Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

How to Improve the Customer Experience without Investing a Ton in New Technology

May 11, 2010

Due to the global recession, many organizations have postponed their technology initiatives, including investing in new technologies for the contact center. However recent reports indicate that the dark clouds are starting to clear and that companies are now ready to invest again in software and systems that can help increase operational efficiency, boost agent performance and improve the customer experience.

At the same time, most organizations will continue to try to get as much mileage as they can out of their existing hardware and systems. As a result, some will be challenged to improve their call center operations and stay competitive. Many of them are already finding that the systems they invested in just a few years ago no longer fully meet their purpose, as new, more complex compliance rules and requirements are implemented.

As a result of integrating newer systems with legacy systems, contact center complexity becomes greatly increased, requiring increased focus on monitoring, maintaining and troubleshooting disparate systems and getting them to operate smoothly in unison. This, in turn, can distract from what is really important: The quality of the agent/customer interaction and the overall customer experience.

What's more, having your call center agents use multiple applications made by different vendors - some 'legacy," some new - makes agent training challenging. Even after agents are trained very often it still slows or hinders the customer experience. In this case, every application an agent uses has a different interface or it must be accessed in a different way.

This is where today's unified desktop solutions can play a critical role. With their ability to "unify" or integrate all applications on the desktop, these solutions enable all applications to have the same "look and feel," plus certain features and capabilities can be limited so as to reduce system complexity. By simplifying the agent desktop, organizations can streamline processes and improve the speed and accuracy of their customer service. What's more, these systems allow for fast and simple integration of disparate applications -- again, whether they are legacy apps or newer versions.

The other major benefit of unified desktop solutions is that they improve operational efficiency through greater operational insight. These solutions enable call center supervisors to collect a wide range of data from disparate systems, analyze it and then package it into detailed reports that can be interpreted easily by higher level managers in order to improve the customer experience, as well as to drive strategic business decisions. Many companies are finding that by collecting this critical customer data right at the agent's desktop, they simplify the task of extracting data from multiple silos and tying it all together. What's more, many organizations are discovering that by collecting data right from the desktop they can get a clearer, more detailed "snapshot" of each customer interaction - after all, the agent desktop is where each and every aspect of an interaction is captured as it occurs.

These and other advantages of unified desktop for call center agents were explored in detail during a recent webinar, "The Interaction is the Experience: Practical Ways to Improve Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Operational Insight," presented by Cicero. During this informative webinar, Mike Garner, Chief Customer Officer for Cicero, and Neil Crane, Director of Product Strategy for Cicero, discussed why the interaction IS the experience and why it is vital to the contact center. They also explained what Customer Interaction Management (CIM) can do to boost contact center efficiency and the bottom line; and how true CIM delivers more productive users and an improved customer experience.

To access the archived version of this informative and educational webinar, click here.

Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for ContactCenterSolutions, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to ContactCenterSolutions e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard