By Melanie Valenzuela
Is it time to update your contact center software? You may have had the same software for a while and feel you need an upgrade. Perhaps you’ve heard of some new features you’d like to try or are looking for better support from your supplier. Or it could be that your current system no longer fits your needs. Maybe you’re trying to improve your customer service, which has suffered due to a poor system.
No matter what prompted you to think of switching, your contact center software is an integral part of your operation. You need to choose carefully. Here are some questions you’ll want to ask to ensure that you’re making the best decision possible and getting the call center solutions you need.
1) What Will Your Contact Analytics Look Like?You want to make sure that you can gather enough data to analyze and see patterns and trends. Can you get speech analytics, text analytics, and other customer feedback from every type of interaction? What about web, email, and social media contacts? You need to be able to gather information from every source so that you are getting the whole picture and not just hearing from one demographic that uses one particular way to contact you.
2) How Compatible Is the New Software to Your Other Systems? Your call center supervisors spend a lot of time on performance management, workforce management, training, coaching, and other oversight activities. Does the new software integrate those systems? All these items, along with any analytics, should be compatible so your supervisors can spend more time working with agents and less time trying to get the information they need.
You want your call center management to gain productivity, along with the agents. As an organization, your ultimate goal is to understand customer interactions, improve workforce performance, and optimize your service processes.
3) How Flexible Is the Software Company in Working with You? Every software company wants your business, but how willing are they to work with you to create a system to address your specific needs? Yes, they all say they are flexible, but ask questions about exceptions or special needs to see if they actually follow through on processing your requests.
Keep in mind, if they aren’t flexible now, they won’t be getting any more flexible in the future, so beware of any obstacles at the beginning of the relationship. Are you seeing or hearing any red flags that remind you why you’re going through this process again? You don’t want to have to repeat this search anytime soon.
4) How Much Customer Support Will You Be Getting? You want your new vendor to be flexible in setting up a system for you, but you need great customer service to make the system work. What does their contract say? What do you know you absolutely need? As you talk to the company, make sure the level of service matches your needs and you feel good about it. Because this will be a long-lasting relationship, you need to feel comfortable with the company you choose.
Support in the beginning is standard. Ongoing support will differentiate a company serious about servicing you as a client. Are you getting clear and definitive answers to your questions? Are they asking relevant questions about your needs, or do they seem more interested in finalizing the sale?
5) Can the Software Handle Your Future Needs? There’s no way to tell exactly how the industry may change in the future, but based on what you know now, you need to feel that this system can handle your needs, both now and in the future. Changing software is no small task, so you don’t want to be making a change again because you didn’t fully anticipate your future needs.
Are there other systems or features the company offers that don’t fit your needs today but you may need as you grow? That’s a good sign that, even if you need to upgrade the system later, you will be able to continue to use the software you have now, and it will be fully compatible with the additions you make in the future.
Switching contact center software is never easy or fun. But once you’ve decided it’s necessary, make sure to take your time and really vet the companies you are considering. Besides reputation and cost, consider the compatibility and flexibility of both the new software and the company supplying it. You will be working partners for quite some time, so you want to be sure the relationship will be a good fit, both now and in the future. Once you find the contact center solutions you’re looking for, the only question remaining is, “How soon can we switch?”
Melanie Valenzuela has been writing about business topics for several years and currently writes for the contact center vendor KOVA Corporation.