Migrating your Contact Centre(s) to the Cloud should only be the first step to bigger and greater things. Not that many years ago, it took huge investment in time, money and meticulous planning over many months to integrate computer-based applications with the core telephony platform. Contact Centre functions were often kept centralized to contain costs. If that platform consisted of multiple PABX systems in a private network, then the time required to integrate across the complete network was vastly increased. Times have changed, dramatically.
We now simply give users secure access to a single cloud platform which is accessible from anywhere over the internet and in some cases intranet, connecting to the Cloud Provider over private links ensuring guaranteed quality and performance. Either way, many of the features that were once expensive add-ons are now included in the cloud package such as voice mail, voice recording and varying degrees of analytics.
We are all very aware of the vast selection of Cloud Based Telephony providers in the market today which has been growing exponentially. The only thing containing this growth at all, are the acquisitions of smaller organisations by larger ones and the merging of the giants. The one thing that they all have in common though, is their need for speed-to-market as new technologies evolve such as social media, artificial intelligence and the need to monitor, measure & analyse their impacts on the business.
To achieve this holy grail, each contact centre vendor must choose wisely the technologies to include in their base product. More importantly, identifying niche market differentiators over the we-can-do-it features needed to tick the requirements boxes of those pesky RFP’s ensuring they always get a seat at the negotiations table. These decisions can make or break the best of technology vendors, becoming key to their future success. To achieve this, money is typically spent on; researching latest trends or paying expensive consulting companies for the same, software development or acquiring companies that have already developed the technology, and continued development of an older technology to keep the existing customer base or sales campaigns with incentives to migrate customers to their new technology. With all this in common to every cloud-based vendor, the result is a myriad of choice sprinkled with a dose of confusion for the avid Contact Centre owner attempting to select a cloud-based contact centre vendor for their core omnichannel platform.
Over recent years, I have facilitated this process for several customers with the main objective of selecting the best fit for their needs in a single vendor platform. It soon became evident, that all vendors, in their common race for speed-to-market, have acquired their own unique DNA of strengths and weaknesses, and so, the single-throat-to-choke dream of many Contact Centre owners remains an aloof dream. So, when positioning their strengths, how does any respectable Contact Centre vendor plug their weaknesses? The answer is through the provision of a secure robust API (Application Programming Interface) and a host of development partners eager to plug those gaps/weaknesses for them.
Ensuring the selected Cloud-based Contact Centre has a feature rich API with limited restrictions on its use, is the best insurance policy anyone can take to ensure they can “Super Charge the Contact Centre”. If voice analytics is to be a key pillar of your success, then dropping that provided-in-the-core product and connecting a vendor technology specializing in the field may make sense. The same can be said for WFM (Work Force Management), WFO (Work Force Optimisation), Gamification, Customer Surveys, AI Bots and the list goes on…
Key to the success is effective MMA (Measure, Monitor and Analyse).
- Measure effectively by agreeing in your business the key performance indicator metrics needed to define success
- Monitor all sources of data, including that gleaned from external applications
- Analyse effectively through efficient visualisation of all available data
Each external application added to the contact centre should in turn have its own API that supports your chosen visualization platform. This will facilitate the highly desired Single-Pane-of-Glass reporting across the contact centre, and potentially across the whole organization providing true Business Intelligence. You then have the tools in place to Supercharge Your Contact Centre, the rest is up to how you manage it. How do you best manage a contact centre? There are many experience authors on this subject, so I will stick to managing the technology and the information needed to effectively manage.