Traditionally, if you wanted to engage with a brand you had to call through to its dedicated contact centre. However, the contact centre market is changing. No longer just the stereotypical rows of agents, any customer-facing business, whether B2B or B2C, has a front line of people dealing with enquiries, who probably don’t consider themselves as call centre agents at all.
Therefore, businesses need to ensure that they are keeping up-to-date with changes in consumer behaviour, while providing excellent service and adhering with compliance. But this can only be done with the right technology in place to support them; technology that goes beyond the functionality of an enterprise telephony system.
With today’s customers expecting to be able to communicate with brands in ways that suit them – whether that’s webchat, SMS, email, or simply picking up the phone – businesses need to ensure they are able to meet these demands. And what happens when agents aren’t able to solve problems on their own and need to connect with employees that have the right expertise in the company, while still engaging with the customer? For example, a customer might have an IT-specific question that requires consultations with the technical team.
The most effective way to connect customers with employees throughout the company is to deploy a cloud-based contact centre solution, which offers multichannel capabilities, along with other advantages like flexibility, scalability and cost-savings.
But unfortunately, many organisations still have separate systems for their business and contact centre, which leaves them with two communication platforms that cannot talk to each other. So, if a customer calls through to the main business, they cannot be transferred directly to the contact centre and vice versa. This also means that transactions are not connected, which can lead to customer frustrations when re-contacting organisations and having to explaining their issue all over again.
A case in point is Microsoft Skype for Business and Teams: there are an increasing number of businesses standardising on this for enterprise telephony due to its ubiquity, but it doesn’t have a contact centre offering. Such companies need to integrate with an industry leading cloud-based contact centre solution to deliver the aforementioned customer service benefits and here is why:
1 – Ease of use
With over 300 million users worldwide, Skype for Business and Teams is a familiar technology for most people in the workplace. It is also part of the Office 365 suite, which offers businesses a multitude of workplace tools that enable them to connect to teams anywhere and on any device, all while simultaneously adhering to strict security and compliance regulations. It has the flexibility to be an on-premises, cloud, or hybrid solution, offering organisations a number of features including PSTN calling and conferencing, HD video, and collaborative tools such as screen sharing, all in an easy-to-use package.
By integrating this with a cloud-based contact centre, every user has access to functionality like data-directed routing, which provides the flexibility to route each customer to the right person every time, as well as the ability to manage contacts across multiple channels and departments, fulfilling both simple tasks and complex issues with ease. As a result, every employee can become customer-facing, providing customers with instant access to the expertise they need.
It can also allow contact centre managers to easily map out the best possible customer journey using real-time data.
2 – Scalable solution
The pace of technological change and consumers’ willingness to embrace new communication platforms means that your customer service operation needs the ability to re-configure your contact centre within hours, or even minutes. It should allow you to add new features such as web chat when required, as well as deliver updates and feature releases automatically. Enterprises can achieve this with an on-premises, cloud, or hybrid solution.
In addition, if your cloud contact centre provider can deliver a portfolio of hosted enterprise voice, SIP trunking, video interoperability, network infrastructure, and digital media for Skype for Business and Teams, then this will ensure unlimited scalability, not to mention significant cost savings, a global reach and superior professional services and support.
When deployed with a trusted cloud-contact centre platform, Skype for Business and Teams is a future-proof solution for your entire business.
3 – Improved customer experience
One of the biggest drivers of interactions with the contact centre is consumers picking up the phone because their attempt to solve their issue via another channel has failed. Adding multiple contact channels and options without integrated processes will only confuse customers, create more effort and increase company costs. Therefore, businesses must invest in an integrated multichannel solution that will allow your agents to respond to customers via their preferred channel and transfer calls from the main business through to the contact centre, as well as offer them convenient self-service options.
In addition, it gives agents a unified view of all previous customer interactions across every channel, which will not only improve efficiency and agent job satisfaction, it can also have a dramatic impact on customer satisfaction.
So, if you want to avoid ending up with frustrated customers and disconnected experiences, then you need to ensure all areas of your business can seamlessly communicate with one another. The best approach is to deploy a natively integrated Skype for Business and cloud contact centre solution.
But before investing in a cloud solution, it is important to do your research – find out what your business requirements are and investigate whether the providers you are evaluating are prepared to meet all those needs.
Guest Blog by Enda Kenneally, VP of sales and business development for West UC
About West Corporation
West Corporation is a global provider of communication and network infrastructure services. West helps its clients more effectively communicate, collaborate and connect with their audiences through a diverse portfolio of solutions that include unified communications services, safety services, interactive services such as automated notifications, telecom services and specialty agent services.