October. 09, 2018 posted by Foehn

There are many good reasons for choosing a cloud contact centre, but what about the service provider? What are the considerations your business needs to take in order to make the correct decision about which provider will suit your needs and benefit you the most?

‘There’s no such thing as a great contact centre system.’ Overheard recently at an industry event, those were the words of a seasoned contact centre manager who had participated in numerous system deployments over the years.

An immediate desire to respond with a list of amazing, cutting edge systems available on the market was cut short by his justification: “It’s not about the system. It’s all about the service provider. A good service provider can make a mediocre system great. A poor SP can make a great system mediocre.”

One could argue that there are flaws in his claim, particularly in defence of those systems that build simplicity into the design, making implementation easier and trouble-free. In general, though, it’s true that the choice of service provider can dictate the success or failure of the initial deployment and the life-time performance of the system.

So, what does the perfect service provider look like? The answer is that it looks very much like four service providers in one. Crucial skills include specialisation in:

  • Software development: Customisation and integration are frequent requirements driven by the unique needs of all businesses.

  • Network services: converged networks, cloud connectivity, SIP communications….the world of voice, telecommunications and the PSTN demands disciplines that are different to, but no less important than the software-driven world of the contact centre system.

  • Technical support: your contact centre is likely to be the most powerful tool in maintaining your sales, marketing and branding advantage for years to come. The need for performance reliability backed up an experienced support team is critical.

  • Consultancy: the value of experience is priceless. A service provider that understands business alignment, process automation, technology evolution and implementation pitfalls is your biggest insurance for long term success and optimal return on investment.

How do you find your perfect provider? Recommendation is important but, by no means, everything. Again, all businesses are different and what suits one might not suit another. With help from our friends at Genesys, here’s a list of questions you need to ask:

  1. Cultural Fit. Does the provider understand your company’s goals and strategies? Do they share similar business philosophy and values? Are they simply people you can get on with?

  2. Customer references Have you spoken to reference customers, particularly those from your market sector, of similar size, business goals and requirements?

  3. Customisation Can the provider customise your system to the needs of your business or do they deliver a one-size-fits-all approach?

  4. Integration and tools Does the provider have the tools and expertise necessary to integrate with your legacy systems and ensure a seamless solution?

  5. Extended services Does the provider have access to specialists via an active partner ecosystem?

  6. Security and compliance Does the provider have access to skills with the necessary certification for compliance in the key security standards, such as PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).

  7. Geographic reach Can the provider support variables like skills, time of day, channels used, and traffic volume on a geographical scale to meet demands internationally? Many businesses need to ensure they deliver an effective “follow-the-sun” service.

  8. Business continuity Does the provider offer resilience, fail-over, disaster recovery and other business continuity options? Your contact centre is your customer relationship lifeline and the provider’s ability to ensure uptime and business-as-usual is critical.

  9. Agility Can the provider change contact centre capabilities quickly, in response to short-term changes in business conditions, as well as longer-term requirements for continuous improvement?

  10. Addressing change The provider needs the expertise to anticipate changes in fast-moving cloud technology, create a meaningful development roadmap and future-proof the functionality of the system.

To be really sure you’ve got the right provider, there’s nothing better than spending time with them before signing up. Trial the system and trial the provider team at the same time. Make sure they question your business operations and don’t shy away from bespoke or tricky requirements. Ensure they have real depth of knowledge, not just a sales pitch. Above all, look for integrity and a shared responsibility in getting things right. Like any marriage, it’s a long-term relationship in which you need commitment.

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