Contact center personnel often feel like the ill-fated crew on “Gilligan’s Island” – cast away on their own island. Lacking connection with the “mainland,” they leverage their own resources to devise tools and processes that meet their immediate needs. Everyone knows that this situation is far from optimal, but the organizational chasm always seems too broad and too much trouble to span.
No matter how daunting the task, it’s time for the contact center to get off the island. Several technologies on the center’s radar demand an enterprise view:
- Voice over IP (VoIP) heads the list. The shift to a shared telephony and applications infrastructure enables smaller sites to gain access to “bells and whistles” that were previously beyond their purview. It also opens the door for other parts of the organization to engage in customer service when needed.
- Unified communications builds on the VoIP architecture by delivering a set of tools that make it easy for people to work together, across media, regardless of location. For example, agents can use presence and instant messaging to query their peers, their supervisors, and/or subject matter experts.
- A whole range of business process optimization tools have workflow capabilities that trigger actions, events, or outcomes. While such tools certainly drive efficiencies within a given organizational silo, the larger gains accrue when organizations carry the processes and the tools across the enterprise.
- Social networking creates another reason to tear down organizational walls. While marketing may carry the ball – or at least play a major role in content development – the contact center may be the appropriate venue for addressing customer concerns or providing opportunities for interactive dialog.
- New breeds of contact center performance tools cross interdepartmental lines. For example, speech analytics tools could generate hard data to convince marketing that their message confuse customers, product management that their products create too many service calls, or training that their programs and processes do not prepare reps for real world interactions.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) and knowledge management (KM) are enterprise plays. Both are rooted in a customer lifecycle, an information lifecycle, and a coordinated set of end-to-end processes.
As you migrate toward enterprise-level technology implementations, you’ll need to build bridges to your colleagues in other parts of the organization. Start by finding a mechanism to work collaboratively on one project. Your IT and/or project management group might serve as the unifying agent.
Your enterprise-focused team will not be foreign to vendors. They’re ready for you! Contact center vendors have expanded their offerings to meet enterprise needs. Enterprise vendors have diversified into the contact center space. And, of course, the boundaries between voice and data are gone.
It may be tempting to live with the status quo, yet the business opportunity is too great to ignore. You need to challenge yourself to look out for what’s best for the company and the customer while serving as a passionate advocate for your own needs.
Why not download the full article (“Technology Bridges Organizational Siloes”) and use it as a launch pad for discussion with IT, project management, or your peers on other parts of the organization? You may find that folks are eager for an island getaway…