While the global pandemic has hit every vertical industry hard this year, there is no other horizontal industry than contact centers being challenged to transform – or die. With the move from often massive physical locations with tight quarters to moving agents and managers to a virtual model, and the rapid adoption of cloud-based communications, CRM, security and other platform and application, the amount of data being generated is surging.
All that data is good, right?
Data is a blessing and a curse – not enough data means less information needed to run contact centers efficiently, but too much data can create confusion when it is not orchestrated or converted into consumable business intelligence. Too much data – oceans of data – can create so much blurring that it leads to anxiety for managers, who may just ignore it altogether.
With all the additional stress on contact centers, with COVID-19 causing increases not only in call volume, but in questions that may not have answers in this uncertain time, which is causing longer interactions and wait times that are making headlines especially when it comes to health insurance coverage, unemployment insurance, travel arrangements, new retail return policies, and more.
From what we are learning from the many contact center technology vendors, BPOs, and industry experts and analysts, digital transformation to the cloud, and adoption of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation and more was already underway given the natural benefits of moving from old infrastructure to new cloud-based solutions – the COVID-19 crisis just threw those projects into high gear, as many contact centers had to shift to work-from-home in some cases over a weekend.
One CEO of a company working with a Tier One mobile service providers in the U.S. said the urgency was so great – that his team ended up working nights and weekends to rapidly engineer and implement a transformation – leveraging virtual desktop infrastructure, cloud communications as a service, and cloud versions of what had been locally served applications.
He also noted that given the disruption, everything had to be accessible via mobile devices, and everything had to be secured especially given the relaxation of HIPAA standards by the US Government to enable telemedicine and telehealth. “Just because the government allowed contact centers to use new tools, like Zoom and Skype, for example, doesn’t mean companies can risk exposing sensitive and private information including electronic medical records.”
Since March, this same company has been called in to completely transform a large state’s unemployment insurance contact centers, where fraudulent claims were costing the taxpayers millions of dollars a day. “I’ve been part of this industry and a major tech disrupter for three decades,” the CEO said, “and I’ve never seen anything like this. This was a scary time, but things worked out and have led to more business than we ever thought we could handle because it was no longer an option to wait to move to cloud, and as a service approaches. We had to move fast but we also had to move smart because nobody at this time wants any additional stress or pressure so great that it can and will continue to crush businesses that are not prepared.”
Dealing with the surge of data that has been produced in the middle of the crisis is not something contact center providers had time to even think about in the beginning of this great disruption. As the dust started to settle, however, the impact was surprisingly positive. The new work-from-home models were working in most cases, and the fear of leaping into 21st Century technologies all but disappeared.
What also happened was a completely new view of data, how much can be generated, and how creatively it can be applied.
Technology investments rocketed almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were enacted, and that is only expected to continue. When COVID-19 exploded, Grand View Research issued new research leading to their forecast that the global contact center software market will reach $72.3 billion by 2027, registering a compound annual growth rate of 19.7 percent.
One company, Eventus Group, based in Denver, Colorado, is a hybrid company in that they sell not only managed services (running contact centers for several very large enterprises with multiple well-known brands) but they have invested themselves in a unique data aggregation, management and analytics platform called IntelligenceHub. Necessity was the mother of invention for the company. As a fast-growing business over nearly ten years they got their start in consulting, which advanced to transformation and project management, and without asking their clients if they’d like to turn over their contact centers to them – they were almost pushed into standing up a managed services business unit.
Their managed services business took off, and they were so overwhelmed by business growth that they decided to develop their own software using APIs and connectors into nearly every major contact center vendor’s systems in the world. They branded the platform, but it was mainly used for internal operational improvements and efficiencies but became popular with their clients as a reporting tool.
From there, the platform became an analytics tool, and now a business intelligence tool that sifts through data and generates reports, notifications and alerts. Using an interface they built in partnership with Tableau, and with CRM companies including Salesforce, Eventus organically built increasing integrations and today continue to release a stream of new features, which TMC is proud to help share with the world on a webinar Tuesday, October 20. Our own Erik Linask, a contact center expert in his own right, will be joined by Heather Barrow, who leads the IntelligenceHub development and implementation, and Jon Arnold, an independent industry analyst who has been following and writing about contact center disruption for over a decade.
This is a must-attend, free and interactive webinar – perfectly timed for those who are planning 2021 after a 2020 none of us will ever forget.
Don’t fear data – embrace it! Organize it, tap it, synthesize it, optimize it, and design it to improve outcomes. Faster, friendly, and more efficient service – personalized – protected – and productive. Orchestrate it and, according to what Eventus has proved, save so much in time and effort through automation and more, that there is money to reinvest in creating a CX that contributes to a more competitive offering.
Customers need support now more than ever – and innovations like this, forged in fire, have great potential to help the world return to better than normal.