Three Key Considerations When Selecting Your Contact Center Desktop

Things are rapidly coming to a boil in the contact center.  More heat than ever before is being applied to improve efficiency, customers are demanding better/faster service, and they are choosing to engage in new channels or on new devices on almost a daily basis.  Older technologies such as Siebel and home-grown applications served dutifully during their heyday, but there is overwhelming evidence that we are in the midst of an accelerating technology replacement cycle.  This is a perfect time to think about three key things when selecting your next contact center desktop:

1.      Don’t Replace Screens with Scroll Bars

I have had the opportunity to sit in and observe a number of call centers across a wide range of industries lately and one thing is clear: Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are still, on average,  working with no fewer than 12 screens – and one I saw recently has 34!  The first thought most companies have, and rightfully so due to what they have in place today, is to take all that information and present it in a single user interface.  Unifying all that content on a single screen only addresses part of the challenge.  In fact by just taking all that information and placing it on one screen you really just replace the 12 screens with numerous scroll bars, without correcting the real “data overload” problem vexing the CSR.  The alternative is to much more intelligently recommend the next step to take throughout each customer interaction, and to only put on the screen the information and actions relevant for that specific customer, that CSR and that situation.  When selecting your next contact center desktop solution, challenge the vendor to show you a guided and dynamic user experience, with the configurable process behind it to match.

2.     “How To” is Not A Substitute for “Go Do”

Knowledge management is a fantastic set of capabilities and, when executed properly, will deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.  But it is critical to understand that the “how to” knowledge information provided to the CSR in the contact center is not a substitute for the system’s ability to actually automate (“go do”) the key actions required during each interaction.  Knowledge will not automatically route the contact to the right person, take dynamic action based on service levels, update numerous backend systems, generate key correspondence, execute calculations, and so on.  When considering your next contact center desktop be sure to challenge the vendor to prove not only that it can deliver “how to” information, but also that the underlying system can automate, and actually “go do” actions enabling the CSR to focus their precious time on the customer, not the supporting systems.

3.     Change is Happening Every Day, Make Sure Your Desktop is Built to Adapt

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by a top five U.S. financial services organization about their Pega deployment and how they have implemented to adapt to the changes in the mortgage industry.  A number quoted stuck in my head: In 2012 alone they had to account for nearly 2,000 regulation changes.  Doing some fancy math, that is an average of five changes every day, and that does not account for changes they may want/need to make related to pricing, adding or removing products, changing their servicing procedures, incorporating customer feedback and so on.   Many software vendors will use their cloud-based infrastructure to infer they are fast to deploy and easy to change.  Be cautious when considering your next contact center desktop. I have witnessed some confusion/misinformation in the market.  Just because a vendor runs their solution in the cloud that does not mean you will not have write code to make changes.  Probe the vendor’s ability to rapidly deploy and easily adapt to change without coding, whether that code is called, APEX or JAVA.  A well-constructed contact center system should empower the business users to own the change and easily collaborate with their IT partners to continuously adapt, without writing code.

As you drive towards your next generation contact center desktop, give consideration to these three key elements to ensure you maximize efficiency, deliver a great customer experience and are able to rapidly adapt to change continuously.  Regardless of the market you serve, there will undoubtedly be change ahead.