Throughout our 22 years of experience, Aria’s developed a methodology that we use to help our clients achieve unified customer engagement centers.
In our last blog, I discussed common contact center challenges and shared how four organizations overcame them.
Those challenges — siloed technologies, inflexible infrastructure, introducing or maintaining multiple channels, limited agent visibility — are some of the most common obstacles facing contact centers today.
Whether your contact center is facing one of those challenges or you’re aiming to expand your center’s capabilities, the first step is not choosing a technology or contact center solution to fix the issue.
First, you must:
- Assess the contact center to determine the problem you’re out to solve
- Quantify the benefit of solving that problem with a business case
- Create a strategy and roadmap to fix it
- Create parameters so you can adequately judge/compare technologies and solutions
This blog will take you through each of the four steps.
Step 1: Assess the Contact Center
The first step is assessing your contact center so you truly understand what problem you’re out to solve. This is more challenging than it may seem.
Before jumping into an assessment, go back to the vision or direction that the company has defined and the objectives that have been laid out. A company might be striving to provide high touch service to help own a niche market, and good customer experience is important to that.
To meet these objectives, the company will need certain capabilities, which might not be possible to meet with the current technology. Thus, an assessment will be required to understand the gaps that need to be filled. Examples could be adding digital channels, conversational enabled self-service, or having a single view of the customer across all departments.
But in the world of customer engagement, one challenge is often tied to, or related to, another.
For example, if you’re looking to better enable your agents at their desktop, you’ll likely find that changes will be necessary to the routing system as well as to the IVR or bot. You have to look at the contact center holistically to properly understand the challenge you’re facing and to identify appropriate solutions.
If your gap requires adding digital communication channels so your customers can reach you more easily on their channel of choice, the impact of that change will be felt throughout all areas of the contact center, from the“front door,” to routing, to how agents are enabled to handle the new channel — even to how workforce management schedules get created.
- Examine your current contact center operations to assess processes, prioritize gaps, and identify efficiency opportunities affecting business objectives and the customer experience
- Evaluate the existing technology, providing recommendations on how to better leverage it, and where new technology could be of benefit
- Build a comprehensive and holistic report of your contact center, covering all the systems that make up a contact center solution, such as ACD, WFM, routing, QA, digital channels, customer journeys, self-service (IVR, voice and chat bots), and CRMs
Step 2: Make the Business Case
Now that you have identified the gaps that need to be filled in your contact center, the next step is to quantify the benefit of filling those gaps.
Creating a business case and conducting ROI modeling for each potential change will help you understand the immediate and long-term financial results you can expect, win the support of other stakeholders and identify must-have features for when you are comparing solutions in Step 4.
- Identify key cost items, such as cost per call or interaction, or their cost elements such as labor cost per hour and interaction volumes
- Identify all activities that consume your agents’ time. With siloed systems, activity might be captured in different systems
- Include future growth projections
Step 3: Create a Strategy and Roadmap
Now that you’ve clearly identified your contact center’s goals and backed them up with a business case, it’s time to create a strategy and a step-by-step plan to get it done.
- Create a list of actionable recommendations to fill the gaps identified
- Identify the initiatives/technologies required to implement these recommendations, which could include:
- System integration or silo management
- Omnichannel engagement
- Cloud migration
- Business analytics
- CX analytics
- Workforce management
- Create a roadmap that includes a timeline to complete each initiative, important milestones, opportunities to quantify progress made, an objective measure of success (call center KPIs, customer metrics, business metrics, etc.)
Step 4: Identify a Contact Center Solution Vendor
Now that you’ve adequately assessed the challenges facing your contact center, tied them to a business case, and created a roadmap and strategy to overcome them, it’s time to identify an actual solution. Easier said than done.
There are countless options to choose from. New technologies aimed at contact center challenges seem to appear every day.
- Identify budget for a new contact center solution based on the business model in Step 2
- Find solutions that offer all required technology, must-have functionalities and support levels based on the recommendations in Step 3
- Identify the capabilities, fit and risks associated with each solution considered
Throughout our 22 years of experience, we’ve developed and refined our approach to delivering CX solutions to help our clients achieve unified customer engagement centers, including some of the world’s biggest organizations.
Our customers don’t just see us as contact center experts or vendors. They see us as a part of their internal team responsible for building strategies and direction, recommending technology and providing direction on how the solution should be implemented.
For the past 22 years we have empowered 550,000 agents and completed over 1,200 successful projects.
Thanks for reading!
Noel Roberts serves as Aria Solutions’ Chief Technology Officer and VP of Marketing. He co-founded Aria with Robert Church in 1997. Prior to Aria, Noel founded Synapse, a software development company where he provided senior software development expertise in telecom peripheral equipment and computer telephony systems. At Aria, a big part of his role involves helping enterprise-size contact centers with full assessments, business, IT and CX strategy, roadmap development, and technology and vendor evaluation and selection. In his leisure time, Noel likes traveling and going to the rustic lake cabin with his family, reading about science and tech, and playing with new tech gadgets.
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