Talking Contact Centre Evolution with JCI
We speak to JCI about the transformative contact centre
The contact centre as we know it has evolved drastically in recent years. In the past, the only way for businesses and their customers to communicate was through noisy, chaotic and often inefficient call centres. Now, we’ve discovered new ways for people to interact through a variety of channels and enhanced voice experiences.
Organisations from various verticals are beginning to discover the benefits of this new era of customer contact for themselves, and they’re coming up with new transformative strategies based on the change. During my time at Avaya Engage – the biggest Avaya consumer and partner event of the year, I got to speak to Melanie Totcky, the Global Infrastructure Contact Centre lead for JCI. Melanie told me all about JCI’s Avaya-focused contact centre strategy was paving the way to a stronger future.
Tell Us About Yourself and JCI
JCI or Johnson Controls Inc. is a leading corporation in the creation of integrated solutions, technology, energy storage, and information-based retail systems. Managing everything from smart buildings to security, Johnson Controls Inc relies on its vast contact centre and over 10,000 agents on a daily basis.
Melanie Totcky is the Contact Centre lead for the Global Infrastructure aspect of the business, responsible for everything from high-end engineering, design, and technical project management. “I manage a group of people who support the contact centre technology for JCI. We have about 120,000 employees at the moment serving customers in 150 countries, and my department handles things like implementing new technology, troubleshooting problems, and supporting infrastructure.”
Melanie told me that her team isn’t responsible for managing agents directly, but that they do speak to the business side of the company to find out what agents need in the contact centre, and how they need help.
What Are the Biggest Changes You’ve Noticed in Infrastructure?
I was sure that Melanie had a lot of useful insights to offer about contact centre infrastructure as someone with so much experience in the space. I asked her what she believed had changed most about the sector over the last five to ten years. She told me that ten years ago, she was working for ADT – one of the biggest security monitoring companies on the market. The residential side of that business has now spun off and merged with JCI, which means that there’s a lot of familiar tech making its way back into Totcky’s life.
“Most of the contact centre still revolves around voice conversations for me, but that’s to do with the kind of service we provide. When an alarm goes off, you don’t want to send a text; you want to pick up the phone. However, there’s been a lot of change in the diversity of the business over recent years. We now have a sector of the company that deals with intelligent buildings, and in the future, we can see an environment where virtual assistants call the contact centre, and machines can communicate with machines. There are so many different types of contact centre available.”
What Does the Infrastructure Look Like in Your Company?
Totcky told me that her team in JCI is often responsible for implementing and exploring new technology, so I was interested to find out what the contact centre looks like for the JCI team right now, and where it may change in the future. Melanie noted that most of the contact centre infrastructure is Avaya-based today, with base centres in North America, and additional call centres in Spain, Latin America, the UK, and more.
“What we’re working on right now is bringing all of those contact centres together and eliminating the silos between them.”
“We’re excited about the concept of bringing our contact centres together on a single platform because it means that we can extend features seamlessly from one user to the next. We can also explore new technologies like collaboration tools too.”
Melanie said that for now, JCI is at a point in its contact centre roadmap, where they’re just trying to create an infrastructure experience that’s both reliable and supportable for all of their employees. “Once we’re confident with the infrastructure we have as a single platform solution, then we can start to look at how we can bring in collaboration, AI, and other things. I think there are many disruptive ideas like conversational intelligence that would transform customer experience by allowing connections between the supervisor and agent in real-time.”
Do You Think Transformation Will Be a Long Road for JCI?
JCI is a huge global company, so it’s no surprise that Melanie and her coworkers see a lot of work ahead of them when it comes to transforming the contact centre experience. However, the JCI team isn’t worried about the challenges yet to come. “In the US, we’re going to be integrated and upgraded in June; then we’ll be extending to Canada, Latin America, Asia and so on. I think it’s going to be a couple of years before everything gets done, but it’s exciting too. There are a lot of new features to come.”
Totcky also noted that one of the challenges JCI faces on the road to transformation is compliance. There are many regulatory restrictions to consider for security companies and other industries.
“Every country and customer has its own demands, and we need to make sure that we can take care of the regulatory side of things.”
Going forward, JCI will be embracing a managed service solution from Avaya, through a private cloud to help them take their business operations to the next level. Melanie told me that the business has requirements which means that they have to keep certain things in their data centre and off the public cloud. “Our strategy is to use that managed service and private cloud for a secure and stabilised system. From there, we can begin to look at things like innovation, and how we can take advantage of the latest technology. Our partnership with Avaya is really helping us to move to that next level.”