Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Streamlining the Fragmented Contact Center

March 20, 2013

Technology is a wonderful thing, especially in the contact center environment. It can be used to simplify processes, automate time consuming tasks, allow customers to complete self-service options and monitor for performance. At the same time, technology can also cause bottlenecks and efficiency issues when too many solutions are trying to do too many separate things.

In fact, according to this Voice4Net blog, fragmentation of technology is one of the biggest challenges in the contact center environment. Agents are forced to learn and then simultaneously manage five or six disparate applications to then manage a simple request from the customer.

This fragmentation is the result of a number of different realities in the industry. Companies merge with other companies, consolidating assets and often patching platforms together in a disjointed system. Expansions may also be the cause when ideas lead to actions without strategy. The for-the-moment solutions are focused on generating revenue at that moment, instead of the long-term impact on the environment.

Misguided budgeting can also be the cause of the disjointed contact center when managers make decisions that sidestep important elements to save a few dollars upfront. Connectivity middleware products that often serve as vital connectivity points between platforms are set aside in favor of meeting budget requirements instead of functionality needs. This shortsighted approach ignores the problems that can occur down the road that will inevitably drive unnecessary costs.

Voice4Net aims to streamline this disjointed approach to operations and help contact center clients get back on track. To explore what the company offers and what they have in store for the future, ContactCenterSolutions invited CEO Richard McFarland into the newsroom at ITEXPO in Miami.

“Fragmentation is a real problem in the industry because people don’t just have budgets to buy everything off the shelf and forklift upgrade what they have,” shared McFarland. “They have to integrate legacy systems. So a lot of times you will have an agent who has to have half dozen different things on his desktop.”

“We call it the Alt-Tab syndrome where they have to Alt in and out of different applications. So what we do to solve fragmentation is to literally make it so they only have single user interface or user experience and this includes integration into their legacy system such as a CRM application or an old data base type application that they might have.”

This is especially true when mobility enters the mix. Adding another channel to support customer interactions, work-at-home agents and contact center leaders who may not be working in the physical center introduces new complexities. The company’s new tablet solution to support the contact center is one to notice.

“Well, a lot of the mobility pieces that have been coming out in the market these days, are based on the end user, cell phone, application, mobile apps, etc.,” McFarland said. “What we decided to do was take mobility, specifically tablets, and put that into the enterprise. So that you can literally use a tablet to manage and operate an entire call center or contact center using multi-media capabilities. A real simple user face that makes it easy to manage as opposed to have to be right in front of a computer screen at all times.”

To learn more about this company’s approach to streamlining operations in the contact center, access this video interview in full.

Edited by Brooke Neuman