Increasing the Communications Value of the Contact Center
The days when the contact center was simply a giant room full of people who made and took phone calls is long gone. While telephone calls remain an integral part of customer support, customers have gone multichannel and today expect to be able to email, chat, text, tweet, video call and find their own answers. An effective contact center today is an omnichannel wonder in which agents and customers swing between communications channels, sometimes within the same transaction, with no loss of knowledge (and no need to repeat themselves).
By making themselves increasingly indispensable to the companies they support, contact centers today are creating more value for themselves and for their organizations, according to a recent blog post by Tim Kimber writing for Mitel (News - Alert). This means that the contact center technology has to keep up with the changing requirements of the work patterns taking place in the contact center.
“For instance, as consumers shift their media preferences beyond telephone calls to interact with organizations, so the contact center needs to cater for email, SMS messages, webchat, social media and so on,” he wrote. “It is often the case that these other media types were previously handled in other areas of the organization, so the contact center needs to show excellence in all media channels to attract this new type of work.”
What’s vital is that call center management understand that all these channels need to be visible to one another and properly integrated and supported from the same platform, which can be used regardless of location, including by mobile workers. This allows contact centers to compare, contrast and fine-tune all the different elements of the customer journey. One of the extra tasks being given to the contact center includes work traditionally done by receptionists.
“Maybe it’s just to cover for lunch breaks, holidays or sickness. It could also be an overflow function when incoming call volumes are high,” he wrote. “Or it might be that the contact center is fully responsible for the receptionist function. Historically, this has required the contact center agent to have access to a separate ‘Attendant Agent’ application in order to be able to handle those calls and transfer them in or out of the contact center.”
Call center management is often resistant to adding these duties to the contact center’s tasks. They typically prefer that contact center agents stay within their contact center application, monitoring all calls, emails, SMS, Web chats, social media, mobile apps and more from one place. With a good platform, however, agents can handle calls wherever they come from, and easily transfer them within the contact center or outside as needed. This puts the contact center into the driving seat when it comes to nearly all organizational communications, and it adds value to the work done by the contact center without adding significantly to the burden.
Edited by Alicia Young