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January 28, 2013

A Truly Unified Contact Center - What It Means for IT Teams and How It Can Benefit Customers and the Company

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

The Internet is full of anecdotes and case studies of call centers that have found value in unified communications (UC). Some call centers may be inspired by these stories to build their own UC-based contact centers, but many more companies are probably anxious about the prospect. There is no right way to build a unified contact center, and the permutations are nearly endless. No wonder it brings on anxiety.

The value of a unified contact center is clear. A UC contact center brings together intelligent call and other media routing, network-to-desktop computer telephony integration (CTI (News - Alert) (News - Alert)), state-of-the-art call treatment and multichannel customer contact management, all over an IP network infrastructure. The result is clear, reliable and high quality communication between the customer and the call center representative, which boosts the customer experience and makes the best use of call center time and resources, leading to improved key performance indicators (KPIs).

A unified contact center is able to deliver each contact to the most appropriate resource anywhere in the enterprise (or in the world), build improved customer profiles that take into account the entire customer relationship, use real-time conditions, such as available and skills-based routing, to send the contact to the individual most likely to solve the problem, and offer presence integration help improve both agent or knowledge worker performance and boost the outcome of the customer contact.

It sounds straightforward, but the truth is there are countless variations on the UC theme that can make it challenging to bring true service assurance to the contact center environment. Every unified call center platform needs to be backed up by impeccable IT resources, and not every organization possesses these. Without good IT backing, a call center risks a good user experience.

As a result, IT organizations must examine the entire process holistically and take into account the infrastructure, applications and services that enable the representative to serve the customer to a high degree. The service delivery of these functions and parts is what makes up the entire contact center user experience for both the employee and the customer.

In other words, a unified contact center begins behind the scenes with the base IT resources. Call center personnel may find themselves on shaky ground here, unsure of how to even begin.

The topic of IT support for unified contact centers will be addressed this week at ITEXPO in Miami and will include discussions on how IT organizations can create a truly unified contact center environment, including the integration of emerging channels with traditional call center technologies, to create an optimal environment for providing exceptional customer service.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert) (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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