Hosted Contact Center Featured Article

The Ultimate Productivity Tool: The Unified Desktop

May 03, 2006

By TMCnet Special Guest
Randy Saunders, Marketing Director, Cincom Customer Experience Management Products,


From Job Satisfaction to Better Business Intelligence – The Desktop Brings It Together
 
 
Fundamentally, people enjoy being good at their jobs, and they enjoy being provided with the means to do their jobs well. Knowledge empowers the smart agent, and ready access to appropriate information for each customer makes the challenge of a diverse customer base much more manageable and enjoyable for front-line employees. Job satisfaction is closely tied to the ability to understand and execute the tasks at hand, and the unified desktop is an important tool for employee empowerment.
 
Routine customer-service interactions may require agents to interact with five, 10 or even 15 or more systems. Much of the time, these systems are ignorant of one another, requiring agents to log on each time they access a new system. This requires customer data to be re-keyed with each new program, each with its own unique interface that must be learned and mastered over time.
 
The only way agents can be productive and meet their performance and satisfaction targets is to understand the slate of tools at their disposal. As a result, companies that persist in relying on multiple disconnected agent applications on the desktop condemn themselves to lengthy, complex agent training practices that must touch on each and every application, documenting all of the use cases, dependencies, and quirks of each one. This is expensive and time-consuming. The alternative, skimping on agent training, leads to wasted time, increased escalation, and lower customer satisfaction.
 
Unifying the agent experience into a single, consistent desktop takes the complexities out of the training process and job performance. By promoting a single, browser- and tab-based approach that is widely understood by computer-literate professionals, enterprises can streamline the agent education process, making it easier to bring new agents online without spending weeks in technical training. Cutting out lectures on green-screen etiquette also frees up more time for value-boosting activities, such as cross-selling briefings and product education. Simplification equates to higher job performance and satisfaction.
 
Productivity Beyond the Contact Center
Bringing the entire contact center in sync with the same customer-service desktop has a significant benefit for management reporting and understanding as well. Because all agents have the same tools and techniques at their fingertips, meaningful, apples-to-apples comparisons between all of the agents on the service force are possible. Other metrics, such as customer cost-to-serve and cost-per-sale, are also free of distorting variables.
 
Management is also more clearly able to see the impact of call resolution because call closure procedures are uniform, no matter what back-end functionality comes into play during the course of the call. Compare that to a contact center using several customer-service desktop tools, where post-call procedures may differ by application and involve inconsistent closure status codes, or not even offer the same abilities to record the status of the inquiry and the customer’s post-call disposition. A consistent view into post-call activity makes understanding customer lifecycle and retention trends much easier.
 
The universal desktop view also makes it considerably easier for constituencies such as sales, marketing, and finance to understand the customer-service business processes at play and tailor their own activities accordingly. Marketing and the contact center, for instance, can quickly find themselves at odds if customer campaigns are launched when the support staff is not prepared for an increase in call demand or the new requests that will be generated by customer response. When marketing and service can work together, using a common frame of reference provided by the universal desktop, such conflicts are far less likely. In fact, the thin-client accessibility of many available universal desktops enables employees and executives across the company to see the exact customer service experience, without the need to deploy additional programs or special access on the user’s desktop.
 
The concept of a “universal” desktop shouldn’t be mistaken with one that is inherently inflexible or ill-suited to a diverse work environment. On the contrary, the universal desktop concept is particularly well suited to diverse, complex working environments because the desktop view can be tailored to instantly adapt to the task at hand, whether categorized based on user role or access clearance, or the topic of the customer interaction. Universal desktops can be quickly configured to support multiple departments and customer campaigns simply by implementing rules that dictate how the desktop will appear to each user, all without requiring the user to change applications or even know what functionality they will need at any given time.
 
The More They Know, the More You Grow
Every aspect of modern business runs on information, and the contact center is the hub of knowledge flow, both into and out of the organization. Bringing sensible presentation and a unified view of critical business data to every agent desktop is a meaningful and critical way to rationalize the powerful yet uncoordinated applications that drive each and every customer touch, and improve client value at every opportunity.
 
Every touch in the contact center, whether inbound or outbound, represents a unique and immediate opportunity to extend and strengthen a customer relationship. Each interaction, whether it is a sale or a save situation, requires that your agents be prepared to respond quickly to the unique demands of the individual customer, and have the best decision support available. The universal desktop gives your organization the best chance to make the right decisions for customer satisfaction and profit growth, each and every time a customer interacts.
 
This article is an excerpt from the Cincom white paper “Grow Your Business: The Value of Knowledge in the Contact Center.”
 
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Randy Saunders is the marketing director for Cincom’s Customer Experience Management products. He can be contacted at rsaunders@cincom.com.
 
For nearly 40 years, Cincom’s software and services have helped thousands of clients worldwide simplify the management of complex business processes. Cincom specializes in the five areas of business where simplification brings the greatest value to managers who want to grow revenue, control costs, minimize risk, and achieve rapid ROI better than their competitors: Data Management; Marketing, Sales and Customer Service; Application Development; Manufacturing Business; and Outsourcing. For more information about Cincom, call 1-800-2CINCOM (USA only), send an e-mail to info@cincom.com, or visit the company’s website at www.cincom.com.