Guest Blog by Perry Price, CEO & Co-Founder of Revation Systems
Due to unprecedented circumstances created by the pandemic, contact centers have quickly become more critical than ever before. As an overwhelming number of consumers in nearly every industry now rely on digital channels, such as SMS or web chat to communicate with a business instead of visiting in-person, organizations are suddenly rethinking their contact center communications strategies to include digital channels. To make this transition requires a system upgrade for many contact centers.
Ageing communications technology can have dire consequences when it comes to keeping customers satisfied, or at a minimum, on-board. Consumer preference and demand for digital communications has only been increased as a result of the pandemic – making it high priority for contact centers to ensure that they have the right type of technology to provide solid digital customer service.
As consumer expectations for a frictionless interaction with a business through digital communications will only continue to rise, organizations should be sure to watch for the following tell-tale signs that their communications system needs an upgrade in order to remain strong enough to satisfy consumers in the years ahead.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented contact centers with a difficult choice: send your agents to work remotely from their homes or reduce the number of staff (and, likely, hours of operation) in your contact center to help prevent the spread of the virus. For organizations with on-premise technology, the option of sending their workforce to work remotely has simply not been an option – or at least not an option without replacing their current technology. As the remote workforce trend is certainly here to stay even in a post-COVID-19 world, many contact centers are upgrading their outdated technology and implementing cloud-based unified communications solutions. Cloud-based unified communications solutions or contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions allow for flexibility in having employees work remotely and can even reduce operating expenses.
Legacy contact center phone systems can make it difficult for the dynamic use of multiparty phone conferencing. For instance, consider the following scenario in healthcare: when a patient needs to be transferred from one medical facility to another it requires communication between multiple parties – between the physicians and nurses at the transferring facility and staff at the receiving facility. In this situation it is essential that the communication take place quickly and efficiently as it can literally mean the difference between life or death. In addition
to phone conferencing, contact centers using chat that are unable to easily drag-and-drop multiple parties in and out of a session should also consider upgrading their technology. On-demand multiparty conferencing for both audio and chat that can help make agents more effective and efficient in their communications, limiting the time spent arranging for multiparty conversations internally.
Especially as much of the operations are moving away from the traditional four walls of the contact center due to the pandemic, having real-time data available for insight into the performance of a contact center is key for ensuring that consumers are satisfied, and service level expectations are met. Oftentimes on-premise or legacy solutions offer limited or not data that contact center management can use to make adjustments to their contact center on-the-fly to account for higher call volumes. Systems today can provide access to a portal that contact center supervisors can use to keep a close eye on metrics such as service level, abandons, sessions per hour and average handle time that give an indication of the contact center’s overall health at any point in time.
Although certain features such as call logging and recording used to be viewed as merely ‘nice to have’ for many contact centers, they have become key functionality since the start of the pandemic. Contact centers that lack the ability for management to easily access call logs or review recordings of prior sessions for quality assurance (QA)/training purposes should consider upgrading their technology to include for these features, especially as the workforce continues to be remote. In addition to lacking key functionalities like logging and recording, many contact centers have found themselves unable to scale their current communications solutions as they increase in size or adjust their workflows to account for evolving needs as they move agents to work from home. Among the technology options available today are full contact centers in the cloud that can flexibly provide a variety of key features to help improve the customer experience.
Last but certainly not least, one of the sure-fire signs that your contact center communications are in desperate need of an upgrade is that compliance requirements are not supported by your current solution/system. Industries have varying standards for the security of a communications solution based on the nature of consumer data that can be shared in a given interaction. For example, communications in financial services or banking contact centers often require compliance to protect consumer data for payment card industry (PCI) and personally identifiable information (PII) regulations. Likewise, healthcare contact centers require their technology to be HIPAA compliant to safeguard patient data. A modern contact center solution or system should be held to the highest security standards. After all, the features a solution provides are only as good as they are secure.
As digital communications increase as a way for businesses to communicate with their customers, organizations across all industries evaluate, or reevaluate, their contact center solution needs and requirements as they migrate from traditional on-premise, legacy technology contact center models to more modern technology