Demand for rapid transformation in the contact center and CX landscapes has accelerated in recent years. Today’s companies can no longer afford to take a slow and steady approach to evolution, at a time when 77% of brands agree CX is a key competitive differentiator.
To adhere to evolving customer expectations for agile, convenient, and personalized interactions, business leaders need to be ready for significant transformation, particularly in the contact center. From embracing new communication channels, to implementing new technologies, and policies, contact center transformation is defining the future of CX.
But what exactly is contact center transformation, what are the challenges companies face when entering the new era of customer service, and how can brands ensure their initiatives are successful?
“Contact center transformation is not just about evolving technology; it’s about redefining customer experiences, reimagining support, and revolutionizing the way businesses connect with their clients in an ever-changing world.”, says Raman Sharma – Associate Director, Fluid Contact Center, HCLTech
What is Contact Center Transformation?
Most modern businesses are already familiar with the concept of “digital transformation”, an initiative which involves integrating technology into various aspects of the professional landscape. In fact, McKinsey found the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital transformation by around 7 years.
Contact center transformation applies this concept to the CX space, exploring ways brands can embrace new channels, tools, and services to elevate the performance of the contact center.
Rapid contact center transformation has become increasingly crucial in recent years. Consumers now expect to connect with businesses through a variety of different channels. They’re also seeking more advanced self-service solutions, personalized experiences, and greater agility from CX teams.
Notably, a true contact center transformation requires more than just the implementation of new technology, such as CCaaS platforms and chatbots. Companies need to ensure they’re building a comprehensive strategy for modernizing equipment, empowering employees, and serving customers throughout an ever-changing consumer journey.
The Challenges of Contact Center Transformation
A contact center transformation is a core component of a complete approach to CX innovation. It’s one of the key elements of successful digital transformation in today’s consumer-facing businesses, and something no business can afford to overlook.
However, transformation, or change in any form, comes with several challenges. This is exacerbated by the complexity of a full transformation initiative, which leads to only around 30% of companies achieving their evolutionary goals.
Updating and enhancing the contact center comes with various challenges, such as:
- Complex technology migrations: Shifting legacy technology into the cloud isn’t easy. Migration timelines can be delayed, and companies can face various technical issues with integrations and the implementation of new technology.
- Employee adoption: Contact centers can only effectively transform when employees adopt new technologies and policies. Poor insights into how new omnichannel solutions and platforms impact team processes can lead to reduced adoption among staff.
- Securing buy-in: Investing in new technology and systems is expensive. Failure to successfully assess and showcase the potential return on investment from a contact center transformation can make securing buy-in from stakeholders difficult.
- Disconnected technologies: The desire to rapidly embrace new technologies can prompt some companies to attempt to integrate multiple disconnected tools, rather than creating a cohesive environment for success, leading to data silos and productivity issues.
- Poor understanding of CX needs: Contact center transformation should allow companies to adhere to the expectations of their customers. This means businesses need a clear view of customer journeys, priorities, pain points and goals.
Contact Center Transformation Best Practices
Contact center transformation is essential for any business to adhere to the evolving expectations of today’s consumers. However, this significant change initiative does require careful planning and strategy. Some of the best practices companies can follow include:
1. Evaluate Transformation Opportunities
The first step in a successful contact center transformation is determining what “transformation” means to your business, and what outcomes you want to achieve. Auditing existing contact center technologies and CX initiatives can help organizations to pinpoint the most valuable opportunities for modernization.
Look at the current CX strategy used by the business, the journey, channel preferences, and priorities of your audience, and ask yourself:
- Does legacy technology prevent you from serving customers on the right channels?
- Are employees spending too much time on the wrong tasks due to outdated tech?
- Are there opportunities to differentiate your brand with new CX technologies?
- Do teams have to toggle constantly between different systems to remain productive?
- What are the risks of consistently using legacy technology (lag, dropped calls, low CSAT)
Using this evaluation, companies can determine what they potentially want to achieve with their contact center transformation, and what KPIs they can monitor to ensure success.
2. Commit To Earning Full Buy-in From Key Stakeholders
True contact center transformation requires the commitment, support, and buy-in of all stakeholders in your company. The best way to earn buy-in from stakeholders is to assess the full potential ROI of an updated contact center solution, compared to the total cost of ownership.
Updating the contact center can lead to several primary and secondary benefits, from increased revenue and cost savings on managing legacy technology, to improved efficiency, first-call resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores. When presenting ROI to stakeholders, draw attention to the positive impact CX has on the overall business strategy.
Remember, 77% of consumers will leave a brand after just a few poor customer service interactions, but contact center transformation doesn’t just improve customer experience. It can also strengthen the brand reputation, reduce employee turnover, and boost productivity, as well as efficiency.
3. Focus on Empowering Employees to Improve Adoption
While the core goals of a contact center transformation project may revolve around improving CX metrics and satisfaction scores, customer and employee experience go hand-in-hand. Business leaders need more than just the buy-in of stakeholders to ensure a successful evolution.
Employees also need to be ready and willing to adopt and embrace new technologies. When examining opportunities for contact center transformation, consider how new solutions will empower and support the workforce. Moving to an all-in-one omnichannel contact center platform in the cloud will allow teams to access a single pane of glass for work, wherever they are.
Embracing AI and automation tools will minimize the number of repetitive tasks employees need to complete each day, allowing them to focus on valuable projects. Remember, even if team members are excited about new solutions, providing training and guidance, choosing user-friendly solutions, and responding to their feedback will help to ensure ongoing success.
Mastering Contact Center Transformation
The transformation of the contact center is an essential part of building a future-proof strategy for fantastic customer experience. As consumer expectations evolve, companies need contact center solutions that are agile and flexible enough to evolve with them.
Of course, navigating such a significant change in your technology stack can be complex. Ensuring you prioritize the right strategies for technology modernization, earn buy-in from key stakeholders and employees, and leverage the right tools and partnerships to simplify your migration will reduce your risk of failure.
“Transforming contact center is a complex journey that requires adaptability to integrate new tech, train agents, ensure data security, balance costs, and manage cultural shifts”, says Raman Sharma- Associate Director, Fluid Contact Center, HCLTech
An SI can help FastTrack your contact center transformation:
In today’s fast-paced business world, companies are under immense pressure to respond quickly and intelligently to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers. To achieve this goal, businesses must invest in AI and automation, which are essential tools for providing customers with immediate and relevant service, enabling employees to perform their best work, and improving operational efficiencies while reducing costs.
AI and automation encompass a wide range of technologies, such as speech analytics, chat or voicebots, and conversational AI, which can help companies shift contact volume from assisted to self-service channels. However, upgrading outdated contact center technology is mandatory, and integrating fragmented systems from multiple vendors is crucial for better understanding the customer experience through data. As the contact center becomes more complex, the help of a System Integrator has become essential for streamlining processes, reducing costs, improving efficiencies, mitigating risk, and continually improving and optimizing operations.
A System Integrator partners with organizations to identify challenges and design solutions that can be managed entirely by them or jointly by them and the organization. They assist with initial planning, identifying needs and requirements, designing and building solutions, and then running and optimizing them for continuous improvement, governed by SLAs. In short, a System Integrator helps by delegating management of contact center infrastructure and/or contact center applications, managing day-to-day contact center operations, benefitting from scale economies through an emphasis on process and automation, providing preventive, corrective, and adaptive maintenance, and facilitating ongoing changes, development, and contact center system performance measured by IT outcomes delivered.