the second largest challenge hampering the contact center industry today.

The study also found that resolving human resource issues and replacing old phone systems are among the biggest obstacles that need to be overcome by today's customer service departments. After all, if enterprises are still relying on outdated telecommunications services, they will not be able to interact with clients on their desired platforms, which will negatively contribute to a business' bottom line and reputation.

Individuals today use a wide range of collaborative tools. This is largely due to the proliferation of cloud and mobile technologies outside of the business world. In the past, consumers who wanted to speak with corporate representatives were forced to use the land line telephone, as it was the only technology able to support communication between the two parties. Today is much different, as people can use their smartphones and tablets for a variety of purposes, including instant messaging, video conferencing and voice.

For this reason, decision-makers should consider augmenting their telecommunications strategy by implementing a single platform that supports all of these connections. Yet only 47 percent of organizations have made this a reality, according to Altitude Software. This suggests that many firms are struggling to keep up with evolving consumer collaboration demands because decision-makers have to support multiple disparate solutions.

Innovation through consolidation

By implementing a unified communications platform, which enables individuals to take advantage of a broad range of advanced phone system features, companies of all sizes can improve the efficiency of their contact center. This means that enterprises can continue meeting customer demands without encountering unnecessary management complications or other problems.

A recent study of more than 1,000 employees by Powwownow found that roughly 57 percent of respondents believe unified communications supports the ability to improve productivity and reduce costs in the long run. This is largely because the platforms converge a number of different solutions into a single platform and supports mobile connectivity, which is critical as bring your own device and other mobile strategies continue picking up speed.

"Times are changing and today's workforce has to adapt in order to stay ahead. We have an abundance of technology at our fingertips, and UC will only make it easier now for businesses to streamline communications and in turn be in a better position to service customers," said Simon Curry, CEO of Powwownow. "UC is on its way to becoming an integral cog in the way businesses communicate; it's up to us not to resist."

In the coming years, contact centers will need to keep evolving to keep pace with the rest of the corporate world without impairing operations, jeopardizing financial stability or negatively impacting a company's ability to prioritize customer experience. By planning ahead and working with trusted service providers, contact center managers can find the appropriate business phone systems that enable their organization to meet these demands and keep up with technological innovations. Because customer service is critical to the underlying survival of an enterprise, improving the contact center is imperative, not necessarily an option.