Where Do Contact Center Transformations Go Wrong?

Overcoming the challenges of contact center transformation

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Where Do Contact Center Transformations Go Wrong - CX Today News
Contact CentreInsights

Published: June 12, 2024

Rebekah Carter

The transformation of the contact center has emerged as a priority for almost every organization. Changing consumer expectations, evolving market dynamics, and even new workplace structures have prompted companies to rethink their approach to managing customer experiences.  

Today’s CX leaders need to embrace agile, flexible technology that can improve efficiency, enhance access to crucial data, and enable customer service across multiple channels.  

Unfortunately, a true transformation of the contact center isn’t easy to implement. Some analysts suggest up to 70% of digital transformation initiatives fail, often due to poor strategic planning. However, companies can’t afford to simply ignore the need for evolution. Instead, they need to take a pragmatic approach to driving innovation, without disruption. 

Where Contact Center Transformations Go Wrong 

There are numerous factors that can harm the success of a digital transformation project in the contact center. The most common issues, however, stem from a poorly planned approach to technology implementation and optimization. Facing significant pressure to evolve and transform, companies are attempting to transition into a new landscape at breakneck speed, often causing a host of issues. 

Three of the most common causes of failed contact center transformations include: 

Moving Too Fast, Without a Clear Vision 

In an era where excellent customer experiences are critical to business success, most companies are aware of a clear need to align their customer and employee experience strategies, implement new technologies, and enhance workplace efficiencies.  

Unfortunately, many businesses make the mistake of moving too fast. They embrace the latest technologies from AI to automation, without setting clear goals for their transformation initiatives, nurturing strategic alignment, or fully assessing their current resources.  

What’s worse, rather than making iterative changes, such as gradually adding new communications channels to an ecosystem, or experimenting with different AI tools for things like sentiment analysis, companies attempt to change everything at once. This leads to disruptions, poor buy-in from employees, and higher financial risks.  

In fact, according to McKinsey, poor planning and a “rushed” approach mean that regardless of a project’s size, only 59% of digital transformation strategies stick to their budget, and only 44% deliver the right results.  

Maintaining the “Rip and Replace” Mindset 

To remain competitive in an evolving landscape, many companies assume that they need to eliminate their old technologies completely. For instance, organizations often see the benefits that cloud technologies can offer in relation to agility, scalability, and cost savings, and assume they need to remove all on-premises and legacy technologies.  

However, many contact centers already have existing technologies that are delivering the right results. For example, on-premises call routing systems can still continue to drive value in an evolving CX landscape. Many are also linked tightly to back-office systems, leading to significant migration issues for companies that want to shift entirely to the cloud.  

Instead of ripping and replacing everything, most companies will be better-served by assessing their existing resources, and building on what already works. Leveraging familiar systems, technology, and processes as a baseline for evolution often delivers a safer route to innovation.  

Taking a Short-Term Approach 

Another major issue that hampers the success of contact center transformation strategies, is the belief that “digital transformation” is something that only needs to happen once. This belief is often what pushes companies to make rapid, poorly-planned changes to their ecosystem, eliminate crucial legacy technologies, and cause significant disruption. 

However, the reality is that digital transformation should be an ongoing process that’s implemented and perfected over time. There’s no ideal “one time” to implement a transformation initiative. Instead, companies should take an iterative approach to constantly evolving and updating their ecosystem.  

The journey to transformation should include multiple steps that gradually and effectively assist companies in aligning technology stacks and teams, and exploring new opportunities. A short-term, all-or-nothing approach is what significantly increases a company’s chances of lost revenue, process disruption and lost productivity.  

Embracing Innovation without Disruption 

Fundamentally, ensuring the success of a contact center transformation initiative requires companies to take a different approach to how they view evolution in their customer experience strategy. Rather than learning to run before they learn to crawl, business leaders need to plan a pragmatic transformation journey, enhanced by careful analysis of their existing resources and future goals. 

Large-scale overhaul strategies rarely deliver effective results, and often cause significant problems with customer satisfaction, employee experience, and budget management. Alternatively, if companies leverage familiar processes and systems, build on the strategies they know work, and forge their own path for transformation, they’re more likely to mitigate risks.  

Taking a proactive approach to innovation without disruption will become increasingly crucial as the contact center landscape continues to transform, with the introduction of high-impact technologies like generative AI. For companies embracing world-leading technologies like generative AI, an experimental, cautious approach can even help to reduce security and compliance risks. 

The Pragmatic Approach to Contact Center Transformation 

The pressure on contact center leaders is higher than ever. Companies are facing increased demand to rectify problems in their customer experience strategies, enhance existing revenue streams, and unlock new opportunities for growth. However, that doesn’t mean business leaders should simply rush into a dangerous transformation initiative.  

Rather than trying to “keep up with the competition”, business leaders should be working with vendors that enable them to implement changes at a pace that suits their organizational needs and budget, and helps them bypass potential threats.  

Avaya’s approach to enabling “innovation without disruption” for instance, empowers companies to unlock additional value from their existing communication solutions, while paving the way for future growth. By enabling access to multiple deployment opportunities and platform integrations, Avaya ensures companies can tap into the benefits of aligned CX and EX initiatives, experiment with cutting-edge AI and automation capabilities, and future-proof their strategy for success.  

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