As I write this, we are just finishing up a cloud-based contact center platform search with a client. I am once again reminded of the many challenges facing any contact center operation in evaluating the technology today available for you to best manage your customer experience.
We at CH Consulting Group have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the last 2 years to research, reference, demo and price out the cloud based solutions available to contact center for voice, chat, email, IVR and social media response management support. A year ago, there were just under 100. Today a leader in this space said they have approx. 230 competitors.
How is a buyer to navigate this? And please note that the whole point of all of these hundreds of hours of research and relationship building was supposed to make this process easier for us and our clients.
And yet once again we have been surprised, disappointed (sometimes even disgusted by what they call a contact center platform), unimpressed and frustrated as we walked side by side through this process again with a client. It is just never fun and easy to navigate this FAST emerging technology space—but it is EXCITING!
This decision is business critical for client performance and profitability reasons, and it is daunting to navigate the way overpopulated market of cloud-based call management solutions. We wrap our latest round and conquest up for you like this—for however it may help you proceed into this maze:
- It’s a zoo out there!
Approximately 230 so-called contact center platforms available to help you with inbound and outbound call routing, dialing and reporting. The problem is there is not 230. There are 15, MAYBE 20 worth looking at, and way easier if you can start with this universe to weed out the under developed, under featured and just flat out lies of products that say they can run your blended customer experience operation.
2. All talk, no real feature
It’s clear with the barrier of entry to this market at an all-time low, due to decreasing development times/costs thanks to new technologies, that anyone can create a single call routing tool and call it ready. What seems to be missing from a number of these products is any sophisticated call routing which is where real Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and profit management meet efficiency, true blended inbound and outbound processes.
3. Where’s the data?
Speaking about missing, nothing makes us more frustrated then these technology systems without adequate data and reporting. Data drives contact centers. Key performance metrics in the form of effective reports, dashboards and all developed with customization in mind are KEY and should be expected by any worthy product. Be leery of the “we will build it as you need it” report packages as they may be smoke and mirrors to eth product/teams real capabilities or they may charge you more then you want to know to get the reports you need to run your business.
4. Omni channel or bust
Omni channel is not optional. I know it’s all the buzz—and few of us are ready or in a place to honestly say we have a rolled out, effective omni-channel strategy in place for ultimate customer loyalty. But in addition to all that research on technology, we here at CH Consulting Group have been doing a lot of research on consumer trending and guesses what—we need to get there!
Consumer demands are clear. They want to communicate with you for purchase or service when and how they want. With all this exciting new technology advancement it means they have choices and they fully expect to exercise their right to choose. The forecast is over $17 Billion ion revenue expected to “move” from one company to another due to unsatisfied consumer experience. We get few of even the 15-20 companies we love are even there yet, but you better know you have a strategy and technology partner to get you there in eth next 3 years or risk revenue
5. Gone like the wind
Constant development means constant change. We are not fans of long 3-5 year contracts on these SAS model cloud based systems, unless we KNOW they are going to meet all of our clients’ business specific needs and the above check list. It is important today to expect your technology partner to have a transparent and effective development plan that can be shared with you.
The platform you run your communications on (voice, web chat, SMS, email) is the foundation of the voice of your business. Knowing that at a time when there are SO MANY options and SO MUCH money is getting invested in this space, and as the developers fight to dominate this space, make sure you make them EARN YOUR BUSINESS and not get you stuck in a product past it’s prime, while others out-pace you to the top on new features we haven’t even seen yet!
Read here to learn more about CH Consulting Group as a partner and our approach. Feel free to reach out to Christa to learn more about her findings and research….and how she may be able to assist you navigate this or any other contact center customer experience and strategy need you have. There are even some recently archived webinars you can listen to on these topics.