Mobility in Contact Center Management: Freedom, Functionality and Even a Touch of Fun


Mobility in Contact Center Management: Freedom, Functionality and Even a Touch of Fun

By TMCnet Special Guest
Rick McFarland
  |  August 05, 2013

When we think of mobility in telecommunications, most often our focus goes immediately to mobility in unified communications and the ongoing challenge of presence management. This includes road warriors, for example, relying on find me/follow me applications, sales executives seamlessly accessing office-based functions out in the field, and smartphones and other personal devices being integrated into the corporate phone system to work as external extensions.

These capabilities are quite well known and have grown to maturity in the communications industry. But there is another area of business communications that is not traditionally associated with mobility, but where the power and freedom of this technology can make a significant and tangible difference. This area is the modern contact center, in particular, its supervision and administration.

The Wall Bored

Normally, when you think of contact center supervision and administration, visions of giant wallboards spring to mind. It is a mainstay progress indicator of the traditional contact center environment that still prevails today – a singularly uninteresting format. Most contact center managers would agree that this fixed technology is dated. In fact, wallboards have always been thought of as clunky and unwieldy, expensive to deploy, tough to integrate with contact center software, limited in the amount of critical information they can display, and useless if they don’t happen to lie directly in your line of sight. Even at an angle, or viewed from a distance, wallboards are difficult to see. But the main drawback of wallboards is that they tend to keep supervisors locked to fixed positions in their offices, limiting their ability to move freely about the contact center and interact with their agents, let alone travel throughout the company to tend to other business.

Today, however, especially with the proliferation of social media and the demand it creates to resolve caller issues on the spot, contact center supervisors and administrators can ill afford to remain tucked away in their offices, with bleary eyes locked onto desktop monitors or the main room’s giant wallboard. Supervisors need to be able to get out and about to stand side-by-side with their agents and interact with them person-to-person, but they must be able to do so without losing touch of the contact center’s minute-to-minute status. Short of lugging a Wi-Fi laptop around – or strapping the wallboard to an oversized hand truck – the mobility choices for the supervisor have remained, until now, basically limited. But mobility has finally come to the contact center supervisor and with it, liberation.

Tablets that Get You Out of the Office

Imagine supervisors being able to access and manage their contact center software’s progress and administration screens using convenient portable tablets that offer a simplified and more intuitive graphical interface — a progress dashboard, if you will, that leverages the slide-and-tap touch screen navigation that has become so ingrained in our everyday lives. And because these interfaces are so inherently familiar to the user, thanks to the estimated 100 million-plus tablets in use today, very little special training, if any, is necessary.

Supervisors and administrators can carry these tablets literally anywhere in the company and remain in touch, not only with contact center stats and status, but also with their agents via live chat capabilities. These tablets can be carried into conference rooms where daily progress meetings are held, and the information can be wirelessly projected onto video screens for all in attendance to see. No need to rush back to the office for data, no need for stacks of paper, no need for spreadsheets, and no need for reports that are outdated the minute they are printed. For contact center supervisors who are plucked out of action to attend frequent status meetings like these, the value of such mobility becomes immediately and thankfully apparent.

Greater Convenience and FUNctionality

Another important value proposition for conducting contact center management supervision via handheld mobile devices is that tablets can be fun. Yes, fun. And anything that infuses the sometimes monotonous and mundane world of contact center management with new energy is a good thing, not only ensuring technology adoption among stubborn, cranky, and set-in-their-way users, but also encouraging them to adapt to newer, more modern, and more productive work techniques that promote greater utilization of software.

There’s a reason why tablets have become so popular so quickly and so prevalently: They are curious and interesting to operate. They are immediate, personal, and convenient. And to a great degree, they are fun to use. That said, don’t let these apparently whimsical descriptions of tablet use fool you. They represent phenomenal technology and immeasurable potential in work settings. Their easy mobility and proven appeal possess the power to make a profound impact on the management of your contact center. They’ll make for better morale among supervisors, who can now be liberated from the lonely seclusion of their offices without feeling they are losing touch with the information they need to be effective managers.

What You Need

About now, many of you may be asking yourselves: Sounds great; but does it really make sense to pursue this investment, when, technically, I don’t really need this technology? Fair question. And here is a rebuttal worth considering: The introduction of the tablet has caused a sea change in technological culture around the world, and since an increasing number of commercial and industrial environments are routinely introducing tablets and other portable devices into their day-to-day operations, a compelling argument can be made that the time to innovate the contact center with tablet-based mobile administration is now.

Contact center supervisors would be able to more freely rove and roam throughout their departments in more fluid and organic ways, interacting more personally with personnel, and humanizing the overall experience for agents as well as customers. In addition, from an integration standpoint, a new, graphically rich, tablet-based front-end experience can be easily and seamlessly integrated with existing back-end systems, making the move to mobility not only feasible, but also simple and non-disruptive. And, if all this weren’t enough, the price of tablets keeps dropping, so implementation and deployment of mobility in the contact center continues to become a more affordable proposition each year.

Making the Move to Mobility

Tablet culture is here to stay, and it’s where humankind is inevitably headed. As technology developers continue to create for today’s two to three top platforms, and optimize applications to accommodate for varying screen sizes, the tablet will continue growing, as projected, as one of the multimedia device form factors of choice for commercial and industrial settings. With all these factors ideally lining up, mobility in the contact center is a pioneering idea whose time has definitely come. Now the only question is: Are you ready to make the move?

Rick McFarland is CEO of Voice4Net (

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]
blog comments powered by Disqus