Contact centre platforms, increasingly recognised as CX or customer experience platforms, are critical to delivering not only voice but digital experiences to your customers and employees.
With new entrants to the market, existing vendors innovating at pace, different levels, or capacity to integrate, and varied/challenging commercial models, how do you select the right platform? Where do you even start?
The good news is that regardless of your size of business, many vendors not only scale up, but they scale down, too. Both Genesys and Amazon work with us on some of the largest contact centres in Australia, some of the smallest, and of course, everything in between.
Cloud contact centre vs on premises contact centre
Undoubtedly, your first consideration is cloud or on-premises. The majority of today’s organisations will opt for a cloud-based platform.
Reasons for this include:
- Better ROI
- Better integration
- Less dependency on technical staff
- Speed of implementation
- Easy access to global talent
- More reliable technology
Leading vendors including Telstra partners, Amazon Connect, and Genesys offer highly secure and certified platforms with verifiable scale and resilience. In considering which cloud platform is right for you, it’s critical to check for security, scale, and uptime credentials. Data sovereignty may also be an issue, so it’s important to find out if all or part of your customer data is being stored offshore.
Build, bolt, or buy?
If you’re opting for a cloud contact centre, the vendor market offers two broad options;
- Building a customised contact centre solution for your business by combining different components. This approach allows you to build a platform around your strategy, without having to compromise because of potential technology limitations. However, it may require you to employ developers and integrators, as well as potentially manage the solution moving forward, particularly where there is integration and a need to ensure ongoing compatibility. This approach is often common with banks and utilities.
An alternative to this approach is to invest in a productised or prebuilt solution with the capacity to “bolt on” additional components. You can buy the components you need and add more later as your requirements increase.
- Buying a fully integrated, prebuilt platform that has most, if not all, the capability and features that you would require—things like predictive routing, IVR, workforce engagement (WEM), reporting, etc. The benefit of this approach is that everything is included and fully integrated; nothing more is required but to wait for platform upgrades and feature enhancements as they’re rolled out. The downside, however, may be that you have to compromise on the capacity of certain features or capabilities.
What does the contact centre platform integrate with?
Your contact centre platform is the beating heart of your customer and employee contact. It is vital it can integrate easily with your core business platforms such as CRM and service desk through easily enabled APIs. Find out if the platform you’re evaluating has proven integrations into the solutions you will require integration with, the speed of integration, and the costs (if any).
Ideally, the platform you select should be supported with a marketplace or group of vendor certified partners, who can easily plug into the platform to deliver new or enhanced functionality. This approach can enable access to best-of-breed solutions and niche products relevant to your organisation, as well as help you leverage some of your existing solutions.
Catering to digital channels
Voice remains an important channel, but it’s vital that the platform you use has the ability to support digital channels as part of a wider digital strategic initiative. This should include SMS, social media, and chat.
Look to see which features the platform has. Those to look out for include: omni-channel routing, intelligent or predictive routing, IVR, customer self-service, outbound, recording, and deep reporting.
Ease of use
Your platform of choice should have an intuitive, easy-to-learn management administration interface capability to cover all of the tasks you may reasonably be expected to complete. Consider new campaigns, new starters, and the “what if” scenarios that apply to your business.
The more you can easily know of your interactions, the faster you will optimise your service and deliver the results your business requires. Dig deep into the reporting and analytics capabilities of your potential platform; you want to know more than basic contact centre statistics such as talk time or number of calls. If the vendor of choice cannot provide the depth of what you need, then a certified partner should be available.
Workforce engagement and agent satisfaction
We know a happy, engaged, enabled, and empowered agent delivers the best customer service and they are more likely to stay with a business that supports them. Understand how the platform will enable this—particularly in relation to your business, to the applications, and to the process that your agents need to follow. Consider what additional services can be enabled or delivered to support a positive agent experience.
Choose the right partner to deliver and innovate
Look for a platform that has an availability of local, highly skilled partners, preferably that are required to undergo training and certification.
Select a partner that has the depth and breadth not only to deliver the solution, but who can drive the most value from your platform by ensuring enterprise-wide integration and ongoing innovation.
Look for long-term experience, numbers of certified and skilled permanent employees, support desks and solid reference sites.
Ask for advice
Ask the vendor for references or site visits, ask various associations such as the Telemarketing associations, and look at analyst reports. Build a multi-disciplinary team within your business to review the platform, including your contact centre people and your wider teams such as digital, processing, financial etc.
We have deployed hundreds of contact centres across Australia, and we manage our own internal contact centres as well. We’d be happy to talk through your requirements and help you choose a platform that’s right for your organisation.