Despite all the excitement around contact center technology capabilities and innovation, many centers continue to fall short when it comes to getting value from their investments. Our recent Future of the Contact Center Survey showed that skepticism continues to lurk out there for new technology, such as bots and Artificial Intelligence. I’m not surprised. When technology is pursued in a vacuum or amid the glow of “shiny object syndrome,” it’s not on the path to success. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s my short list of important things TO DO to get the best value from your technology investment:
- Develop a strategic plan, document it, socialize it, and keep it up to date.
- Build a business case, and while that means financial analysis in many cases, some initiatives can be justified as “must do” – such as reducing risk or remaining competitive.
- Carefully select your vendors, because they are more than just a commodity provider; consider functionality, technical issues such as architecture, integration, and redundancy, implementation and the services that go with that step, and support and how they stand behind their product.
- Create a project plan of your own for each project (don’t just rely on the vendor’s plan); address the people and process changes that go with the technology implementation.
- Make changes day one and define and pursue phases as appropriate. I can’t emphasize this one enough –do not just replicate what you have when you implement new technology!
- Ensure integration is part of the plans and implementation so that your systems work together, and your agents aren’t the integration point.
- Test appropriately because you know what happens when you assume it will all work just fine!
- Make sure you’ve put the people and processes in place to use and manage the technology effectively (frontline and support).
- Make roles and responsibilities clear (again, document, socialize, update) – for implementation, configuration changes, support, testing, monitoring, etc.
- Designate trained, qualified people, and give them time to apply and support technology (not an “in your spare time” job!).
- Follow up to make sure your ROI is being achieved, and adjust if it’s not.
- Actively manage vendor performance and hold them accountable.