The latest call centre technology may offer features like machine learning, AI (artificial intelligence), mobile apps, and much more self-service than is available through a traditional call centre system and IVR. However, cost restraints tend to mean that many contact centres these days are run with a combination of both new and legacy systems. They need to keep up with customer satisfaction requirements but can't commit to the replacement cost of an entirely new omnichannel solution.
In many cases, contact centres will continue to add more disparate systems to compensate for their legacy systems as demand changes, for instance, there may be a legacy premise-based system with important voice functionality, and a cloud-based system that allows large numbers of agents to be added and removed much more simply. The use of multiple systems in this manner could provide benefits, such as allowing the contact centre to provide the right number of call centre agents more flexibly – particularly if there is a seasonal requirement for many more agents.
Sometimes, a multi-system approach is for the short-term purpose of evaluating a newer system – to ensure that operations can be migrated without causing major disruptions in service. Even with a realisation of the benefits of a new system, the circumstances might require multiple systems as a bridge – and this evaluation can stretch into a longer time frame, and the purpose becomes extending the life of a cost-effective legacy system until the business is ready to commit to the purchase of a newer comprehensive solution,
Whatever the reason for using multiple systems in the call centre, it's important not to let it have a negative impact on the customer experience. For instance, if there's a division in customer contact handling with voice on one system and digital channels on another, it is important to create a metrics environment that presents a unified picture of customer service. Or, When there are two or more voice ACD systems in play, service quality needs to remain high in all call conditions and should not suffer due to the differences in the tools surrounding each ACD.
In this blog, we're going to walk you through a few ways to ensure that your contact centre can provide top notch customer service regardless of which ACD system takes the call or the digital contact.
Help the Workforce Management (WFM) team
Help the WFM team by making sure that they have all the call history and daily information that they need to make accurate staffing forecasts for all of the systems ahead of time, and that when needed, they have the information to react within the day as well.
Understand how the metrics are constructed
Understand how the metrics are constructed so that you can take into account any differences in how key metrics are calculated by the different vendors. Service Level in particular may be computed quite differently by different vendors. Most of the variability in Service Level computation tends to be with respect to how the different types of abandoned calls are treated.
Make sure transfers are warm transfers
Make sure transfers are warm transfers by providing visibility of Agent State in some manner for both systems. This will allow agents in one system to observe the state of the agent they are transferring to directly so that they can make a warm transfer rather than blind transfer. Some contact centres share this information with their agents through web dashboards or wallboards that can sort agents by their real-time state in order to provide this visibility.
Make sure that all managers have visibility
Make sure that all managers have visibility into both ACD systems and that they have a common view of the state of the combined system so that they can converge on service issues quickly. This common view will allow a remote team to plan better and may become the basis of routine screen-share meetings. This familiarity will serve managers and IT staff well in the event of an outage or other customer service crisis.
Share the technology improvement plan
Share the technology improvement plan broadly with all of the stakeholders so that they know and understand what is expected of them as new solutions are installed and older ones may be retired. All team members should know how each step in the technology improvement process will affect each aspect of customer service. A chart showing this progression that can be read at a glance may be a useful tactic. As things change, knowing which operational changes are due to temporary or partial technology implementations and which represent new best practices for the company will help everyone reach for customer service goals.
We are experiencing an age of ever-increasing customer demands on contact centre performance – for speed of service, intuitive self-service and for multiple channel operations. These customer demands, coupled with the cost of new systems and maintaining a skilled workforce, makes constant innovation and improvement a challenge. Many contact centres are experimenting with many solutions, but to be successful and overcome the challenges of a multi-system environment, thoughtful and complete integration is key along with keeping a close eye on those all-important metrics.