Collaborate in and out of the contact center


This blog post is sponsored by the CIO Collaboration Network and Avaya.

The contact center is a funny place. It is often a department filled with contradictions…

It’s usually the initial place of customer interactions. Yet there’s a lack of customer-friendly design considerations when it comes to IVRs and contact center technologies.

It’s the place where customer service comes first. Yet agents are measured on how fast they get rid of customer phone calls.

It’s said to have state-of-the-art technologies. Yet customers are still on-hold or asked to press numeric keys.

It’s referred as the best source of all that valuable customer feedback. Yet most of the time it’s a department that rarely interacts with others within the enterprise.

With all the talk about the importance of collaboration, how many enterprises actually enable contact center agents to use their collaboration tools? How many customer care representatives and supervisors are granted access to applications like Salesforce.com Chatter, Lync, Yammer, WebEx, LiveMeeting, instant messenger, etc.? There are obvious benefits to facilitate collaboration within just the contact center, but even greater benefits if other departments could tap into the brain trust of the contact center.

In fact, other departments may find a good use for common contact center applications. For example, agents love CTI screen-pops because it streamlines the process of pulling up a customer record, typically from some sort of CRM application. This type of automation could also be applied in how other departments use the same CRM software.

Speech analytics is another contact center tool that can provide new insights into customers, especially in the area of product support and marketing. With thousands of minutes worth of customer call recordings, there’s definitely a lot of data mining potential, and with speech analytics the product (and marketing) team can gauge, for example, the success of a recent product launch or the major complaints about an existing product. Some analytics will even attempt to capture the general customer sentiment toward a product. Imagine the collaborative opportunities with all that speech data.

It’s about time to treat the contact center differently — or, rather, treat it the same as all the other departments in the enterprise. Realize its value, encourage collaboration, and ultimately it will serve the customers even better.

This blog post is sponsored by the CIO Collaboration Network and Avaya.

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