The New-Age Decision Making Process
These days, when an IT department is only partially involved in choosing new technology for various business needs, Managers who want to upgrade their department's software and hardware must be able to navigate the complex tech waters. Therefore, SaaS developers are adjusting their marketing to meet non-IT audience expectations. Suddenly, you find yourself buried in tons of white papers, infographics and videos promoting similar features for different brands.
The above is just as true for the cloud communication solutions industry as it is for any other rapidly evolving industry. In this post, we attempt to help Contact Center Managers create criteria for choosing and evaluating the new contact center solution that meets their business goals.
The Standard Approach
In most cases, contact center solution sales operate as follows:
- After clicking on the banner or downloading another white paper, you receive an introductory call. The person on the phone gathers basic information about your contact center and the current solution you use.
- Then the solution demo is arranged for you with one of the sales reps. The demo usually covers the features you use with your current solution (and how theirs perform better) plus additional features you don't have but might be interested in.
The caveat to this method is that it appears as a consultative sales approach, but it actually covers only sizing and features. This method is missing the most important point. It fails to ensure this technology fits your company's roadmap and will evolve along with your business.
The Better Approach
Having been in the contact center technology business for 20 years, we have tackled enough solutions for various companies to tell that there is no standard approach that works for everyone. The approach we described above is about fitting a business into a solution rather than creating solution for a business.
Our approach is based on best practices, which we’ve collected and tested over many years of contact center solution design and implementation. Here are the baseline steps we recommend to all Contact Center Managers when they are choosing and evaluating a new solution or a partner to handle the project.
1. Define Your Contact Center's Goals
At the introductory communication with a solutions provider, make sure that you make it clear where you want to take your contact center in the future. Make them review your current business environment and assess whether they can design a contact center solution that meets your goals.
2. Maturity Assessment of Your Current Solution
It is not enough to just throw additional features into your contact center solution, hoping that they will help improve overall performance. To design the new solution and make sure it will do what you require, you need to assess the maturity of your current contact center.
This includes not only the software and hardware that your agents use today, but also the flow of data through all the business processes and reports design. How does the data get to your agents? How do your agents handle communications and through what channels? Where will this data go afterwards, and how will it be stored and processed for future communications?
This also involves a revision of your workforce, as you plan for new skill trainings for agents and supervisors, or hire new staff.
Finally, you need to make sure you’re asking the right questions regarding the customer journey.
- Do you know all the details of your customer journey?
- Are you going to redefine it?
- Will you consider implementing self-service tools?
- How will they integrate with the work flows?
- What new channels are you planning to include in your customer communication process?
Think about these elements in advance and make sure your solutions provider takes them into consideration when designing a new solution for you.
3. What is C-Suite's Vision of the Contact Center's Role?
It is important that your contact center's goals are aligned with the overall business strategy. When working with a solutions provider, you need to make sure they understand the vision that the company leaders have for the contact center. They should also understand what challenges need to be addressed to increase the value of the contact center for the business owners. This might include creating a visible ROI, clear reporting, or a detailed customer journey and its connection to the customer experience.
4. Contact Center Vision Roadmap
As a result of these exercises, your solutions provider should be able to create a detailed roadmap for your contact center that includes its current maturity level, a destination goal and a staged journey in between. This roadmap should be your starting point when selecting new technology. Having this document in hand, a solution provider will be able to offer solutions that fit your specific needs and complement your roadmap.
The approach we’ve described is a true consultative method for any size contact center and any kind of technology. Although it may take a few additional steps and some effort, it guarantees great results.
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