Question: I manage a fairly large contact centre and the company agrees with me that much of the technology in our shop needs an upgrade. The last time we made major investments in our technology the prevailing guideline was to select the best-in-breed solutions for workforce management, quality monitoring and reporting. After some discovery I find that many vendors now talk about their workforce optimisation suites and claim them as being a much better solution than integrating various best-in-breed solutions. Has contact centre software really changed that much?
William Durr of Verint Answers:
Yes, no and yes. Yes, many vendors talk about their workforce optimisation offerings. No, there are still best-in-breed vendors doing well. And yes, the prevailing trend seems to be away from best-in-breed and towards workforce optimisation solutions. So, in the final analysis the answer to your last question is: Yes, contact centre software has really changed that much. Here’s why. In the 1990s contact centre solutions needed to respond to significant changes brought about by skills based routing and the explosive growth of the contact centre industry as customer service began to emerge as a key competitive differentiator. In particular, QM and WFM solutions experienced significant increases in features and functions to cope with the expanding scope of contact centre operations. Only vendors who were rather focused on one application or the other could manage to keep up with the pace of change required by contact centres. And the best-in-breed solutions did pretty much what they were designed to do – enable QM and WFM specialists to make the contact centre more efficient and effective. Today, contact centres, customers and companies face a markedly different environment. Breath-taking complexity has taken hold.
We have not one but many channels to service our customers through. Social media has turned the tables on who holds the power – companies or customers. And with so many choices available, customers’ expectations at times reach the nearly absurd. The response to this new, harsher environment is the realisation that success cannot be achieved by extracting another half per cent of schedule adherence or raising the average QM scores by a few points. It takes the entire enterprise working collaboratively and intelligently to weather the storm of the empowered customer. So, a WFM solution that addresses only the contact centre or a QM solution that still relies on between 4 and 6 randomly selected telephone calls just won’t cut it anymore. And if these two applications don’t have a common look and feel and float upon the same database, the collaboration and speedy workflows necessary to achieve success will remain out of reach.