I always look forward to ICMI’s Contact Center Expo and Conference. It gives me a concentrated look at what’s happening in the industry apart from my day-to-day work with clients. And, of course, I always enjoy hanging out with folks who love contact centers as much as I do.
Here are some observations that I took away from the May 4-7, 2015 gathering in Orlando, FL:
Cloud-based solutions are everywhere… and still maturing. The show floor featured providers of core contact center (CC) capabilities (multi-channel routing, reporting, IVR, etc.) as well as performance optimization, not to mention Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Knowledge Management (KM). While many of these vendors focus exclusively on cloud-based solutions, the premise-based solution providers are jumping on the bandwagon. For example, most of the premised-based Workforce Optimization (WFO) vendors now offer cloud-based options. Although it’s a small part of their business todate, we expect that will change… perhaps rapidly.
Vendors have become very open about pricing for cloud-based solutions. Some vendors will hand you their price lists! You want WFM (or QM or …)? It’s $X/month/user. You want a package with a combination of tools? Here’s a bundle price per agent. As buyers get used to this new treatment, all vendors will need to become far more agile in how they sell and deliver solutions.
Sessions on multi/omni-channel customer contact and analytics drew sizable crowds. The same overarching theme ran through both these “hot topics”: Everybody wants to do it, but it’s hard! And it’s not just about technology; it’s about people and processes, too. Yet, if we (finally) get them right, contact centers will reap the benefits in operational efficiency and effectiveness, the customer experience, and agent morale. [For more information, check out our posts in the multi-channel and analytics categories.]
The keynote speakers offered some great, practical ideas that not only inspired but called for action. In particular, Dennis Snow (www.snowassociates.com) provided great tools for thinking about Service Mapping (a.k.a. process design) with the customer in mind rather than focusing exclusively on internal objectives. The right mix of internal-external perspectives creates a “win” for everyone. Erik Wahl (https://theartofvision.com/) challenged all of us to leverage our creativity (and set aside our fears) to improve our ability to deliver great service – as individuals, as a center, and as a company.