Anyone who has been keeping a watch on the rapid pace of technology morph could be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the choices – particularly when it comes to contact centre technology.
If you’re in the throes of updating or transforming your contact centre infrastructure and confused about which technical capabilities to put on your bucket list; then we hope you find this summary of “Essential” and “Good to Have” inbound technology features helpful.
Essential Technology Features
We’ve based our essential technology feature recommendations around the assumption that for inbound operations, contact centres will want to achieve the following objectives as a minimum:
- improve efficiency
- reduce costs
- deliver a consistently better customer experience
- meet the changing needs of consumers
- quickly scale up or down to meet fluctuating demand
1. Cloud based infrastructure
Cloud based contact centre software not only reduces capex and costs, but it makes it easy to rapidly scale to meet peaks and troughs. Deployment is faster, equipment is minimal, upgrades are instant and seamless and teams can gain access from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection and phone. According to research by Aberdeen Group, companies that deploy contact centres in the cloud spend 27% less on their annual contact centre costs than their peers.
65% of consumers prefer to resolve a problem without talking to customer service. But the self service options must be easy to use and achieve the desired result. Premier Contact Point’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solution allows your customers to directly interact with your systems through voice commands and key inputs.
The callback feature gives callers the option to be called back at a time which suits them. It can be offered to callers in a queue at any point, or displayed as an option in a visual IVR on their mobile phone. Essential for improving customer experience by showing that you value their time, and gives the added benefits of shortening queue times and reducing abandoned call rates.
4. Automatic call distribution
Advanced call queuing and routing intelligently directs calls to the right agent. IVR and ACD solutions work together to provide a faster, more efficient service for your customers and for team management.
5. Integrated data
To minimise customer waiting time and help your team be more efficient, your customer data should be instantly available to your agents, without them having to go searching and open multiple screens. Premier Contact Point’s solution is customised to integrate with your customer or company data housed in an external database or CRM system, and screenpopped within the agent desktop for read-only or two-way access.
As we have seen with Cyclone Debbie and the ensuing weather, Mother Nature is unpredictable and can cause havoc for days on end. System redundancy (geographical especially) is critical to keeping your contact centre up and running at all times. Premier Contact Point is engineered around resilience and high availability to ensure your contact centre remains operational at all times.
The platform is spread across two geographic points of presence – one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. Each point of presence provides additional resilience including multiple instances of Premier Contact Point, load balancing, and best practice power management. For customers who require high availability for mission critical communications or provide 24×7 services, the Premier Contact Point, dual PoP platform configuration provides a geographical diverse platform solution to help ensure your contact centre remains operational.
“Good to Have” Technology Features
Whilst not critical – we consider the following features also important to achieving the objectives stated above.
7. Multi-channel communications
Phoning customer support to get help is no longer the norm. Many customers are choosing a variety of contact methods before they pick up the phone, including web chat, email and SMS. Premier Contact Point enables contact centres to provide integrated multi-channel support, quickly and easily.
84% of Australians over 14 own a smart phone; however, they don’t like running up mobile call charges by waiting on hold in a queue to get help. Millennials and Gen Xers in particular would much prefer to engage through apps, SMS, or chat if possible.
Premier Contact Point (PCP) has made it easy for Contact Centres to deliver IVR, self-service options and messages to mobile phone users. The PCP Mobile Customer Experience service is used for engaging callers before a call, in a queue, during a call and post call for activities such as providing authentication, requesting call back, completing self-service, confirming appointments, sharing links and making purchases.
9. Workforce management
Workforce management helps organisations to better forecast their staffing requirements, build and modify rosters on the fly, track changes including staff adherence to rosters and much more. And real time performance metrics assists management to ensure that their operation is running optimally.
10. Call recording
Call recording is a requirement in many contact centres due to quality assurance regimes and government regulations or corporate compliance. Though not legally required in all contact centres, it is a powerful tool that has multiple business uses including training team members, reviewing customer needs, and identifying key areas for improvement.
The ideal features include:
- Automatic call recording as well as allowing staff to manually initiate, pause, resume, or stop recordings as needed
- Integration with IVR solutions which allow for compliance prompts to be played to customers before their call is connected to a staff member
- Secure and rapid call recording retrieval
And There’s More
There are other technical features we could have listed – like skills-based routing, overflow queuing, voice biometrics, speech recognition IVRs, secure payments and more; however we feel that the ten listed here are the key ones required for achieving these objectives for inbound operations.
What’s important when upgrading Contact Centre Technology is to be clear about your objectives, to choose a technology partner who will tailor the solution to suit your specific needs, and provide live support that goes far beyond just SLA-based break fix support.