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October 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 5
Ask the Experts

Investing In Your Business Without Spending A Fortune

By Tim Passios,
Director of Product Management, Interactive Intelligence

With so much talk about recession and cutting costs, it’s no wonder there are so many fears surrounding capital spending. Despite economic uncertainty, companies still have plans to replace or upgrade legacy systems. In fact, this may be a better time to do so then the analysts lead us to believe.

Yes, replacing or upgrading technology can be costly (in some cases), but if you know what to look for, you can end up saving money and increasing your profit margin in the long run.

I get questions all the time from people asking me how to cut IT spending. First, it isn’t as much about the expense as it is the longterm investment. If you see potential problems with the product or solution you are considering for your business, it’s probably a sign for you to run the other way. Consider the following before you choose your solution.

1. Look at the big picture. Take a thorough look at your communications strategy for the near term and the future to be sure that the solution you choose will serve you now and grow with you later.

2. Avoid stop gap point solutions. Solutions that only solve one problem end up creating additional problems down the road. Purchase “platform” solutions that have the ability to grow with you as your business grows – not only in scale, but in functionality, too.

3. Invest in software-based solutions. Avoid hardware solutions as they are more costly and add complexity. Software-based systems offer more flexibility in an easy-to-manage solution.

4. Invest in open-standards solutions. Open-standards solutions allow you to unify every aspect of your business communications.

5. Leave your customers satisfied. Choose a solution that offers your customers open communication with staff members who can resolve their issues quickly and efficiently.

Some companies have used these suggestions to invest in improvement processes that bring value to their business:

One of the largest entertainment and travel reservation agencies in Las Vegas, Nevada U.S.A. evaluated their communications strategy prior to deploying an all-in-one communications software suite that provides multi-channel contact center automation in their call center. By doing so they increased their agent revenue by 347%. Additionally, the solution allowed them to handle more than twice the interactions while cutting their staff in half.

The Las Vegas based company’s previous system would not allow them to handle the more than 3,000,000 interactions they were receiving per month. Furthermore they were forced to abandon more than 2,000 interactions per month. Since the deployment, they’ve noticed an increase in customer and employee satisfaction. In fact, they reported a zero turnover rate in 24 months.

A large information services company was tired of spending money on stop gap point solutions to solve short-term issues. By deploying open standards, software-based technology in the call center they simplified installation and administration as well as reduced maintenance and support fees.

Since the initial deployment, they incorporated the same technology in the enterprise. In doing so, they’ve seen an increase in revenue, customer satisfaction, and flexibility allowing for conferencing and team collaboration to be used to resolve customer issues. This has resulted in reduced call times by approximately 40 seconds per call.

Another company, an “e-distributor” of chemical products and services reported savings of approximately $100,000 in a year due to deploying an all-software solution. They eliminated expenses on cabling, station cards, and other costs they would have otherwise incurred had they used a traditional, TDM-based solution.

So, whether you decide to make changes during a time of economic uncertainty or a in a booming economy, open standards, softwarebased solutions allow you flexibility to scale and customize your business communications system with changing business needs. The more you do to improve the processes your employees use to enhance the experience for your customers, the more value you bring to your organization. So, even though short-term savings will not be readily apparent, the long-term savings will be immense.

Do you have a clear strategy for improving your business communications?

Tim Passios (News - Alert) is Director of Solutions Marketing for Interactive Intelligence Inc. and has more than 17 years experience in the contact center industry. Interactive Intelligence is a leading provider of IP business communications software and services for the contact center and the enterprise, with more than 3,000 installations in nearly 70 countries. For more information, contact Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) at [email protected] or (317) 872-3000.

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