June 1, 2013 Budgeting & Reducing Costs, Phone Systems The term “Contact Center” typically evokes an image of hundreds of agents with headsets, answering call after call, with statistics like “calls in queue”, “average speed to answer”, and other call information flashing up on screens all over the office. However, though there are literally millions of contact centers that fit that description, the fact of the matter is that most companies have a Contact Center in-house, though it certainly doesn’t resemble that stereotypical image. Think about it. Does your organization have employees who fulfill the needs of internal “customers”, such as an internal help desk, marketing, purchasing, or travel and meeting planning? Do you have a receptionist that fields and transfers a number of calls to different parts of the organization like sales, marketing, management, and others? Perhaps you even have a small “help desk” that fields incoming calls, but that isn’t really tracked or monitored right now? Or do you even have remote workers who interact with your in-office staff on a regular basis? These are just a few of the “real-life” contact centers that exist in most organizations. The fact of the matter is, these “informal” contact centers have the same basic needs that large, sophisticated environments have, such as: Routing calls effectively – Getting calls to the best available person helps ensure fast response times and less internal “phone shuffle” and confusion Understanding call trends – Knowing when call volumes are high and low enables more effective workforce management and workload distribution Integration with back-office tools – In addition to being able to communicate via different media, tying call/contact activity to a company’s CRM/ERP system is just as vital to ensure interactions are tied to the proper account, and customers get the information they want, when they want it. Of course, there are many companies with substantial, formal contact centers of their own. However, what often happens is that contact centers grow organically as businesses expand, and many mid-sized or even large contact centers do not run as effectively and efficiently as they could. These companies typically employ standard contact center technology such as Automated Call Distribution (ACD), call monitoring, and call recording, and usually employ some form of call reporting and management technology. What they often fail to do is take a step back and examine the whole picture of their contact center operations to determine if their call flow and contact center technology is truly providing their customers with the most streamlined and user-friendly experience. Today’s contact center technology can offer several significant benefits that can substantially enhance a contact center’s performance, such as: The ability to identify callers in queue and change their answer priority in real time Skills-based routing: route calls to agents with the particular skill set to best address the caller’s needs Coordinated, connected communication throughout different media: Keeping related emails, social media posts and tweets, texts and calls in the “same conversation” Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), which enables deep integration into CRM/ERP systems and screen pop capability Managing agents and queues in a highly intuitive, visual environment Whether your contact center is formal or informal, small or large, partnering with a company that takes the time to understand your business needs, technology, and forward-thinking strategies is crucial. Though matching the right technology to your needs is crucial, its design also needs to be properly designed and engineered to your exact specifications in order to optimize workflow and provide the best possible experience for end users, customers, and management. That’s where ETA comes in. We’ve helped hundreds of customers of all sizes implement contact center solutions and strategies that streamlined their work and call flow, increased employee productivity, and enhanced customer loyalty and reputation. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your contact center, no matter what size or shape it is. Please contact us today to schedule a free contact center evaluation!