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Opinion Piece - No Contact Centre is an Island

01 August 2014

Tight integration between the contact centre infrastructure and business processes ensures two-way flow of critical data, and the optimal customer experience

By Jeff Bowyer, Sales and Marketing Manager at Jasco Enterprise

21 May 2014

The contact centre of today is made up of various communication and management solutions. But despite this inherent complexity, it’s essential that the contact centre does not stand isolated as a silo within the business.

Selecting the right contact centre technology allows organisations to tightly integrate their contact centre with core business processes such as their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

By joining up the environments in this coordinated fashion, the contact centre functions as an effective conduit between business and its customers – to ultimately deliver the best experience to customers.

For this to happen, the contact centres must be in touch with what is happening at the business process level. So, if a customer phones to ask for the delivery status of their order, for example, this supply chain information is instantly available to the agent.

In fact, across any channel – from inbound to outbound lines, Web chats, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), email, SMS, instant messaging, social media, and so on – there needs to be a seamless, two-way flow of critical information between the customer and the business.

With the right infrastructure, configured in the right way, the organisation maximises the benefits of each of these channels. It also allows the contact centre to adapt to changing customer or business demands, adding new channels where necessary, and scaling out the team ‘on the fly’ for major outbound campaigns.

Too often, organisations fail to tightly integrate the contact centre environment to existing core processes. Valuable customer data from the frontline is never fed into the decision making processes at corporate HQ – whether it be individual product designs, or business strategy, or anything in between.

Getting this right requires a deep understanding and huge experience in the fields of contact centres, business systems and business processes to design the kinds of elegant and effective integration that deliver true, sustainable business value.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity in recent years has been the advent of Cloud-based architecture solutions. This approach to hosting and delivering contact centres, while not applicable in every client environment, promises to unlock a range of new benefits for clients:

Capacity can be added and reduced instantaneously, software updates can be delivered more easily, payment models can become more flexible, and more sophisticated applications can be used in the contact centre.

Added to this, by combining hosted services with an enterprise mobility approach, the workforce is empowered to manage multiple customer channels from smartphones and tablets, wherever they may be. This kind of flexibility – while it may not always be required – presents organisations with choices that ensure the customers’ calls never ring for too long.

Whether it is a hosted, on-premise or blended approach, the only way to truly achieve contact centre Return on Investment (ROI) is by having those close ties to the organisation’s inner-workings.

There are many ways in which truly-aligned contact centres deliver tangible ROI to business – from increases in agent productivity, to improved sales conversions, reduced downtime, risk reduction, and much more.

If done correctly, tight contact centre integration reduces the need for manual processes and ad hoc reports from contact centre managers. It aligns the business vision with the customer service operations, delivers useful insights to business owners across the organisation, and tightly links the customer with the business.

Editorial Contacts:
Jeff Bowyer
Sales & Marketing Manager Business Development Manager
Tel: 011-2661500
Email: jeff.bowyer@jasco.co.za