The Dos and Don't s for Contact Center Transformation
Improving the customer experience to strengthen loyalty is a top goal for most companies. Typically contact centres are a once-in-a-decade investment, so the stakes are high. Choosing the right platform and the right partner will:
- Increase brand loyalty
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Lower cost per call
- Increase first contact resolution
- Increase revenues and profitability
Make the wrong choice, and you risk losing customers, brand equity and with it lost revenue and profits. This article offers some advice on what to do (and not do) when transforming your contact centre.
The Multichannel Customer Is Calling… Chatting, Conferencing, and Blogging
How your customer wants to contact you is in the midst of a major transition. For 45 percent of customers, online methods such as web, email, and user forums are now their first choice for customer service. Many companies are not ready to meet this trend. Forrester Consulting reports that the next-generation contact centre will have several important characteristics. It will be:
- Multichannel, to create more interactive and collaborative customer relationships.
- Multi-platform, to keep contact centre agents and supervisors up-to-date with relevant information regarding customer interactions. This will be accomplished by uniting the communications and collaboration platforms that have evolved over time, including VoIP, presence, chat, conferencing, video, mobility, and social media.
- Multimedia, to engage with customers in ways they prefer, such as video, chat, mobile content, and social media.
- Social media fluent, to monitor online conversations and interactions and provide the kind of real-time proactive response that will promote greater customer loyalty and brand preference.
“Organizations that wait too long to adapt run the risk of losing customers to more agile competitors waiting for the right moment to pounce,” according to ZK Research. Organizations that do it right can expect happier customers, faster problem resolution, and consistency in measurement—all at a lower cost.”
Picking the Right Platform and Partner Can Be a Decade-Long Commitment
How can you collaboration-enable your customer centre quickly, confidently, and cost-effectively? A recent ZK Research survey shows that many companies lack the skills to roll out unified communications and collaboration platforms
Customers operating legacy contact centres today have veteran staffs with a great deal of experience on older technologies. They typically do not have the experience with new contact centre technology found with the Cisco solution. This experience and skill deficit means that picking the right partner is as important as picking the right platform, because you might need to rely on your partner to fill in your skills gap. You might also need to rely on your partner to guide you through the cultural, behavioural, and process changes required to make sure of successful adoption throughout the organization. Some of the most common challenges include:Resistance to, or fear of, change
- Inadequate sponsorship
- Unrealistic expectations
- Poor project management
- Unpersuasive case for change
- Lack of necessary skills on project team
- IT perspective not integrated
Studies show that companies are most successful implementing collaboration technologies when they incorporate a change management plan to help people adopt and incorporate the new technologies into their daily activities. Change management can help you overcome the challenges of business transformation.
Here are some expert recommendations of what to do and not do when transforming your contact centre.
Do Seek Help from Experts; Don’t Go It Alone
When you partner with Unifi Communications, you’ll have the confidence that you are partnering with a Cisco partner who has been designing, installing and supporting Cisco voice, data and video solutions for over 12-years. Backed by Cisco’s 25 years of networking expertise, more than 50,000 installations, and over 6 million annual customer interactions, Unifi and Cisco can help you accelerate time to value for your collaborative contact centre investment.
Unifi’s expertise, Cisco’s proven products, and comprehensive services can help you get more value at any stage in your evolution to a collaborative customer care environment. These strengths are why some of the most risk-averse companies in the world choose Cisco as their collaborative contact centre partner.
Our customers who decide not to “go it alone” believe Cisco and Unifi can help them move forward with the least risk possible. Our work with businesses in virtually every industry has resulted in a wealth of best practices and deep insights. The insights in this paper are designed to help any organization that is planning, building, or managing a collaborative contact centre.
Although every customer situation is unique, a contact centre will typically have one or more of the following challenges:
- Disparate systems built on legacy voice
- Standalone or integrated solutions from multiple vendors
- Multiple vendor release cycles
- Incompatibilities with release cycles
- Stringent reporting requirements
Many of our customers are either evaluating or deploying transformative technology initiatives as part of their contact centre refresh, including:
- Virtualization: Although virtualization is not new to the enterprise, it is new to voice. Many of our customers are doing contact centre refreshes to use virtualization. Cisco has considerable virtualization expertise, and we can help you address the challenges of virtualizing voice, which requires rethinking redundancy.
- Video: The use of video is rapidly growing, and it is being used by some of our customers to deliver innovative services. One of our customers uses video in self-service kiosks located in high-end motorcycle retail stores to enable on-the-spot sign-up for motorcycle insurance. Extensive experience in deploying video, combined with customer contact centre technical expertise, enabled a flawless roll-out of this new customer service.
- Multichannel capabilities: Because so many of our customers are deploying email integration or click to chat, we now have a custom development group that assists these customers with click-to-chat capabilities. We can help determine where best to use click to chat and how to avoid inundating your agents with too many click-to-chat requests.
Do Plan Ahead; Don’t Skip Essential Steps
Before embarking on a major contact centre transformation, you have to have a comprehensive plan. Although this seems fairly evident, our experts frequently observe significant omissions during the plan stage, which can derail your contact centre transformation. Frequently observed omissions include:
- No planning stage: Some organizations bypass the plan stage altogether, assuming that all contact centres are basically the same. However, our experience shows that every company has unique needs, and every contact centre requires a purpose-built architecture designed to address those needs.
- No company wide perspective: This typically happens when a company responds to the needs of one department, because that group has an urgent need. In responding to this highly focused need, the company fails to look at the big picture. This, of course, can have a devastating effect on the overall viability of the platform as a mission-critical enterprise tool.
- No consideration for future demands: Many companies deploy a platform that successfully addresses their current needs, but is not designed to address their needs five years from now. This lack of flexibility can dramatically shorten the life of the platform and its overall value.
- No preparation for change in technology or vendor: When there are new technologies and/or a new vendor in place, change management is essential. Proper planning and training must be provided to reduce risk.
- No “go live” strategy: There are a myriad of things that should be done leading up to launch to make sure of a successful rollout. Failure to do one or more can have a tragic and costly effect when you “go live.”
- No “day 2” plan: Many companies spend all their energies leading up to the launch, but fail to create a plan for what happens after the system goes live.
- No migration plan: Companies often fail to recognize the difficulty of taking down a current system in order to bring the new system online.
- No resource planning: Most of our customers worry about training their operations staff. To complete a successful contact centre transformation, the challenge is not solely about training; it is also about resource planning and experience.
To make sure of a smooth migration, appropriate resources must be allocated to accommodate this short-term increased workload. This might require “bulking up” or bringing in temporary expert resources who can work side by side with your people to help them gain the necessary experience to operate the platform when the migration is complete.
Do Build a Solid Foundation; Don’t Underestimate Integration
Our experience reinforces the need for best practices and proven methodologies to make sure of success in the build phase. These include:
- Solid foundation: When we plan, design, build, and test the system, we know it is rock solid and will support your day-to-day business and future requirements.
- Base implementation: If the initial implementation doesn’t go well, it is likely that other things will also break eventually. In a recent self-installation, one server wasn’t installed correctly, and it had a rippling effect across the entire system.
- Integration: Many large organizations have custom desktop platforms and unique web interfaces and diallers. Some have equipment from five or more different vendors. We help them transparently integrate these systems.
- Security and compliance: We work with your personnel to meet your unique security requirements while making sure of the integrity of the platform. This can require nuanced negotiations with your security personnel. Our experts are up to the task and bring best practices from every industry to the entire process.
Do Optimize; Don’t Neglect Operations Management and Product Support
After you have deployed your contact centre solution, it is time to focus on operations management, optimization, solution support, and product support. Attention to each of these important areas will deliver impressive results and returns.
“The build phase is something our customers do once every four to six years. It’s something we do every day.”
Justin Hoffman, Cisco Customer Collaboration Services Manager
- Project cost savings: Because of faster deployment of new network services and ease of roll-out of complex solutions and new functionality.
- Productivity savings from improved stability: Coming from better user productivity and customer experience.
- Cost avoidance savings from software and design recommendations as a result of audits: Some customers wait for something to go wrong. Cisco recommends periodic audits to look for potential problems. This is especially important when you have limited personnel. Because you don’t know what you don’t know. Proactive audits can lead to IT resource productivity savings.
- Cost avoidance savings from IT resource headcount: Using resource augmentation and access to deep knowledge of Cisco escalation process, technologies and new products can help you avoid costs.
- Savings from improved staff training and knowledge transfer: Some of the insurance companies with which we work initially indicated they would do their own audits. We at Cisco feel this is like a patient telling a surgeon, “I’ll do my own operation.”
- IT productivity savings: Enabled by ease of administration.
- Labour savings from improved availability: Made possible by improved collaboration architecture service availability.
Do Look for Proof of Value; Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Comprehensive Services
Our industry-leading platform and services are proven to provide reliable results and rapid ROI for thousands of organizations. By engaging with Unifi Communications, you can:
- Accelerate time to deployment
- Reduce OpEx costs
- Improve return on investment
- Increase customer satisfaction
For More Information
To learn how you can engage with Unifi Communications to help achieve your vision for a more collaborative contact centre environment, contact your Unifi sales representative on 0208 943 9333 today or visit Our Contact Centre Pages