Upgrading the contact center

Businesses that want to get closer to their customers are transforming their conventional call centers into multichannel contact centers that support telephone, e-mail, and the Web. Among the key technologies that will take your center to the next level:

  1. Open-systems foundation

    An open-systems (standards-based) communications platform increases the ability to easily integrate voice and data management. Stepping away from complex, expensive, proprietary telephony systems and eliminating the need for proprietary network components and gateways will greatly simplify application integration and infrastructure management and reduce operational costs.

  2. Self-service applications

    Modern Internet protocol (IP) contact center software gives you sophisticated automation and integration options that will help cut staffing costs while allowing customers to do business with you when and how they want. Typical self-service applications enable customers to initiate requests and check account balances without having to speak with an agent.

  3. Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)

    Businesses can unify communications among departments and multiple sites by connecting their phone systems to their data network via VoIP. Among other benefits, VoIP enables you to easily add and reduce staff based on seasonal sales cycles and to add remote agents without the need for special hardware or proprietary solutions.

  4. Customer information applications

    The marriage of CRM and VoIP technology should be making people think of marketing, sales, service desks, contact centers, and CRM as complementary facets of a single customer relationship “bead” threaded across all other operational strings. For example, screen pops with customer information pulled from contact management systems can provide contact center reps with insight for resolving callers’ needs even before they answer the phone.

  5. Quality management and call recording

    Only with proactive quality management can you analyze customer interaction and identify trends in customer needs or in the way employees are meeting customer demands.

Greg Anderson is senior director of product marketing for FrontRange Solutions, a Dublin, CA-based provider of CRM software and services.