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Tailoring Technology For Success

Tailoring Technology For Success

Tailoring Technology For Success

Why a custom contact center platform is the best fit.

Why should your contact center adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach when customer service has always been about personalization?

It’s a worthwhile question, especially if you’re running a mid-size business. You likely feel torn between two worlds: the contact center solutions meant for small businesses don’t offer the functionality you need, but those meant for enterprises are too costly.

You want a platform that’s nimble enough to let your company take care of its customers but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Because if you’re not doing all you can to take care of your customers, they may begin looking elsewhere.

According to Salesforce’s most recent State of the Connected Customer report, “80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.”

In addition, a Forbes survey showed that 74% of customers regard service as the top factor affecting their loyalty. Continually meeting expectations and generating repeat business is crucial when economic forecasts mean new customers are harder to get.

Your customers’ most pressing concerns may be challenging to resolve. But identifying a suitable contact center solution that consistently meets their needs is not nearly as complicated, as we will see.

Existing Solutions Aren’t the Right Fit

When assessing your contact center wish list, you’ll need a more advanced solution than what a small business requires, but one that’s more scaled back than the typical enterprise software.

A small business often requires only the most basic contact center capabilities. Like supporting a small team of formal or informal agents to answer customers’ calls in the order they’re received, with a system which asks callers to hold for the next available representative.

When call volumes aren't manageable, even the best-run call centers encounter issues.

The call center solutions typically marketed to such businesses may also include IVR systems. These enable touchtone-based automation for simple tasks like checking an account balance, as well as auto-answer to ask callers to leave voicemail messages.

But these systems’ call queues frequently don’t support features like the ability to monitor agent performance, compile tracking metrics, or fulfill other administrative needs. Their goal is to help your company answer calls quickly, and as long as call volumes stay manageable, they can handle customer issues at minimal expense.

Additionally, the rigid processes and variety of menu options in the IVR can impede a caller’s ability to have their questions answered, leading to poor customer sentiment, according to IBM.

When call volumes aren’t manageable, even the best-run call centers encounter issues. A company crisis or seasonal upticks — say, an increased need for support around the holidays — can quickly overwhelm these models, leading to lengthy hold times that will frustrate customers.

Such call center applications are inflexible by design. And small businesses always risk outgrowing their capabilities.

At the other end of the spectrum, enterprise-level contact centers — in particular, on-premise centers — introduce unnecessary complexity for a mid-size organization.

Smaller teams may struggle utilizing systems built to handle a very high number of interactions. They have all the bells and whistles and offer everything your imagination allows: endless agent seats, real-time consumer analytics, workforce management (WFM), and much more.

Enterprise systems also leverage artificial intelligence (AI) models to help with countless issues. AI can:

  • Read or listen to a customer’s problem while an interaction is taking place and prompt agents with relevant solutions.
  • Analyze billing inquiries to see if adjustments must be made.
  • Conduct loop tests to see where network connectivity errors are happening if call quality is poor.
  • Determine which software version a customer is using so the agent accurately helps resolve issues such as a password reset.

But what goes without saying is that to take advantage of an enterprise-level, on-premise contact center’s full capabilities, you must have an expansive budget. You’re going to pay thousands of dollars a month in maintenance and licensing fees and potentially tens of thousands of dollars in setup alone.

Your mid-size organization needs a customer service platform that finds that elusive sweet spot: robust yet flexible, affordable, and scalable. Fortunately, there are solutions.

A Targeted CCaaS Application is Versatile

If you really want your mid-size business to offer exceptional service, first and foremost, you must meet your customers where they are.

Customer interactions are evolving, which is why we’ve largely drifted away from the call center of years past. Interactions now occur through email, social media, web chat, text messaging, video, and more. Your company will turn customers off, and potentially lose them entirely, if you don’t support a variety of channels.

The key to successful customer retention, then, is to adequately anticipate and address your customers’ needs with a right-sized, scalable contact center-as-a service (CCaaS) platform.

This type of solution is specially designed to deliver consistent, high-quality interactions that are tailored to and aligned with your infrastructure, budget, and objectives.

Your mid-size organization needs a customer service platform that finds that elusive sweet spot: robust yet flexible, affordable, and scalable.

A mid-sized CCaaS platform gives you the flexibility to activate specific channels based on usage patterns. If customers show they prefer another communication method, implementing additional channels is as easy as checking a box. This functionality ensures you’re not misapplying resources by supporting channels that aren’t popular.

It also feeds into ease of use for your agents, which translates to a seamless experience for the customer. Your agents can handle multiple interactions within a single pane of glass, meaning they avoid wasting time toggling between windows while they try to determine the right solutions.

Additionally, for mid-sized companies, a right-sized AI application can increase the value of your contact center without driving up unnecessary costs.

These applications can include AI-powered chatbots to handle simple requests, properly address how the customer is feeling about an interaction, and some automation of WFM to increase productivity among employees. These tools allow for more streamlined, personalized, and enhanced customer and employee experiences.

Oversight, Scalability, Resilience

But the right mid-level CCaaS platform won’t just improve frontline operations. It will enable tighter oversight.

Rather than only reviewing past interactions, supervisors can participate actively in the customer experience by monitoring, whispering, and barging in when appropriate. When agents struggle with specific issues, managers can privately give vital tips, coaching, and instructions that can remedy a tense situation.

Administratively, a mid-level contact center solution also offers scalability when you need it most.

If something has gone awry, and several dozen agents must log on to handle inquiries and make things right, it’s simply a matter of reaching out to your CCaaS provider and saying, “I have to scale up right now.” This puts the “service” in CCaaS, because you’re making your chosen contact center model work for you.

This last feature underscores the importance of your contact center being cloud-based. When you must make changes, no matter their significance, they’re not going to break the bank. You don’t have to replace your expensive on-site infrastructure and you’re not responsible for server maintenance or end-of-life technology management.

Why? That’s all covered as part of your agreement with the supplier. Plus, because these platforms are built on microservices architecture, you can roll out enhancements and new features faster and handle their implementation in-house.

When agents struggle with specific issues, managers can privately give vital tips, coaching, and instructions that can remedy a tense situation.

While these features benefit you and your agents, they also facilitate positive relationships and optimize every interaction with your customers.

Reliable software minimizes dropped calls, avoiding further customer frustrations. Integrated dashboards let agents deliver personal, informed service rather than cold, generic responses.

And by preventing customers from repeating personally identifiable information and descriptions of their recent problems, agents come across like they’re knowledgeable about a product and they’re there to help the customer through an often frustrating journey.

In all, this leads to a high level of service that feels customized and authentic: or, as you’ve come to know it, right-sized.

Finally — and critically — mid-sized CCaaS platforms provide resilience when disasters threaten and strike, like being ready to have your customer contacts handled remotely, at another location, or offloaded to self-service systems on a moment’s notice.

If there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent spate of fires and wild weather has taught us, it’s that we must be prepared for all eventualities to protect our employees while serving our customers.

Maximum Service at a Reasonable Budget

As customer retention and personalization grow increasingly vital to the bottom line, companies everywhere are taking a closer look at the quality of service they provide.

Satisfaction strongly correlates with trust, recommendations, and continued business, according to Qualtrics, proving that if you can keep customers happy, they’ll keep coming back: and bring others with them.

...mid-sized CCaaS platforms provide resilience when disasters threaten and strike...

That’s why identifying and implementing a CCaaS application that works for you is significant. The best solution maximizes functionality before it hits the point of diminishing returns: It simplifies agent workflows, offers omnichannel support, is scalable, and fosters quality interactions. And, most importantly, it does all of these things while being cost efficient.

Ultimately, it’s about maximizing your bang for the buck while your mid-size business continues to grow: and it’s now easier than ever for you to accept the challenge.

Santi Cuellar

Santi Cuellar

Santi Cuellar, Senior Manager of Solution Marketing at Fusion Connect, leverages 35+ years' expertise in technical sales, strategic planning, and training. He crafts core content for marketing materials, contributing to product strategies. Additionally, Santi co-hosts the Tech UNMUTED podcast, showcasing his industry insights and experience.

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