Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

What's Hurting the Contact Center Most? Report says IT Issues

September 01, 2015

“What barriers stop you from running your dream contact center?” While for a large percentage of us it's not “contact center” so much as “shop floor” or “bank branch”, the question alone is enough to spark thought in most anyone who hears it as we all have occasion to interact with contact centers.  It obviously is a particularly relevant question to ask of those in the contact center solutions community and it is one that Call Center Helper and NewVoiceMedia set out to find some answers.

The survey, which asked over 600 members of the UK contact center industry came back with an answer at a high level which is not surprising but certainly food for thought.

Forty-four percent of respondents cited IT issues, but it was far from the only issue facing the contact center today. Other highlights from the survey include:

  •  67 percent noted budget issues
  • 40 percent cited the need for new technology in general
  • 35 percent said the technology currently in place not being intl6egrated was a restricting force for contact center development

As for what more specific measures would be taken to improve contact center operations, most called for better technology overall, getting better basic operations in place and improving systems to accommodate the newest technology. Removing the need to use legacy systems was also cited, and a more interconnected operation was also desirable. One respondent indicated a desire for a “complete customer view”, with all the necessary data on hand to best help that customer succeed.

Jonathan Gale, the CEO of NewVoiceMedia—who in part drove the project—noted surprise at technology being such a stumbling block, given the rapid growth of new cloud contact center technologies that make great new options available without a big need for budget hikes. Meanwhile, Call Centre Helper's editor Jonty Pearce offered up some comment as well, noting that the huge number of changes seen in customer service over the last several years make it “unfair” to not only expect agents to keep up with the changes, but also to do so with sub-par equipment.

Both have a point here. There has been massive development in cloud-based options for the contact center, and to not be taking advantage of these developments is doing the entire operation a disservice. It doesn't just hurt the contact center, either; it hurts the entire operation, even if it may not seem that way.

It would be easy to ask how hurting the contact center hurts production or research and development, but it does, via a surprisingly simple expedient: cash flow. The contact center is one of the biggest generators of cash flow, by dealing directly with those who pay a business for goods and services. If it's not running up to par, customers are more likely to take business elsewhere, so keeping the contact center running to its peak should be a priority. Allowing budget to deter advancement in the contact center isn't helpful; the concept of investment has long been standard for business, but requires initial outlay to make the future revenue opportunities happen.

Still, it's likely that the connection between the increased need for the contact center's best and the growth of tools available to improve such will be made soon. If it doesn't, profits are likely to suffer as a result, and no business wants to see that.

Edited by Peter Bernstein