In this series we discuss the process of acquiring new technology for your contact centre, and provide some suggestions to ensure a successful project.
This article is the first in the series.
The first step in acquiring new technology is to thoroughly understand the requirements of the contact centre. As obvious as it may sound, it is quite difficult to get right as often the current processes and procedures are viewed as the business requirements, whereas they may have been designed to overcome shortcomings with current technology. This involves objectively assessing ideal work practices, as well as additional functionality that has become available in the market. When you are close to the processes it is very easy to fall into the trap of believing the current process is the best process and the new technology has to enhance this. In reality, it is a good opportunity for a ‘spring clean’ – getting rid of old, redundant processes and implementing a better way of doing things.
It is actually surprising how many contact centre executives don’t actually understand their own processes – or appreciate there are often better processes available. It is here that an independent opinion can assist – someone who has seen ‘best practice’ in other companies and can assist to implement changes that best suit your business.
Business requirements don’t just apply to today’s environment – you need to cast your eyes forward and consider how the company may change, as well as how the competitive environment may change. We have all seen the explosion of social media, but how many companies are using it well, and how many have technology to treat social media as another customer service channel? What is going to be the next ‘big thing’ in the contact centre or customer service environment.
Contact centre technology typically lasts longer than five years when properly maintained and upgraded. Getting the initial decision wrong means either more cost to replace the technology early or substandard customer service and lower profits because of the functionality limitations of your technology.
Business requirements also includes technology requirements, and this is where you require the input of your IT department. What is your Standard Operating Environment? What is the strategic direction of your IT department? Is there a preference for on-premise, hosted or cloud? What will the new system have to integrate with? The new contact centre technology has to compliment and enhance the existing IT environment.
Lastly, involve your customers. What do they think of your service & how should it be improved? Your opinion of your service is unlikely to match your customer’s opinion, and in the end it is the customer that counts! If you conduct customer satisfaction surveys, include findings from this in your requirements. If not, find out what other contact centres are doing and what customers expect in other industries.
Technology is expensive and it pays to get the requirements right from the beginning. Whichever technology you choose has to support your customer’s present and future needs as well as your present and future business needs.
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