Key Reasons to Keep Your Existing Contact Center Technologies

By Anna Convery

The technology and digital revolution has brought about a society of tech-savvy consumers. As a result, companies are rapidly evolving their customer service technology solutions and strategies to keep up with the demands set by this progressive generation.

As newer tools are introduced to the technology stack within the contact center and back-office environments, many companies are considering system upgrades or solution replacements to future-proof their newest multi-channel investments. Others evaluate the infrastructure, systems, and processes already in place and decide that it would be better to extend existing technology investments rather than spend the amount of time, effort, and development hours it would take to implement new technology. The latter approach is a good solution to this common challenge.

Here are three key reasons why you should use your existing technology and extend its value and capabilities rather than taking a “rip and replace” approach.

1) Put People First: Push technology discussions aside for now. Agent and employee satisfaction are top priorities for contact center leaders, and industry analysts continue to rank these factors as critical indicators for excellent customer experience. Your employees are the users of the systems, the face of your company, and the conductors of the customer journey. Don’t take away the tools they have been using – the ones they were trained on and have been using every day to service customers. Keep your existing technologies, but make them better. Look at your service processes, workflows, and contact center practices to assess what works well and what doesn’t. Find ways for them to work smarter; eliminate redundant, manual tasks and automate those.

Simplifying work processes keeps agents focused on servicing the customer rather than navigating complex, disconnected systems. From a training point of view, this is also a more cost-effective path. Training agents to learn one comprehensive customer screen or a few dynamic service workspaces is far more efficient than having to teach them to use twenty or more systems. This shaves off time required for training and gets agents on the floor faster to start taking calls. If you implemented an entirely new system, you could spend a tremendous amount of money training your entire agent population. Keeping your existing systems and interweaving them into a unified view is by far the most affordable pathway.

2) Embrace Legacy Technology as an Asset: In today’s iPod, iPad, and iPhone world of consumerism, we have been programmed to have “shiny toy syndrome.” We all want the newest gadget or gizmo out on the market. That approach may work with consumer electronics, but it can be counterproductive when purchasing contact center and back-office infrastructure and technology. Many of these systems are made up of numerous disparate applications that have been combined in a sometimes complex and confusing mix. These applications were not designed to work together, but agents and knowledge workers are expected to jump from application to application to perform their job functions.

With today’s desktop automation technology, it is possible to take critical customer data from these legacy systems and aggregate it in a centralized view. This frees agents and knowledge workers from having to perform time-consuming system navigation and allows them to focus on pleasing the customer.

Additionally, using activity intelligence and desktop analytics tools, you now can examine how workers are using systems or applications, aggregate this data, and extract analysis to identify root causes for errors. Activity intelligence can also evaluate technology performance to prioritize maintenance and enhancements based on the amount of time agents spend in specific application screens. Accessing transaction intelligence down to this level of granularity enables you to optimize technology to deliver an excellent customer experience.

3) Think Evolution, Not Revolution: While it’s a bit cliché, remember that you don’t need to boil the ocean. Technology projects require careful planning, and the most successful ones are those that are completed in small, iterative phases. With your existing technologies, you can use activity intelligence from the desktop to prioritize key areas for improvement and implement changes that will have the quickest return on investment and greatest business impact. It’s important to rely on technology that is flexible and application-agnostic to speed deployment and time-to-impact. Doing so minimizes disruption to day-to-day business operations and mitigates risk. This approach establishes a definitive methodology for iterative improvements within the enterprise that drive efficiencies across your customer-facing business units.

The View from the Crystal Ball: When you consider the technology maturation, proliferation, and adoption over the last ten years, it’s exciting to think how the next decade will play out in all facets of our lives. Contact centers are increasingly becoming more strategic business units for the enterprise, so it’s critical that our technology strategy is prepared to change with the speed of the business. By considering these key points, you can understand how your legacy technology assets can be an integral part of your strategic vision for staying ahead in order to deliver excellent customer service experiences by optimizing the central hub of the customer journey – the desktop.

As EVP of strategy, Anna Convery oversees global market development and strategic initiatives for OpenSpan, a provider of desktop automation and desktop analytics solutions. Anna has been named a “Woman of the Year in Technology” by WIT and often speaks at industry conferences. To reach Anna, email info@openspan.com .

[From Connection Magazine Jul/Aug 2014]

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