I was in the audience at a conference recently as a colleague delivered a presentation examining “the greatest challenge” for organizations considering the move to cloud contact center. Being well-versed on the subject, he highlighted what he considered are the most prevalent pain points. He made a strong case that the challenges to moving their contact center to the cloud are not what buyers often assume; the biggest obstacles aren’t related to functionality, technology or pricing.
What surprised me most was the audience’s response. Peppered with questions about functionality, integration and pricing, our speaker answered each query in detail, sharing experiences both good and bad. Interestingly, the audience seemed more concerned with project cost and technical hurdles rather than how a cloud contact center can positively influence their business objectives.
In my opinion, the audience missed a golden opportunity by neglecting to dig into the details on the most important challenge: identifying a partner best-suited to help you achieve your business goals. From a technology standpoint, almost everything you have on premise can be “duplicated” in the cloud. As project leader, it is your responsibility to conduct the necessary due diligence and ensure the cloud solutions under consideration meet your specific functional needs.
The right partner - and I do mean partner, not technology vendor – will provide you with guidance and EXPERTISE, and not just a subscription for contact center “as a service.” The right partner will understand what you need to get executive buy-in, and will go “all-in” to help your company succeed.
Let’s face it, every CEO wants to lower costs, acquire new customers and strengthen their bottom line. The heavy emphasis on pricing and expenses that dominated the Q&A reflected the hoops we jump through to green-light an investment in new technology.
But in a world where parity of platform is the norm, how we measure success and productivity must go beyond the black and white, dollars and cents calculations. The first step is to define how you will measure contact center business success. This provides the clarity you’ll need to accurately assess a prospective partner’s ability to support your team’s productivity goals.
This approach removes ambiguity and is key to understanding whether a sales pitch looks at the big picture or only short-term gains. Also, this insight helps determine if a potential partner focuses solely on technology “bells and whistles” or if they will invest in a relationship that delivers real business benefits.
Over the past few years, I have developed a strong affinity for solution and service providers that embrace outcomes over outputs. Simply put, outputs are what work the organization does, whereas outcomes are what these outputs accomplish.
In the context of contact center, outputs are easy to measure, like taking more calls with fewer transfers, shortening wrap-up time or handling a higher number of customer interactions with the addition of a chat or social interaction channel. Or for your CTO - lower costs.
Measuring the strategic objectives of a customer experience program can be a far more accurate evaluation of productivity and performance. For this methodology to be effective, you must first establish an index of specific outcomes that are important, such as:
Measuring productivity hinges on the ability to answer questions about the outcomes most important to your business. Selecting a like-minded partner who embraces both qualitative and quantitative measures will not only facilitate executive buy-in for cloud contact center, but will also ensure your investment achieves pre-defined business objectives.
Conversely, I’d recommend you stay away from providers whose sales pitch centers on a long list of features and functionally that “will lower your costs tomorrow”.
The right partner will proactively engage with you and cares about long-term results and operational performance. The right partner provides expertise on both technology and contact center best practices – as well as goes the extra mile to help your business achieve successful outcomes.
After all, as a buyer of contact center, you’re a businessperson not a bookkeeper.
About the Author: Jacki Tessmer is vice president of cloud and service provider strategy for Enghouse Interactive, a global provider of contact center and customer interaction solutions.
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