The goal of any organization is to be more data-driven. This means making business decisions that are rooted in deep intelligence and that drive growth.
But collecting and analyzing data in a way that is meaningful isn’t easy. One promising place with previously untapped potential that many enterprises have started to invest in is the contact center or customer service center.
Millions of companies have these departments, whether they operate them themselves or outsource the services to third parties. It’s the central place where customers can contact a brand about a product or service or bill discrepancy or thousands of other reasons.
It only makes sense that contact centers are rich with customer data that, when collected and analyzed at scale, can give businesses deep insights and intelligence – related to everything from agent performance and contact center efficiency to marketing campaigns and product quality.
As companies look to turn their untapped “dark data” into business intelligence, we’ve seen a growing demand for contact center technology that can help them close that gap.
…you need to step back and assess the challenges and specific areas…
New, as well as established players, like Google, Microsoft, and Zoom, have jumped into the arena to fill the need for these solutions. As a result, the market for contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS), voice AI (artificial intelligence), chatbot, and conversational intelligence solutions is becoming increasingly saturated with options for buyers.
So, how can organizations ensure their contact center technology has the right capabilities to help meet their needs?
If you’re a decision-maker tasked with buying or upgrading contact center technology, here are four ways to ensure you get the highest return on your investment (ROI).
1. Set effective goals.
Before your company can tap into contact center data to drive transformational business change, you need to step back and assess the challenges and specific areas where you’re looking to drive improvement.
For example, is your company experiencing high turnover rates of contact center agents? Or struggling to keep up with changing compliance regulations? Or simply wanting to improve the customer experience (CX)?
When you take the time to understand where your business has room to grow and where you hope to see improvement by adopting contact center technology, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the capabilities you require and can set realistic goals and expectations.
In addition, you should have a strong sense of your company’s longer-term strategy. Does the business want to grow its customer base? Hire and recruit more employees? Exceed revenue goals?
While it may not be immediately obvious to every leader how contact center technology ties back to these bigger picture objectives, you should focus on getting multiple departments on board with the investment from the beginning and have them understand how they’ll benefit from the technology. For doing so will mean its value doesn’t get stuck in a silo.
When departmental leaders work together more effectively to action the insights that come from contact center and customer interaction data, everyone benefits – from sales and marketing to product and finance.
2. Match goals with product capabilities.
With a clear vision of your company’s areas for growth and long-term plans, you can turn to the main task at hand: identifying a contact center solution with the capabilities needed to meet these goals.
This alignment is important. If your company is simply looking to increase operational efficiency, your product needs will differ from those of a company set on boosting the customer experience.
For increased operational efficiency (improving contact center agents’ performance, adhering to compliance regulations, decreasing customer handle time, etc.), you should look for a solution that provides contact center supervisors with more insight into customer-agent interactions.
With this, supervisors will be empowered to give agents more objective feedback, identify patterns that happen on calls between agents and customers, or correct an interaction that misses important compliance requirements while it’s still in progress with real-time agent guidance.
All of which help make processes more streamlined in the contact center. And by improving operational efficiency, both customers and employees will reap the benefits and have a better experience.
Contact center technology is useful in other contexts…
On the other hand, if your company is focused on boosting the customer experience (handling customer complaints, interpreting customer sentiment and emotion, moving beyond customer satisfaction surveys, etc.), the solution should provide deeper insight into the customer journey.
You should look for a solution with capabilities like sentiment analysis, and most importantly emotion analysis, to understand customers’ paths – what’s working for them, what’s not, and how they’re behaving. This data can be used inside and outside the contact center to inform how the business supports customers at all stages of their journeys.
Contact center technology is useful in other contexts besides operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, as well.
For example, your company may have business goals outside these categories or have a more specific use case in mind.
You might be undertaking a rebrand and looking to augment solicited customer feedback, like surveys, with unsolicited feedback to better understand how customers perceive and interact with the brand or even specific marketing campaigns and offers.
Or you might be considering new product features and looking for insights into product pain points to help better inform updates in the product roadmap or even net-new products.
These are just a few examples in a long list of reasons why your company might be interested in buying or upgrading its contact center technology. It’s easy to see why you must align tech capabilities with your company’s unique goals to find the right solution.
3. Select a true vendor partner.
With the increase of contact center technology solutions available to organizations, you will likely find more than one solution that fits your needs. How should you choose which solution to adopt and differentiate between options?
While the capability of any solution is critically important, there are other factors to consider, including what the vendor can bring to the table in terms of industry expertise, innovation, and customer service. In a hot market like contact center technology, there’s a steady stream of new players.
…companies must select a vendor that will operate as a true partner.
But vendors that are pioneers in the industry and have tuned into the evolving landscape for years have a solid foundation of experience that newcomers lack. These vendors typically know the market in and out and have a firm grasp of changing customer needs.
While the competitive market validates the value of contact center technology, it also creates an environment in which vendors need to be agile and state-of-the-art to stay in the game. Vendors with a solid product foundation can spend more energy on product innovation to give customers the highest return on investment.
All this comes down to one concept — companies must select a vendor that will operate as a true partner.
A vendor’s customer success team should be able to communicate how their solution works across different industries and use cases and advise customers about different product capabilities that align with their needs.
This is especially important as use cases for contact center technology continue to expand and the tech itself becomes more sophisticated.
4. Continually measure and monitor ROI.
After identifying a solution with the right capabilities, it then gets integrated into the contact center technology stack.
But what happens next is equally important – you need to have a plan to make sure that the tool leads to tangible outcomes. You should monitor whether the solution is addressing the business challenges identified during the buying process and if it’s keeping your business on track to meet its longer-term goals.
To measure and monitor the impact of the technology, you should also be clear about how the insights are being shared within the contact center and across the enterprise. For instance, is the data only driving change within the contact center itself, or are there systems in place to share data insights with leaders in different departments to maximize the impact?
As a decision-maker tasked with buying or upgrading your company’s contact center technology, you have a lot to consider.
But by taking a step-by-step approach to the process and thinking through short-term business challenges and long-term goals before buying, you can feel confident that the tools you choose will have the right capabilities to meet your needs and bring the most value to your business.