Why are businesses changing their contact centre systems? Our top 10 reasons

Demand for improved contact centre performance has never been greater. At Foehn, we’re receiving an unprecedented number of enquiries from businesses that are seeking to deliver better customer service. It’s a requirement that’s been at the core of customer-centric organisations for decades. More recently, though, the need to improve the customer experience (CX) and to make the customer journey as effortless as possible has been pursued with renewed intensity.

What’s driving this groundswell of CX activity? Why are businesses rebuilding their organisations around CX? Why has CX perfection become the most critical objective in the business strategy?

For sure, the Internet has turned consumer behaviour through 180 degrees over the past ten years. From star ratings to social media rants, consumers are taking the lead in expressing their opinions and impacting market shares, with just one click of a button. Mobile apps and a proliferation of communication channels have given consumers the power to demand service and make a purchase when, where and how they want it.

Clearly, consumer power is driving businesses to go up a gear when it comes to CX. But businesses themselves are raising the CX bar as well, escalating service levels in the hope they will outperform the competition. This side of the story isn’t about consumer power, it’s about technology. It takes a lot to change consumer behaviour, but this is one of the those few occasions when technology is truly driving demand, changing expectations and reshaping the sales process.

The contact centre has replaced the market stall, the retail outlet and the online store as the battle ground for sales, repeat sales, customer retention and brand values. Omnichannel communication, automated processes, machine learning, voice analytics, intelligent routing…the list of new and evolving technology is pushing the contact centre towards the heart of the business and impacting virtually every business process.

That’s why our phones are buzzing with customers wanting to upgrade or rip-and-replace old call centre systems that are just not up to the job required today. In the past, there have been ripples of interest in technical advances such as omnichannel and CRM integration but today there’s a wave of interest in a complete refresh of the contact centre design in line with digital transformation strategy or a broader CX culture-change within the organisation. That’s why our consultants are being kept busier than usual with helping clients build a business case or advise on integrating the contact centre with business operations.

Interestingly, for all of our customers, there’s always a specific issue or problem that forces the decision to tip over in favour of taking action rather than putting up with the status quo. Individually, each of these issues sheds light on the problem with the legacy system but, as a whole, this list of issues offers a broader view of a contact centre specification that organisations need today. Take a look.

What’s your problem?

1. Inflexible, hardware infrastructure

Yes, it’s the obvious one, but none the less crucial. A fully maintained, upgraded, cloud-powered platform saves money, offers per-user pricing and always delivers the most recent features. As usual, though, simplicity is often more important than financials. Cloud infrastructure allows scalability, configuration and implementation to be managed easily through a dedicated management portal. For busy IT managers, that counts for a lot more than financial savings.

2. Poor management information

Data analytics is the lifeblood of any CX strategy. It powers the customer journey, supports KPI measurement and gives valuable insight into agent performance. Consistently, owners of legacy contact centre systems bemoan the inadequate provision of feedback data which in turn limits the management task. Latest systems offer the dashboards, wallboards and real-time monitoring required to optimise resources.

3. Declining productivity 

Agents waste a lot of time on enquiries outside their scope or on those that can be answered simply with published information. The provision of self-service IVR gives the caller access to answers faster and without tying up the agent. A modern contact centre allows self-service tasks to be built into the customer journey to improve the experience and reduce response time.

4. Slow service providers

Administration and configuration of the contact centre system are essential for optimal performance. Left to third-party service providers, though, response can be slow, costly and a threat to the customer experience. A management portal with a simple, intuitive user interface can allow managers and employees to undertake many of the simpler tasks more rapidly and at less cost.

5. Poor access to customer data

Agent’s need seamless integration between the contact centre and the CRM system. A well-designed integration between CC and CRM can provide the agent with an automatic ‘screen-pop’ displaying caller details and past interactions, both of which save time for the agent and the customer.

6. Delays to onboarding

Training and onboarding are essential, but both need to be swift and effective without taking up valuable agent time. A simple contact centre design, from functionality to user interface, will allow speedier adoption of the processes, workflows and features offered. Ongoing, features such as call recording, live monitoring and ‘whisper’ messaging will continue to provide on-the-job training into the future.

7. Inefficient technical support  

Legacy PBX infrastructure across multiple sites demands laborious technical support. A cloud-based platform allows centralised management of contact centre services without the challenges of geographically distributed hardware. With a well-designed, intuitive portal, in-house IT administrators can manage many of the time-consuming daily tasks

8. Costly customer management

Customer’s value skills-based agents but there is the risk that smaller pools of specialist agents can incur higher overheads and complicate the task of staffing for peaks and troughs. The solution is to train and upskill larger pools of agents rapidly to accommodate higher volume and lower cost. Contact centres that incorporate supervision and training functionality will be an advantage.

9. Laborious ID verification 

Increasing regulatory compliance means that the task of identity verification (ID&V) has become an important but time-consuming process for many agents. IVR automation of ID&V can reduce call handling times significantly, freeing agents for other, more demanding work. Callers are, generally, happy to use IVR for this type of task.

10. Missed revenue opportunities 

Agents focussed on customer experience will sometimes forget to address opportunities for up-sell or cross-sell to other services. Automisation of business processes and optimisation of workflows can help. For example, automated skill-based routing can filter out the best opportunities and deliver immediate opportunities to support up-selling.

Understanding your own contact centre problems is an important start to building a sound business case for investment in a new system. Find out how to create a business case that qualifies what you need from your next contact centre and ensures rapid return on investment.

More about the author
Julian Barrow

Julian Barrow is a sales leader at Foehn Ltd., committed to on-going service delivery excellence to clients and a commitment to exceptional customer experience. Julian’s experience ranges from large corporates and contact centres to SMBs and start-up businesses. As a Genesys Gold partner, Julian is a recognised leader in helping clients move to cloud contact centre and helping them realise the benefits of agility, innovation and scale. He is well-known in the industry for his understanding of both the technology and the importance of brilliant partnerships.