Shift Your Contact Center from Reactive to Real Time

Customers are much less forgiving today, because they know you can do better. They've all experienced superlative service somewhere and they know where your competitors are. Yet, most companies don't understand how upset they can make their customers and prospects when they provide lousy service. And how easy it is for customers to bolt. To compete, your contact center needs to provide superlative service with convenient 24-hour access for your customers--no matter where they are--and get them the information they need the first time. Your contact center must shift quickly from reactive to real-time and adaptive. This isn't about jumping on the latest technology bandwagon. Instead, it's about helping people connect with each other in a vastly more mobile and demanding world with the best tools for the job. It's also about becoming customer-centric to build learning relationships so you can think and act in a customer-specific way to deliver unique value and competitive advantage. This customer centricity can appear very perplexing when you have greatly dissimilar customers, many of whom are using more and more different ways to communicate with you 24 hours a day. Ultimately it means leaving your phone-only call center behind and creating a contact center that makes it as easy as possible for your customers to do business with you. The key is to really understand your various customer needs and expectations and modify your approach as a result. Then understand how your contact center can tap into the power of innovative technologies like multimedia, VoIP, advanced speech, video, and SIP to open new and richer avenues of customer communication. You'll foster instantaneous collaboration that enables your employees and processes to work more adeptly and boost success. Create a virtual contact center, using VoIP, to eliminate boundaries and obtain tremendous freedom, boost productivity, and gain agility. A virtual contact center is ideal, whether you operate a multichannel, 24-hour-a-day global contact center, leverage outsource partners when required, or draw on specialized skill sets. Exceptional versatility allows you to employ and retain highly skilled individuals wherever they are, quickly respond to dynamic market conditions, and lower operating costs through a converged architecture. Your customers receive enhanced service because their requests are handled more promptly by the most appropriately skilled person while your people gain more variety and flexibility in their work--leading to higher morale and lower turnover. You can personalize service with ultimate flexibility and manage all types of contacts dynamically using key capabilities like skill-based routing and comprehensive real-time and historical management tools. Combined capabilities include phone, email, chat, Web, SMS, and video plus outbound so you can proactively reach your customers. It's perfect for mobile and other phone customers when you seamlessly integrate advanced speech applications into your contact center to multiply convenient access 24 hours a day. You'll offer friendlier, faster new services, giving your customers the knowledgeable help they need without speaking to a person. You can listen to your customers when you let them talk using speech capabilities like natural language routing. When it's effortless, considerably more people use self-service. You'll reduce your operating costs because the average call length is shorter yet dramatically enhance your offerings, so everybody wins. You can continue to adapt by adding SIP to your contact center. Impressive SIP capabilities simplify real-time collaboration and dynamic response using any device to open limitless communication avenues and drive first contact resolution by drawing on expertise across your organization. Your employees can work anywhere, even at home, and have a superb set of collaboration tools at their fingertips. When your employees need to consult with an expert coworker or a partner to make a decision quickly--it's simple with tools like meet-me and video conferencing, white boards, and unified messaging. SIP facilitates this crucial collaboration by adding a presence capability to these tools. So, whether it's instant messaging, a phone call or video conferencing, it's effortless for your employees to know which team members or specialists are available right now to help. Video can enrich your business communication to exceed customer expectations and enhance the ability to bond with your customers, strengthening relationships and building loyalty. You can craft unique contextual customer services that optimize each interaction, such as providing customized video clips while your customers wait for service. Plus, video significantly augments the opportunities for you to provide complex and dynamic information impossible otherwise. Customer-centric communication ensures problems are solved and decisions are made immediately. Customers and employees can connect without needing to worry about which devices are used and you can craft unique personalized services that optimize each interaction. When your contact center shifts to a real-time and adaptive one, you'll have the ability to foster ongoing competitive advantage and boost your success. About the Author Betsy Wood is evangelist at Nortel Multimedia Applications, and participates in a global team helping companies deliver definitive customer service. Wood received an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, and a BS in electrical engineering from Valparaiso Technical Institute. Please reach Betsy at bjwood@nortel.com or 408-495-7014, and visit www.nortel.com
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