Ease your Contact Center Deployment
A successful contact center project is more than features, functions, and vendor selection. A new or upgraded contact center will be integral to the success of any organization. The business, contract, and financial decisions can make or destroy the success. Look beyond features and functions to make the best decision for contact center success. Cost per agent is not a complete picture of the call center project.
Determine Your Business Goals
DMG Consulting, www.dmgconsult.com conducted a survey of enterprise and contact center executives. The survey participants were asked to select from a list of servicing initiatives.
Survey participants selected from 33 initiatives and wrote in four additional ones. The top servicing goal responses for 2017 were grouped into eight categories and are prioritized in the graphic below:
- Service quality: 26.4 percent
- Productivity/cost reduction: 21.4 percent
- Channel support: 14.4 percent
- Technology: 10.3 percent
- Staff-related: 9.1 percent
- Analytics: 7.2 percent
- Revenue generation: 7.2 percent
- Compliance: 4 percent
Graphic from DMG Consulting, www.dmgconsult.com
These issues are common for most contact centers. Responding to these issues and improving them may not be possible with your existing implementation without either a major upgrade or replacement.
Enterprises want to make investments that personalize the customer experience. Simultaneously they are working to improve self-service solutions that automate interactions that do not require human assistance.
The drivers behind these goals are:
- Customers’ demands for better service
- The need to make use of big data and real-time analytics
- Surviving and growing in a competitive global economy
- Limited and/or reduced IT budgets
- Recognition that the customer database is a valuable asset
- Sustaining and increasing customer loyalty
- Mining the CRM database for opportunities
- Migration to cloud services
Evaluate what you Have
Does your present operation deliver the goals you have determined? Probably not. That is why you are looking for another solution. You also have to enable the new contact center implementation to support the emerging trends which include:
- Increasing adoption of workforce management software
- Customer demand for omnichannel functionality
- The ability to integrate contact center solutions with CRM systems
You have discovered that your present implementation has little or no capability in supporting these trends. The challenge is that these goals mean different things in different organizations and it is hard to measure their delivery. Ensure that you inventory and document current IVR and CTI integrations and training before you start the implementation.
Select the Vendor
This is a strategic decision. Don’t rush. Do your homework. Different elements go into making a successful contact center. Set realistic time frames for implementation and reasonable goals. The decision will have to work successfully for years. Don’t just look at features and functions.
Most contact center products and services are sold, implemented, supported, and serviced by resellers or vendor partners. You may receive the same offering from more than one vendor. It is important then to evaluate the vendor’s business practices, local support, and financial strength. A big project may tax the vendor’s resources. Look for the preferred vendor’s experience with projects similar to your goals and your center size.
The vendor’s may have created a score card methodology. Use it or develop one. This allows you to establish a level playing field to evaluate each vendor. Assign a weighting factor to the individual categories that are most important. Look for input from all the stakeholders when making the purchase decision.
This will not be a plug-and-play implementation. The second biggest cost after the purchase is the system implementation. Implementation consists of vendor-provided professional services which can be as much as several times $100,000. Watch out for vendor low ball estimates of the implementation costs.
Look over the vendor’s proposed time and resources to ensure that all the current call flows and contact flows are completely documented. Review the features proposed for the agents and supervisors, workflow processes desktop applications and interfaces, quality assurance and speech analytics, voice, email, chat, calibration process, Work Force Management, agent group/skill design. What is proposed may cause disruptions to the current system that interfere with productivity and customer satisfaction.
Poor project management can make or break the implementation. The vendor is ensuring their interests and liabilities are covered. You have to have your own project management team as oversight during installation and cut-over. Make sure the contract calls for frequent status reports and verification during the implementation and cutover. Look for statements like 90% completed. I usually cannot determine what this vague statement means.
Before you proceed with the implementation, you need a vendor produced Scope of Work document (SOW). The SOW should include a detailed project plan with milestones, whose responsibility is assigned to whom, problem escalation procedures, and how problems resolved. You should have a major input on how the acceptance procedures are verified.
You need to complete an internal project plan identifying your organization’s responsibilities, obligated resources, project schedule, and a product acceptance procedure.
Questions to ask Before Proceeding
- Do I need to be HIPAA and/or PCI compliant?
· Do I need to be compliant with regulations such as the EU GDPR and California CCPA (First GDPR, and Now CCPA)?
- What is the migration plan?
- Is the agent training program sufficient?
- Does my budget include professional services, integration, and any customization I may need?
Tips to Stay Happy
- It may be years since you created your contact center or this may be a new project. Consider retaining an experienced contact center consultant who can smooth out the rough spots and help you avoid complications.
- Ensure that you contract covers moves, adds & changes and the costs are clearly delineated in the SOW.
- If there is a guarantee/warranty, who is responsible (reseller, vendor), what are the limitations, and what voids it.
- Review the contract so it can be renewed after the initial period, and at what rate.
- Assuming you are successful, review your maintenance contract for costs and how long the rates are valid.
“Get the Most out of WFO/M”