A technically sophisticated contact center can have more than 45 different systems and applications to optimize its performance. These systems typically break down into three product categories:
- Contact center infrastructure – automatic call distributor (ACD), dialer, universal queue (UQ), computer telephony integration (CTI), interactive voice response (IVR)/voice prompter
- Customer relationship management (CRM)/servicing applications – sales, customer service, collections, telemarketing, help desk systems
- Workforce optimization (WFO) – voice and screen recording, quality assurance, workforce management, coaching/training, surveying, speech analytics, text analytics, desktop analytics, customer journey analytics
There are a few major factors that influence which systems are purchased by a contact center and how they acquire them, including:
- Contact center and IT leaders want to keep things as simple as possible and avoid complexity, so they prefer pre-integrated product suites.
- Companies do not want the hassle or effort of having to integrate systems.
- Companies do not want to hire resources to manage different systems.
- Companies want to limit the number of vendors they need to work with, and have “one throat to choke” when there are support issues.
- Product functionality.
- The purchase price.
It used to be when an enterprise wanted a functionally rich solution such as workforce management, quality assurance or CRM, they had to purchase a best-of-breed application and undertake and maintain an integration with their contact center infrastructure solution (automatic call distributor (ACD)). This is no longer necessary, as contract center infrastructure vendors have broadened their suites to include full-featured WFO and CRM applications.
Here are some of the questions to ask contact center infrastructure vendors when selecting a new solution:
- What WFO and CRM applications do you sell along with your contact center infrastructure solution?
- Does your contact center infrastructure solution come pre-integrated with voice and screen recording, quality assurance, workforce management and speech analytics?
- Are you responsible for implementing and maintaining all of the core contact center infrastructure and complementary WFO and CRM applications, or does this require the services of a third-party vendor?
- Do you provide operational expertise and best practices for all of the applications that you sell?
- Do you provide post-implementation professional services to assist your customers in optimizing the performance of all of the applications that you sell?
- Do users have “one throat to choke” for all of the systems you sell when support issues arise?
- Are there price discounts for purchasing multiple applications?
- Does the pricing model accommodate seasonality by module, so users pay only for what they use?
- How frequently do you update all of the applications that you sell?
Managing contact center technology shouldn’t be an endless game of scarce resources, limited functionality and finger-pointing. The world of contact center infrastructure has matured greatly. It’s a great time to acquire leading technology that will enable you to deliver an outstanding customer experience, cost-effectively.