Customer contact services have experienced a significant change in what their customers expect and the way that they want to do things over the last few years. Whilst economic pressures mean contact centres are forced to ‘do more with less’, customers are more prepared to complain, negotiate and demand. Added to this is the growing familiarity with the internet and other social media – creating a need for investment in a much wider range of communications channels to remove the walls between business and customer.
Contact centres must not fail. Their performance has a massive impact on customer perception and the reputation of a company. They have to meet customer expectations or they risk being instantly complained about on every social network from blogs to tweets.
Managers of contact centres grapple with planning strategies and the financial implications and it’s not all down to the IT department anymore. They are looking for smart contact centre technology which will give them flexibility and functionality and they know staff must be trained to get the best out of the equipment they use, to better support and manage customer calls.
Contact centres not only need the technology to be able to interact with customers using their preferred method, but also the tools to analyse those interactions: capturing real-time customer information enables agents to resolve issues without repeat contact; they can call a customer by their preferred name; know when to upsell existing products or call a customer with promotional offers…
Yet getting all this technology can seem impossible when sat alongside the ‘doing more with less’ agenda – if considered within the restraints of traditional telephony communications.
Andy Willson of UK-owned and based contact centre software developer, Rostrvm Solutions, says, “The obstacles only get knocked down when you introduce flexibility of interfacing ability. Contact centres need products that work with whatever infrastructure they have but still provide them with the functionality they need to evolve. It is important to get a product that is flexible and insulates the core business from the rest of the IT infrastructure.”
The issue of wanting to maintain tight financial control can be addressed with the right technology. Software provides functionality and future-proofs the business because it doesn’t require major capital expenditure. Apart from robust technology, contact centres need suppliers who know what they are doing and who commit to understanding the business.
Peter Brown of Rostrvm Solutions says, “There is a lot at stake in contact centre communications, because it is so business critical. Contact centres are looking for that ‘diamond in the dust’ – robust technology that will keep up with – and surpass – their customers’ needs, be user-friendly and make them substantial profits rather than cost them a fortune. They need flexibility in the way they work with suppliers – they may find hosted environments help because it reduces costs, or they might need a choice of payment method like a subscription-based arrangement where you only pay when you use the product.”
Times have truly changed but the real walls seem to be our imaginations; the technology has already burst through the glass ceiling and is ready and waiting.
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