Contact Centers Undergoing Significant Upheaval


    Few aspects of the modern enterprise have undergone such stark changes as the contact center. Customer service generally connects two parties - help desk representatives facilitating support and the consumers who seek it. Chances are both of these groups have access to technological assets in their personal time, and expect advanced functionality both from their employers and the businesses they frequent.

    This is especially true as millennials begin comprising greater portions of the economy. This generation was the first to grow up around computers and leverage them in new ways. As such, the jobs that they hold and the services they seek out have to be conscious of making technology easily accessible.

    Help desks have historically come under fire for being unable to provide effective service. Seemingly endless hold times and ill-informed representatives cause countless levels of frustration among consumers, but blaming poor performance on assets at hand is not acceptable. With so many next-generation communication and information resources available at a moment's notice, companies need to pay attention to what allows them to perform with agility and flexibility.

    As the customer service landscape continues to change, there is one thing that remains constant - consumers and employees have to feel valued. Presently, that means making the technological provisions that will foster innovation in workers and satisfaction in clients.

    Data Collection, Utilization Critical For Modern Times

    Analytics like average call time are easy to study and leverage, but modern contact center software has made it so that on-site help departments can even better track and utilize more delicate information - like how changes in speech are indicative of customer attitudes. This is partly in response to the new expectations for support held by consumers - if a caller has to request assistance for the same issue more than once, representatives are expected to know when they called in before and what has or has not worked.

    According to Business News Daily contributor Brittney Helmrich, the right programs and connections facilitate these kinds of next-level customer interactions and help to set companies apart from their competition.

    "Running your business's call center in-house can often be done more efficiently with call center software," Helmrich wrote. "Depending on which software you choose, call center solutions can offer many features that go above and beyond just filtering calls to the correct agents and making the placement of outgoing calls much easier. Call center software can integrate with your customer relationship management software (CRM) and can include instant messaging and email integration as well as call recording and monitoring, and much more."

    New Tools Help Deliver Advanced Support

    One long-standing method of contact center analytics comes in the form of call recording. Until storage and recovery tools became what they are today, taping and studying all customer interactions carried out via phone was too cumbersome a task for a large percentage of in-house contact centers.

    Cloud communications and contact center software rectified this for a countless number of companies. Thanks to assets like VoIP systems, calls are easily recorded and analyzed. Many metrics, in fact, are studied by the software itself - changes in tone, volume and inflection are picked up and logged by programs, which makes issues easier to track.

    Consolidation Through The Cloud An Upward Trend

    Contact centers are finding it easier to scale back on physical equipment while still gaining more telecom advantages. According to Billing World contributor Alam Gill, one of the biggest ways in which this is occurring is through the cloud. Organizations across many industries enjoy advanced functionality along with reduced operating costs. Gill specifically noted telecom service providers are among those looking to the cloud for customer service needs.  The move by communications companies to the cloud is a testament to just how powerful and beneficial it can be.

    "[Communications service providers] are beginning to explore deals with trusted technology partners to move their contact center infrastructure to the cloud in order to provision and manage customer care," Gill stated. "Maturing cloud technology enables flexible customization and integration with CRM and other legacy systems, allowing CSPs to invest in innovative solutions and adapt to changing consumer requirements at the same time. Working with proven partners that specialize in cloud-based customer care offers CSPs the ability to maximize their existing infrastructure assets. Supporting agnostic plug-and-play technologies that can work with a variety of previously installed hardware and software tools lowers overall technology spend and boosts revenue-generation opportunities."

    The Time To Act Is Now

    Although tools like the cloud and advanced CRM software are not yet status quo for customer service, they are quickly on their way to reaching that point in their evolution. As more companies start to adopt this technology for help desk representatives, the impact on an enterprise's consumer relationship arsenal is only going to rise. The kinds of benefits experienced are already experiencing a significant amount of demand - even if people do not realize what they are asking for. What is certain, however, is that new contact center considerations are needed.

    According to Gill, this means a definite move toward the cloud in order to remain competitive. Companies that leverage advantages of this caliber can streamline their operations while cutting costs and boosting employee satisfaction.

    "Contact center costs continue to escalate with the increased complexity and rapid obsolescence of hardware and software, the need for and lack of relevant skills, ever more sophisticated threats to customer data security and the proliferation of discrete third-party solutions," he Gill stated. "Faced with these growing issues, CSPs realize there is no time - or reason - to postpone a move into the cloud."