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Date Created: 12/21/15
GUIDE TO PURCHASING A PHONE SYSTEM FOR YOUR CALL CENTER A STEP-BY-STEP PRIMER TO HELP YOU SELECT THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR YOUR SMALL TO MIDSIZE BUSINESS GUIDE TO PURCHASING THE RIGHT PHONE SYSTEM FOR YOUR CUSTOMER CONTACT CENTER For years, call centers have been the primary method for customers to interface with a company.All of us have used call centers, whether for ordering shoes, disputing a cable bill or pleading with a credit card company for a lower interest rate. And while the types of requests haven’t changed much in the past several years, contact centers themselves have. Today, the presence of contact centers in the marketplace Regardless of size, any contact center can benefit from the is vast and horizontal in nature. Products and services are proper call-handling solution with: more complex and customer expectations are greater than •Enhanced customer satisfaction. By delivering ever before. higher-caliber service through the medium of their Contact centers exist in all shapes and sizes, from small and choice, you bolster customer relationships and mitigate informal, to large, multisite, sophisticated enterprises.They dissatisfaction. span numerous industries, including hospitality, education, •Improved retention.The cost of agent turnover is government, financial, manufacturing, retail and healthcare. staggering; the average cost to recruit and train an As a result, the ability to manage operational efficiencies agent ranges between $8,000 and $12,000, depending while ensuring high-quality customer service has become a on the industry. Most studies report annual turnover of tremendous challenge. But do you need specialized contact 25 to 40 percent. center software?Will it be worth the money? In short, • yes. Every company has something to gain by enhancing Increased agent productivity. By allowing customer interactions through the use of contact center representatives to have relevant customer data at their fingertips, call times are reduced and sales opportunities software. Once seen as cost centers, contact centers are can be maximized. now viewed as revenue centers where superior customer service can greatly influence buying decisions, maintain If your contact center communications platform doesn’t customer loyalty and directly affect a company’s bottom line. have sophisticated call handling features or offer the Consider the perils of not having the right system in place. ability for customers to contact you in the method of their choosing, you should consider upgrading in order to With today’s prevalence of social media, one bad experience with your contact center could yield detrimental results maximize your business potential.This primer will help you in a matter of hours. But customers who have positive navigate the products on the market so you can select the one that will best suit your needs. experiences with your call center are much more likely to choose your company again and again. STEP 1: UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RIGHT CONTACT CENTER SOLUTION Choosing the right contact center solution is critical to your •Spot call trends by cataloguing what is happening firm’s profitability because it lets you strengthen customer during calls and reporting it in such a way that you can maximize operations. relationships and boost operational efficiency while protecting the bottom line. •Build an effective team by equipping employees Your contact center doesn’t have to be huge to have with the tools they need to deliver efficient and effective sophisticated requirements. Many contact centers are customer service. relatively small, yet still handle a high number of calls. •Empower your customers by serving them through They need comprehensive tools that facilitate customer the communication method of their choice, managing relationships beyond call-handling times and abandon rates. their expectations and delivering on promises. No matter your size or industry, it’s important that your contact center solution help you: •Optimize contact center productivity by 2 | MITELWHITEPAPER • Create flexibility by integrating seamlessly with enabling agents to handle calls quickly and efficiently, and enabling supervisors to monitor, maintain and existing infrastructure and deploying reliably within a continually improve processes. single site or across multiple sites. STEP 2: IDENTIFY WHICH TYPE OF CONTACT CENTER YOU HAVE Before you can select a solution, you need to identify the convenient channels. Multichannel contact centers, also type of contact center your organization has.What was once referred to as customer interaction centers, provide “self- a small team of agents handling simple inbound phone calls serve” mechanisms for customers via the Web, and make has now evolved into several different types of operations: agents available through multiple channels such as email, Web chat, SMS texting and social media. CALL CENTER Departments that primarily focus on inbound phone calls, “VIRTUAL” CONTACT CENTER though the role of the agents has changed dramatically Unlike traditional contact centers where a large team of to include order taking, upselling and cross-selling. agents reside in the same location and are managed by Additionally, some call centers today are tasked with an on-site supervisor, virtual contact centers may consist outbound phone calls, such as telemarketing and lead of smaller teams of geographically dispersed agents qualification. working from headquarters, branch offices, remote offices or from their homes.This type of contact center is typically CONTACT CENTER highly resilient, and has the advantage of being centrally administered despite the distributed agent architecture. Today, many customers prefer to communicate with the companies they do business with through alternate, more STEP 3: ASSESS YOUR NEEDS A contact center solution is a critical investment that you, • Choose a unified solution. In order to be most your employees and your customers will rely upon every effective, contact center software applications must day for years to come. Before you sign a contract, take the seamlessly link to existing telephony systems and to one another. necessary time to review your needs to ensure you make an informed decision that will serve you now and in the future. • Go for virtual support.Virtual contact centers are Here’s a checklist to guide you in assessing your needs becoming increasingly popular because they have the when it comes to a contact center solution: capability to support agents anywhere. If your call center consists of agents who work in dispersed locations, or •Ask yourself how your customers want to if you plan to move to a virtual call center model in the interact with you.Your customers, especially the future, you’ll need contact center software that fully tech-savvy ones, don’t necessarily want to talk to you supports your operations. by phone.They would prefer to email, text orWeb chat you. Even if your current contact center only conducts • Leverage workforce optimization. Does your business by phone, make sure you choose a system with organization need to score agents after you have recorded their phone calls?Would you like the option to these capabilities so you can evolve with the market. GUIDETO CHOOSINGTHE RIGHT PHONE SYSTEM FORYOUR CUSTOMER CONTACT CENTER | 3 GUIDE TO PURCHASING THE RIGHT PHONE SYSTEM FOR YOUR CUSTOMER CONTACT CENTER coach agents in real time during calls? Do you want the 12 months.And 45 percent of firms are planning for ability to record calls and as well as what’s displaying upgrades.You should, too. on agents’ screens during the calls?Then you’ll want software that offers such functionality. • Gain comprehensive reporting. Organizations want access to flexible, real-time and historical reporting that •Plan for growth.According to Forrester Research Inc.’s provides contact center supervisors with the information Forrsights Q1 2013 Networks andTelecommunication they need, when they need it, to manage more Survey, more than 51 percent of businesses with 50 effectively. current contact center seats plan to grow within the next STEP 4: FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH AVAILABLE FEATURES AND FUNCTIONALITY There are a wide variety of applications on the market OUTBOUND TECHNOLOGY today that enhance the myriad aspects of contact center Old school telemarketing was traditionally used for cold management. Some of the most common are: calling and debt collection. But outbound technology has been repurposed. Now it’s being used for proactive alerts and notifications such as informing customers of a change INTERACTIVE VOICE RESPONSE (IVR) With an IVR system, companies can automate routine in airline flight status or irregular spending patterns on their inquiries, such as requests for account balances or questions credit card. Companies leverage outbound technology as a competitive advantage, a way to differentiate themselves about the status of orders, so agents are free to address through superior customer service—all in the interest of more complex problems. customer retention and loyalty. Customers use touch-tone phones to make a request such as entering an account or order number, which is then sent directly to a database where information is pulled and WORKFORCE OPTIMIZATION This technology category includes a variety of capabilities spoken back to the customer using prerecorded phrases or aimed at improving operational efficiencies and agent text-to-speech technology. productivity. Many IVR systems also offer speech recognition capabilities for additional convenience, as well as survey functionality These capabilities include: to gather feedback from customers after an interaction has •Call recording: “Your call is being monitored for been completed. quality assurance.”Anyone who has heard that line has experienced call-monitoring software in action. Calls COMPUTER TELEPHONY INTEGRATION (CTI) are recorded and can be played back at a later date CTI bridges the gap between IVR systems and contact for a variety of purposes such as evaluating an agent’s center agents. For example, let’s say a customer exits performance or settling a customer dispute. your IVR system halfway through a transaction.As the •PC screen capture: Screen capture refers to the ability call is transferred to the appropriate live representative, all the information previously provided travels with and to transfer current on-screen images to a clipboard or a dynamically appears on the agent’s screen when he or she graphics file. Some applications, such as screen grabber, offer capabilities such as extracting just the text from a picks up the phone.This accelerates handling and resolution window or capturing the content in a scrolling window. time and saves customers the frustration of having to repeat themselves. 4 | MITELWHITEPAPER •Quality monitoring: An essential tool for any agent’s tone of voice and the amount of speech versus call center, quality monitoring provides insight into silence on a call. how agents are performing and what customers are experiencing.A good monitoring tool allows you to spot •Workforce/agent management: The availability problems and deal with them proactively and effectively. and effectiveness of agents is what makes or breaks a contact center.These solutions fully automate critical •Agent scorecarding: This feature provides a visual workforce management-related processes such as dashboard of each agent’s performance so you can scheduling, performance assessments and training. monitor success at a glance. •Speech analytics: Going beyond mere speech recognition, this feature flags topics being discussed, the STEP 5: CONSIDER WHERE TO STORE YOUR CONTACT CENTER DATA As with any other voice application, you’ll need to decide Private clouds are custom built for individual enterprises. where to host your contact center software solution—on Your data will be the only information housed on your premises on your own servers, in an off-site data center individual server. Private clouds essentially have all the same (cloud) or a combination of the two. properties as premises-based setups, but they’re located off- site and managed and maintained by third-party network If you already have server space on-premises and the staff administrators. resources to manage the data and maintain the servers, you might be interested in hosting your contact center software Hybrid clouds leverage the best of both models and store on-site. the data of your choosing in a public cloud and other data in a private cloud. The cloud offers more flexibility than on-premises hosting, providing you access to all of the features outlined in Step Cloud deployments, whether public, private or hybrid, offer 4.The cost of a cloud deployment is typically lower than a many benefits, including: premises-based deployment, since you only need to rent • Reduced capital investment and startup costs as much server space as you’ll use rather than having to purchase servers that you may not fill on your own on-site. • Improved ability to communicate and collaborate Some companies insist on housing all of their data on- • Functionality in a single virtual enterprise premises for fear of security concerns. But cloud models are quite secure. Plus, there are three options to choose from, • Enhanced capabilities, including CRM and automated based on your comfort level, budget and needs: outbound options Public cloudsare owned and operated by third-party • Pay-as-you-go scalability service providers. Because infrastructure costs are shared • Customized applications across all users, they are lower cost than private clouds. In a public cloud model, your data will share server space with other companies. But “public” does not mean viewable by everyone.Your information will still be partitioned and secure. GUIDETO CHOOSINGTHE RIGHT PHONE SYSTEM FORYOUR CUSTOMER CONTACT CENTER | 5 GUIDE TO PURCHASING THE RIGHT PHONE SYSTEM FOR YOUR CUSTOMER CONTACT CENTER STEP 6: CHOOSE A VENDOR • Once you’ve carefully weighed your contact center system Scalability. It’s important that your vendor be able to requirements and ranked your priorities, you are now ready provide additional capacity and new services as your to select a vendor. Here are the things to look for in your business grows. partner: • References.Ask to speak to current customers to get different perspectives.And if you can locate and speak • Relevant experience. Look for a vendor who understands your industry and business processes. with customers who aren’t on your vendor’s “approved list of references,” all the better! • Range of technology services. In addition to their technical expertise, it’s wise to explore additional To find a vendor who can help you choose the right contact center solution for your business, use the capabilities such as forecasting call center volumes and delivering integrated CRM. Mitel partner locator. • Responsiveness. Can the vendor adapt to changing needs and market conditions? GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS U.S. EMEA CALA ASIA PACIFIC Tel: +1(613) 592-2122 Tel: +1(480) 961-9000Tel: +44(0)1291-430000 Tel: +1(613) 592-212Tel: +61(0) 2 9023 9500 Fax: +1(613) 592-4784 Fax: +1(480) 961-1370Fax: +44(0)1291-430400 Fax: +1(613) 592-782Fax: +61(0) 2 9023 9501 FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR WORLDWIDE OFFICE LOCATIONS,VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT MITEL.COM/OFFICES mitel.com of its publication, is subject to change without notice. Mitel assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions in this doc▯ument and shall have no obligation to you as a result of having made this document available to you or based upon the information it contains. M MITEL (design) is a registered trademark of Mitel Networks Corporati▯on.All other products and services are the registered trademarks of their respective holders. © Copyright 2013, Mitel Networks Corporation.All Rights Reserved.
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