6 challenges contact centers face with deploying multichannel technology

Running a contact center is hard work. I know; I’ve run one.

Prior to joining Interactive Intelligence 17 years ago, I managed a technical support contact center for a software company consisting of 11 agents and a supervisor. While it was a small center, we were typical for the time – voice only, measured by the usual KPIs (ASA, talk time, number of calls, number of open tickets per agent, etc.), and running with old, simplistic round-robin UCD technology that provided us just enough to get by.

Fast forward to today, and while I’m still working in the world of contact centers, that world has changed dramatically. No longer do we live in a voice-only world but one rich with channels for customers to communicate with us: emails, chats, faxes, SMS, social media, video and who knows what else is coming.

Additionally, the KPIs that once drove the contact center have been left behind for much more customer-centric KPIs such as first call resolution, NPS, and customer satisfaction surveys. And the technology that once was only available for the largest centers is now available to even the smallest.

But here’s the kicker – given that contact centers have had almost two decades to adjust, there’s still a large number of contact centers around the world who are still struggling to get into the current multichannel, customer-focused world that we live in. Shoot, most contact centers are even farther behind the bigger goal of providing a seamless experience for the customers across all channels (omnichannel). With two decades of massive changes, how can this be?

According to Frost and Sullivan in their 2014 Enterprise Priorities in North America and Europe reports focusing on multichannel customer contact, there are six unique reasons why contact centers struggle meeting the demands of today’s channel-demanding customers:

  1. Budget
  2. Lack of in-house resources and expertise
  3. Legacy contact center systems/technology
  4. Customer willingness to adopt to new contact channels
  5. Organizational silos
  6. Not a strategic priority for the business

Upon first glance, these six challenges not only affect contact centers of any size, but any one of them can prevent a contact center from being able to compete for a customer’s business. If you don’t have the budget to afford the people or technology, you’ll struggle. If you have the budget but can’t convince your customers to adopt the new channels, you’ll continue to struggle.

But of course, there are solutions to overcoming these challenges as none of them are insurmountable. On Tuesday November 10th, you’ll find out what they are as I’m privileged to be presenting with Nancy Jamison, Principal Analyst with Frost and Sullivan, on how to overcome each of them. To get more details and to register for this event, click here.

I hope to see you on the webinar!

Tim Passios