March 2009 Archives

So many things in our daily world have been changed by technology, and mostly for the positive. Advancements in radio technologies paved the way for the mobile telephone; research in compression technologies helped usher VoIP to our desktops and ultimately laptops; and now we have combined the best of each of these on the supercomputers we each carry in our pocket - the smart phone.  "Why does this matter for the contact center?" you ask. 


Contact Center architectures are a hybrid of technologies; call routing engines, dialers, databases, phone systems, analytics and reporting tools - just to name a few.   In many cases, these tools are interconnected using various protocols that provide integration under the guise of CTI (Computer/Telephone Integration).  This integration has provided the glue that allows contact centers to provide for the rather transactional nature in which they operate.  Merging customer databases into outbound dialing campaigns; enabling "screen pops" for agents handling incoming customer calls; capturing sales trends and close ratios for agents while mapping this to customer detail.  All of this requiring rather complex CTI scripting and ultimately, customer routing along the way. 


No longer is the simple transaction the simple transaction.  In much the same way that telephony matured to provide for mobility and the mainframe matured to provide for mobile computing, customer's expectations have matured along with these trends of increased intelligence.  No longer is it acceptable just to manage the transaction.


This is requiring contact centers to evolve their architectures and processes for serving their customers.   The move towards a managed contact center began a number of years ago as they began to see the need for measuring agent performance, customer satisfaction, and automated support.  The implementation of measurement allows for the easy transition into an optimized contact center model where the performance and customer data can now be used to make real time decisions.


Many companies operate contact centers in this optimized manner today and they're able to balance their investments and customer satisfaction.  However, as the end-customer's expectations are again changing, contact centers too will have to evolve.  I'm calling the next phase of this architectural revolution enterprise integrated.


In the enterprise integrated contact center, technology deployment allows for front and back-office integration with business systems.  The entrance of speech analytics, automated agent selection, non-traditional agent usage models, and a deep integration with CRM systems are more of the advancements we'll see in those contact centers operating in this model.  Today, there are very few who can honestly place themselves in this model.


As technology evolves, we'll move into the customer integrated model.  Here, real-time customer treatment is possible - leveraging every breadcrumb left behind from every interaction to provide the best possible experience for end customers.  This will require significant integration of the legacy systems I talked about in the transaction-based model.  We're making progress in the direction to allow for this and are able to provide many of the tools today.  


Today at VoiceCon, we are announcing new technologies and solutions that enable this transformation to occur.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2009 is the previous archive.

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