Has the coronavirus crisis pushed a contact centre upgrade onto the agenda in your organisation? You’re not alone. A collective realisation that being able to field and resolve enquiries efficiently is critical to business continuity has been one of the consequences of the widespread upheaval caused by the pandemic.
A well-run cloud contact centre can generate significant efficiencies and improve customer experience but implementing the software needed to underpin it is not a ‘plug and play’ exercise.
Here are some tips that will help you achieve the optimum return on your investment in contact centre technology.
Define your requirements
Today’s contact centre solutions are not short on bells and whistles – think social media channels, instant messaging capability and complex data analysis capabilities, to name a few. This functionality can be invaluable for some enterprises – and irrelevant for others whose needs are simpler. Defining your requirements in detail – the channels and scalability you need and the solutions you’d like to integrate with – will reduce the chances of your being upsold to a solution more complex than you need (with a price tag to match), or settling for something too simple which you’ll soon have to upgrade.
Research the market
Companies shopping for contact centre solutions are spoilt for choice. Researching your options thoroughly will enable you to make an informed decision about which of the many options on the market will best suit your circumstances and budget. While demonstrations provide a reasonable overview of functionality and features, case studies and customer references are more likely to yield genuine insights into how well solutions work in situ.
It pays to consider the total cost of ownership, as well as the initial purchase price when you’re weighing the alternatives. The solution acquired for a relative snip can start to seem less of a bargain when steep service fees and upgrade costs are added to the tab.
Plan your roll-out carefully
Contact centres don’t operate in isolation. Their activities impact on other areas of operation, including sales and marketing, human resources and product development. That’s why it makes sense to involve stakeholders from across the organisation in the purchasing and planning decisions.
Implementing a new solution can be an opportunity to review and re-engineer workflows, with a view to making them more streamlined and efficient. Rolling it out in stages – voice first, followed by chat and social media a month or two later, for example – enables you to ensure staff are trained and confident and wrinkles are ironed out.
Invest upfront in testing and training
Testing and training are easy things to scrimp on but doing so is almost always a mistake. Having a roomful of agents waiting to field enquiries but unable to do so because the new system is glitching is disruptive and expensive. It can also result in a collective loss of confidence on the part of users. Testing every aspect of the system, introducing it to a handful of agents initially to obtain their feedback, and providing the whole team with enough training that they’re confident from the get-go will ensure Day One is a dream run, not a debacle.
Timing your go-live
What’s the best time to go live with a new contact centre solution? For most businesses, it’s likely to be the quietest day of the week. Flicking the switch at an ‘off-peak’ time makes the changeover less stressful for all parties, particularly agents who, despite their training, may be feeling a tad trepidant around the new system. If you’re operating in a sector which experiences significant seasonal peaks and troughs, scheduling your go-live for the off-season will give your team more time to get up to speed.
Conduct regular reviews
Just because your contact centre is up and running doesn’t mean it’s time for your vendor to exit the scene. Conducting regular reviews – daily, in the first couple of weeks and monthly once the solution is bedded down – will ensure hiccups are ironed out quickly. Staying in touch also allows them to remain familiar with your technology roadmap and you with theirs.
Making the most of your contact centre investment
For many Australian organisations, the contact centre is their chief interface with customers. A solution which promises to improve its efficiency and the quality of service it delivers can be a sound investment, provided it’s fit for purpose and implemented effectively.