This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
Today’s customer demands a lot. Companies must quickly respond to these demands or risk losing the customer forever, and perceptions of an organization are often defined by the contact center experience.
Customers expect 24/7 service from knowledgeable representatives who have quick access to information, provide accurate resolutions and service with a virtual smile. Customers also expect the ability to interact seamlessly with organizations in a variety of ways, including phone, e-mail, web chat, video, text and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook (News - Alert).
No longer can enterprises afford to not focus on contact center interactions. Internet protocol technology allows contact centers to virtualize, quickly deploy advanced applications and provide an integrated customer service experience.
Virtualization enables dispersed call centers the ability to better manage peak call volumes. An IP infrastructure also makes it easier for an organization to scale contact centers and centralize maintenance and support, a key consideration when calculating the total cost of ownership.
Computer telephony integration can provide up-to-date customer information to the agent desktop, ensuring a personalized contact experience and the ability to cross-sell and up-sell services and products. Presence-based applications also allow agents to locate enterprise expertise outside the contact center, quickly determine availability of a subject matter expert, and bridge them into the call. This provides the right resource at the right time to service customers and increases first-call resolution, a critical factor in customer satisfaction and retention.
IP contact centers also enable the concept of location-independent agents and supervisors. Enabling remote workers to be a part of the larger base of employees, who have access to enterprise applications, allows companies to have flexibility in scheduling and can tap into a global labor market, managing real estate and employee costs.
IP technology, in and of itself, does not improve customer interactions. It does, however, provide benefits that enhance customer relationships through improved operational efficiencies. It makes the customer contact center a strategic differentiator, providing companies with a competitive advantage in today's demanding marketplace.
Jeremy Chapman, Forsythe unified communications practice manager (www.forsythe.com).
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi