In the final segment of our three-part series on Upgrading Your Contact Centre Technology we’re discussing the last two critical considerations.
- Provider choice: questions to ask vendors
- Deployment: a crucial factor in successful transition
Selecting the right vendor
Selecting the right contact centre vendor is crucial because contract terms typically require you to commit for one year and can often extend to three or five years. Not only do you need to ensure the business case stacks up; you choose a partner who works closely with you and your team to deliver what you need with minimal operational disruption. Putting in the time and effort upfront to choose the right partner will pay dividends in the long run.
After doing your research, you may find one that suits, or whittle down the options to a short-list. At this point it’s important that you stay focused on your needs and not be dazzled by shiny features and bells and whistles. The right vendor will be the one who has the ability to meet your needs and grow with you. They should be genuinely invested in understanding your business and operations; not trying to sell you an out-of-the-box solution that almost fits, or a completely customised solution that is expensive and in excess of your true requirements.
The RFI or Tender process
If you are issuing RFIs or a tender – here’s what can happen:
- Some vendors will recommend the solution that provides them with the best margin, and is not necessarily the right solution for you.
- You may get multiple vendors presenting the same solution, just branded differently, as they are resellers.
- You may be presented with a solution that you think is imminently suitable, but you don’t like the vendor.
Think about your future together
After comparing solution features, it’s time to evaluate your future together. It’s a bit like a marriage – you need to ensure this vendor really will continue to deliver once the sale is closed, and that you will be happy working with them, potentially for years to come.
11 important questions to ask vendors
The following list of questions will help you evaluate what that future could look like. We suggest you rate the answers on a scale of 1-10 for each vendor, and the final rating should help you eliminate a few and give you a clear winner.
1. How easily will the solution integrate with your existing technology systems (CRM, ERP, etc.)? Can they provide examples of integrations they have done?
2. How quickly can the solution be deployed? Are we talking weeks, or months?
3. What kind of service level agreement (SLA) will you be given? Look out for the fine print.
4. Do they have Australian-based support teams available 24x7x365, or an offshore ticketing system?
5. How frequently are program updates made or new features added, and how is potential downtime handled during updates?
6. How is training delivered for agents, team leaders and administrators – is it live or with just a few training videos? How are new users trained and what is the cost?
7. How easy is it to scale your solution up or down when you need to add or remove staff and features to meet fluctuations?
8. How long has the provider been in business and are they financially stable?
9. Have they provided you with several current customer references, and have you spoken to them?
10. What is their customer retention rate? Do their customers leave after the initial contract ends, or do they renew?
11. What have they planned for the future? Are they innovative?
How will the new solution be deployed?
Change is something many people find confronting to deal with. Some welcome it with open arms, others are fearful of stepping outside their comfort zone or making mistakes.
On top of staff resistance, when you factor in potential disruption to the business – the upgrade process is a critical element in your vendor evaluation criteria.
A professional vendor is one who “partners” with you and holds smooth transition as their highest priority. Successful deployment involves both sides, however, so it’s also in your interest to allocate a project team which includes someone who understands your business needs well, and can translate them into technical specifications.
The right vendor will have a clearly defined deployment process that they follow, which is expertly project managed all the way through. The Premier Contact Point deployment process is designed to minimise disruption and includes seven critical steps:
- Consultation – review current operations and goals and scope out current and future needs
- Specification – detailed specification, and recommendations for best practice configuration
- Configuration – configuration of features, access, dashboards and reporting to suit your specific operational needs
- Integration – seamless access to your internal systems
- Testing – run the new solution parallel with your existing system and test every function
- Training and Go Live – on-site training and go-live assistance to ensure all staff are capable and confident and so that they’re focusing on delivering great customer experience and not focusing on the technology
- Monitoring – ongoing monitoring to ensure that everything is functioning as it should
What happens after deployment?
Implementation should not end with go-live. The right vendor will help you review operations and KPIs to ensure you are fully leveraging the capabilities of the new technology. Think of it as buying a high performance sports car and only using it to do the grocery shopping. That would be such a waste!
Your CX future depends on your technology
As customer expectations and technology capabilities continue to grow, there really is no choice but to constantly review KPIs and operations, and adapt to deliver your customers the service they demand.
Choosing the right Australian contact centre solution, supported by the right vendor, will take your contact centre – and more importantly, your customer experience – from ordinary to extraordinary.