Is legacy equipment holding you back in a customer-centric world?

Enda Kenneally, West

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9 March 2017 | 0

The shift from technology to business-driven agendas is putting IT departments under pressure. IT is expected to meet the needs of an increasingly mobile and distributed workforce, while helping to increase employee productivity and supporting collaboration and information-sharing. Added to that is the need to update the communications infrastructure for a new customer-centric world, where delivering an outstanding customer experience will be a key business priority.

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By 2020, Forrester predicts that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. To ensure their company stays competitive, IT departments will need to deliver new applications and enable new technologies that can demonstrate measurable impacts on business value, often while under pressure to drive down costs. A key focus will be the customer service operation, which is under huge pressure to respond to changing customer behaviours.

Adapting to a customer-centric world
Consumers have enthusiastically embraced digital channels. They expect customer service representatives to know who they are, what they want and how to resolve their enquiry — whether by email, web chat or traditional voice calls. The majority (88%) of customer service professionals expect digital interaction to overtake voice calls by 2020 or sooner.

Yet according to research carried out by West, legacy equipment is preventing 54% of companies from rolling out multimedia infrastructure and almost half from meeting their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Other frustrations with premises-based technology include the cost of upgrades, technical limitations, long deployment times and costly integrations.

Within the contact centre, efficiency- driven KPIs such as Average Speed to Answer are being replaced by qualitative measures such as First Call Resolution and Customer Satisfaction, with a focus on reducing customer effort. Yet, 30% of all customers report spending a high level of effort to resolve their problem. Switching from the Web to the phone, having to re-explain an issue and having to repeatedly contact a company are three of the biggest causes of customer effort. Most of these can be avoided if your contact centre is designed to resolve queries first time.

Equipping customer service to meet customers’ demand for seamless communications across multiple channels — and often multiple locations — should be a priority. While money-saving has historically been the primary driver for cloud-based contact centres, decision-makers are increasingly realising the strategic benefits of moving to cloud services that are purpose-built for a multichannel world.

Ahead in the cloud
By choosing the right cloud-based system, you will have the flexibility to empower customer service agents by building processes around the customer, rather than outdated technology. And, the cloud means you can get the best of both worlds. You don’t have to completely rip out and replace all your perhaps-not-fully-depreciated on-premises equipment.

Cloud applications such as call routing software, customer relationship management systems, workforce management software, call recording software and IVR systems can all run alongside existing on-premises systems. This approach helps to prove the benefits of a cloud-based solution and build the business case. It is a good way to help you get your foot into the cloud and experience many of the benefits that can accrue to your business and your customers. More importantly it will ensure that your infrastructure is ready for a customer-centric future.

 

 

Enda Kenneally is vice president of Sales and Business Development, UKI, at West

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