The concept of a contact center only being able to answer customer calls is woefully outdated. Modern, software-based contact centers add new functionality that can help improve internal processes and even generate more revenue, while lowering the burden of effort on the customer and the agent.
Once upon a time, the call center was a behemoth of machinery, feeding calls into a room full of individuals doing nothing but answering the phone for eight hours a day. Calls were handled efficiently by the agent most suited to answer the request, by virtue of intelligent routing. However, each of those agents had a phone wired directly into the ACD - and adding or removing seats required extensive planning and costs.
With the advent of VOIP and its evolution to UC, adding inexpensive seats became as simple as a configuration on a website: Presto! You have a new agent connected to the cloud-hosted, WISP-like call router. What many people don’t realize is that this easier configuration and lower per-seat cost opened new avenues that have potential to streamline everyday activities, lower business costs and even generate more revenue while increasing customer satisfaction.
Ted the technician is configuring a Widget 5000 for a customer - when he runs across a request he’s not sure how to implement. Ted IMs Terry the technician, who directs him to Erin the senior engineer. Ted then IMs to Erin, since her presence shows green (even though she’s in the middle of working to resolve an outage). Erin is able to answer Ted's question - but, as the most senior engineer, pulls her away from a project where she's billing at $500/hour.
Not too bad, right? Well, a couple things could be improved:
- Terry took extra time from Ted, Erin, himself and the customer
- Erin answered the question - but the 10 other engineers in her department (who bill at half the rate) also knew the answer and were available.
What if these users were configured in an intelligent router?
Instead of Ted going through Terry and Erin, he just sent an IM to their "Engineering Helper" endpoint saying "I need Widget 5000 help." The intelligent router determined that one of the engineers had Widget 5000 expertise, and then identified that Eddie the newly promoted engineer knew what to do sent the message to Eddie. The same question would have gotten the same answer – but involving fewer people, and using and less of expensive and scarce resources without the delay.
Generico is rapidly expanding their sales team. To encourage friendly competition, Generico’s CEO decides to send the salesman who makes the most calls to Napa Valley for a week.
Steve the salesman makes 400 calls in a single week - setting a new record, and securing his spot to Napa! Strangely, even though his call numbers are off the charts, his actual sales are far below his goal. Stacy is bummed that she only made 250 calls, but at least her sales numbers were up!
If Generico had proxied sales calls through contact center software, the CEO would know the real story due to more explicit reporting and recording functionalities. With contact center software, Generico would have been able to see that Steve had lots of calls under 10 seconds in duration, and 50 calls to the same phone number. Listening to recordings of his calls, Generico could identify that he was being rude to customers, resulting in his low sales numbers. Steve really should have been reprimanded and Stacy rewarded for her excellent job!