Getting Help From Hosted Contact Center Systems

Feb 25, 2009 3:03 AM  By

Cutting costs and improving customer service are everlasting business goals in any economy. With capital expense budgets shrinking, however, more organizations are adding a third goal to the list: extending the life of their existing contact center infrastructure. In other words, companies want to deliver better service at lower costs using the software and hardware they already own.

The concept is to give users a system that offers the feature-rich functionality and benefits of on-demand contact center service delivery, while leveraging existing infrastructure. The newly integrated and enhanced contact center should provide:

–Investment protection: The hosted contact center service can be integrated with existing enterprise-wide systems, so the merchant’s investment is protected and leveraged as part of the hosted system. Additional investments in future networking and unified communications technologies can also be leveraged by integration.

–A unified enterprise telephony and desktop system: Enterprises can use their exiting IP phones for both contact center agents and other enterprise users. All workers have just one phone and use the same phone system. One phone on every desk makes training and use simpler and saves money.

–Rapid return on investment and lower total cost of ownership: On their own, hosted contact center solutions are faster and less expensive to implement than customer premises-based contact centers and require no ongoing capital equipment or maintenance fee investment.

Integrating a hosted contact center service with an existing corporate infrastructure may be the first exposure to a hosted solution for some organizations. These companies will likely find that a hosted contact center system lets their IT organizations focus on high priority, company-specific initiatives instead of the activities associated with managing and operating a premises-based contact center.

Done properly, the hosted contact center system should become the center of a customized, flexible, completely managed service that integrates not just with existing infrastructure, but also with best-of-breed services and technologies—both today’s and tomorrow’s.

What’s more, the hosted contact center can also integrate with and manage carrier and network services, CRM software, and other industry or customer-specific applications that customers may require to run their business in a cost effective and customer service focused manner.

Organizations that extend their existing technology infrastructure through integration with hosted contact center services can take immediate advantage of a new hosted contact center system that is:

–On demand: Customers can quickly and easily scale their agent pool up or down in response to seasonal demands and other fluctuations in call volume. Features can be added whenever needed.

–Always on: Service and support are available around the clock.

–Guaranteed: Service level agreements guarantee the entire platform’s service, availability, customer support, performance, and reliability.

–End-to-end: A managed technology service and contact center system incorporating traditional landline or VoIP calling, computer telephony integration, automatic call distribution, workforce integration, interactive voice response, and other customer-specific integrations.

–Carrier grade: Multitenant architecture, stringent data and physical security, continual back-up procedures, systems redundancy, and more help hosted solutions providers achieve carrier-grade performance and reliability.

As long as the economy continues to limp along, extending an investment through hosted contact center services that are integrated with existing infrastructure may offer an immediate route to better customer service at lower costs—a destination that will be just as popular when the economy rebounds.

Bruce Dresser is chief marketing officer for Echopass Corp., a provider of on-demand hosted contact center solutions.