Rapidly developing technologies and the need to integrate customer services across all channels has significantly changed the contact centre space in the last few years.
Regardless of the motivation for a business having a contact centre, and whether it is inbound or outbound focused, the ones that succeed are the ones that are viewed as integral to business success. There are a few key aspects to consider, writes Jed Hewson, co-founder and joint CEO of 1Stream.

Clear goals
Is the business simply going to be managing incoming and outgoing calls with customers, or will it use the opportunity to build customer relationships and potentially market other services? Ensure the goals for your contact centre are aligned to the sales and marketing vision and that it will contribute positively to achieving those aims.

Integrated reporting
You have a lot of valuable information sitting in various systems within the customer service areas of your business, and what is needed is a consolidated view of what is going on. Integration of all technology platforms across the business, such as Salesforce and Zendesk, will give you the clear picture you need.

Certain functionality may not be a current requirement for you, but there are exponential shifts happening in the world of machine learning and automated assistants which are impacting the contact centre experience. Additionally, instant messaging, emails and social media are increasingly being used as customer service channels, and including this in your contact centre planning is essential.
Your contact centre technology view should be long term, and provide the space for growth as the digital space evolves. This ensures that valuable chunks of budget are not spent on technology that will become obsolete in years to come.

Human resources
The contact centre agent salary cost to company is significant and while technology prices are generally decreasing, this is not the same for the cost of agents. Pay attention to establishing systems which manage the performance and quality of personnel. So, while looking at the longevity of the technology, there should also be a strong element of agent management with additional focus on customer satisfaction scoring and measurement.

Outsourcing technology
Enlisting the services of a contact centre solutions company that has trusted experience and knowledge of the workings of a contact centre, will enable you to focus your resources on delivering customer service. Many businesses put their best person in charge of managing the tech aspects of the contact centre, which often results in a shift in focus away from the core goal of assisting customers.

Going cloud
It is no longer a conversation of ‘if’, but rather ‘when’ – and it is clear to see why. A key benefit is cost-saving and less reliance on systems that are rapidly becoming redundant. Cloud technology offers flexibility and scalability based on needs, with access to solutions on a try-before-you-buy basis. The cloud provides contact centres with access to technology that might otherwise be unaffordable.

In summary, pay attention to managing and incentivising your people, and integrate all your reporting systems to create a big picture view of your customer service. Outsourcing your contact centre technology to a cloud services provider creates the opportunity to focus on the customer while all the technology seamlessly supports those needs.