Contact centers are the lifeblood for a number of businesses. Whether your activity is inbound or outbound or a mixture of both, the success of your organization can often depend on this one department, which means it needs to be running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
The businesses that are the most likely to succeed are those driven by leaders who are always looking to improve productivity, never resting on their laurels. But with all of the technological advances that have paved the way for the wealth of innovative solutions available to businesses, it can be hard to know where to start.
Digital transformation in the contact center
Digital transformation is the strategy that a number of successful business leaders are turning to in order to stay ahead of the competition. The contact center has undergone a number of transformations since its inception thanks to technology, from the invention of switchboards that paved the way for the call center to exist, to ACD technology that allowed for automatic call routing and the outbound dialer which brought about sales call centers.
Thanks to the continued evolution of call center-specific technologies, most contact center operations run relatively smoothly. But that doesn’t mean businesses with contact centers should get too comfortable; to remain competitive and profitable, you should always be looking forward. One key event that will affect many businesses with call centers is the forthcoming ISDN end of life in 2025. BT has announced the end of the technology that powers the majority of UK businesses, with or without contact centers. BT is retiring ISDN for a number of reasons including a lack of flexibility and scalability, no disaster recovery options and increasing costs around using and supporting ISDN.
Life without ISDN
This not only means that businesses utilizing ISDN must move away from the ageing telephone infrastructure; it presents an opportunity to re-evaluate the most essential system to a business’ contact center. One solution that an increasing number of organizations are turning to is hosted telephony, which utilizes Voice over IP (VoIP) technology.
Currently, only 18% of businesses are utilizing the cloud in their contact center operations, but this number is set to sharply increase by 20% year-on-year thanks to the move away from ISDN. One concern businesses have is that cloud-based telephony will affect call quality; however, competent providers will prioritize your voice traffic to ensure quality of service (QoS).
4 benefits of VoIP technology
For businesses reliant on customer service or outbound sales departments, anything that negatively impacts on their contact center operations would be costly. Disaster recovery is essential not only when facing physical disasters, like office flooding, but also to protect against cyber threats. A hosted would solve this issue, with disaster recovery built into the platform.
Poor weather can wreak havoc on your business by preventing your staff from getting into the office. That’ll become a thing of the past thanks to hosted telephony, because your employees can use their mobile phones to do everything, they’d be able to do in the office. A comprehensive VoIP solution will come with a mobile app that will allow employees to place and receive calls to and from the usual business number. This is obviously essential for inbound call activity, but it’s also important for contact centers that primarily deal with outbound numbers. Many individuals expecting a call from a business, wouldn’t answer a random mobile number, or even a withheld number.
Flexibility and mobility are essential to the modern business for a number of reasons. Not only do current and prospective employees demand it, but more customers than ever expect your business to be available anytime, anywhere. The ability for your workforce to take and place calls to and from your business number on a mobile phone offers them a level of flexibility that was previously never afforded to them.
An understandable concern around internet-based telephony is what you’d do in the event of no internet. Perhaps your internet provider is experiencing an issue, or that pesky bad weather has damaged the cables that supply your broadband. The solution is similar; you can get your office staff to make and receive calls on their mobile in the office, or even at home if you expect the problem to last a while.
Digital transformation isn’t just about disaster recovery, of course – though newly-implemented solutions should always be futureproof. A key tenant of digital transformation, contrary to popular opinion, is transforming business processes and operations to ultimately cut costs – whether it’s reduced time spent on manual tasks or moving away from legacy software, investing in the right technology will undoubtedly save your business money in the long run. With hosted telephony you can also save money and increase efficiency.
4. Productivity increase
Another common misconception is that employees who work from home are less productive. However, studies have shown that employees are frequently more productive when working from home. O2’s 2012 study is particularly pertinent, as it involved its large contact center workforce. Thanks to no commuting time, an additional 1000 hours were spent working, and 36% of employees said they felt a lot more productive. Additionally, a similar trial conducted by a Chinese travel center found its contact center employees placed 13.5% more calls.
The future of digital transformation in the contact center
Your contact center workers are the lifeblood of your organization, and can often even be the face of your business. They can be your customers’ first contact with your business, or their point of contact for all things related to your business. Your company couldn’t operate if they weren’t around tomorrow, so you need a solution that means they’ll always be available. The additional benefit of mobility means your employees could work from home and not only be more productive, but be happier and less likely to leave, according to multiple studies.
Your business should always be moving forward and looking to improve to remain competitive in the modern world. Digital transformation is often associated with large-scale projects that can only be accomplished by large enterprises, but it’s more effective when you use it to revolutionize an ageing system that your business relies on. With built-in disaster recovery, the potential for huge cost savings and the benefits of a mobile workforce, you can be sure hosted telephony is a worthwhile investment.