October. 11, 2018 posted by Foehn

A contact centre is a collaborative system, involving the interaction of business operations, applications, media and managers across a range of different roles. All too often, though, a contact centre is perceived as just technology. Accordingly, the choice of a new system lands at the feet of the IT manager whose decision needs buy-in from the rest of the business. Delays, conflict and implementation problems can result.

More effective is an approach where, from the outset, stakeholders in the contact centre, from all parts of the business, participate in building a strong business case that satisfies all requirements. By prioritising business alignment over purely technical capability, implementation of the contact centre proceeds more smoothly and employee engagement with the system is more enthusiastic.

Who are the stakeholders and what are their requirements?

For the sales team, the contact centre underpins sales pipeline and provides invaluable reporting and feedback on customer demand. Your Head of Sales will want to know how the CC will impact revenue growth and customer churn. In turn, these targets will provide feed-back on the number of agents required, the scalability of the system over time and the return on investment required to justify the system acquisition.

All of this translates into cost, so your Accountant will want to understand these overheads as well as the software licence and pricing model used. Typically, cloud solutions reduce total cost of ownership and employ simple, per-user pricing. This should all bring a smile to your Accountant’s face so long as pricing is transparent with no surprises.

Governance issues are becoming increasingly important for contact centre operations, so keep your Compliance Manager in the loop. Regulatory requirements for PCI-DSS, GDPR and a list of other regulations will shape your needs for call recording, data storage and CRM operation.

These matters also fall within the remit of your Marketing Manager whose interests will include resources for inbound and outbound calling, multi-media (omnichannel) communication plus the ability to make rapid changes to configuration of call plans, routing and messaging-on-hold.

Taking a higher-level view of your system’s purpose, your CEO will have a vested interest in its ability to protect and enhance the brand that has been developed, grown and cherished over the years. A poor contact centre and a tweet from an angry client can destroy all that in seconds.

Contact centre features dealing with automation, such as workflow, artificial intelligence, skills-based routing, auto-attendant, IVR, self-service, chatbots etc, will impact headcount and the way your people work. Both your Operations Manager and your Head of Human Resources will want to understand how. Business processes, recruitment plans and job descriptions all go hand in hand with the contact centre specification.

Historical reporting and performance statistics are the lifeblood of the Contact Centre Manager’s role. Productivity is the key metric and the analytics provided by the contact centre, together with the CRM system, provide an invaluable barometer for workforce efficiency. The Manager must also consider the interests of the Agent. Audio IVR and web-based FAQs are examples of features that create time for the agent to fulfil more complex tasks.

Your contact centre touches virtually every part of your business, integrating with processes, people and applications. That’s where your IT Manager plays the leading role. CRM integration, APIs, micro services architecture, open source software, hosting, cloud connectivity, voice services, porting, SIP, WAN service levels…..the to-do list for the IT manager is long, wide-ranging and critical for successful deployment but not necessarily central to the contact centre design.

Technical support and a development roadmap are further IT-led responsibilities in the longer term but, from the outset, the business case and choice of contact centre must take direction from all stakeholders. By consulting all parties, with shared responsibility, the resulting business case will provide better business fit and a higher level of engagement between the system and users.

See our Buyers guide for an in-depth guide to optimising alignment of your new system with your business operations.

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