The generation of switches acquired in the early 2000s is now reaching end of life (and, in many cases, end of support from vendors). So, those responsible for voice infrastructure should be considering their options, within the context of a rapidly evolving communication environment.
The switching landscape has changed significantly within the last decade. Multichannel communication is the norm and, as a result, customer interactions are already becoming a lot more complex. The focus now is on integrating multiple channels, such as SMS, web chat, email social media and, of course, voice; streamlining inbound and outbound communication for a single “360 degree” customer view.
Having the ability to support diverse communication channels as well as burstable capacity (for peak flows e.g. Clearing) are just two pressure points that universities really need to consider, as they weigh up the options for IP migration.
Managing the pace of change
With legacy platforms reaching end-of-life deadlines, it has become much harder for organisations to change to these constantly adapting market conditions. The teams responsible for these systems are understandably reluctant to add new multimedia applications to the legacy switch but, given the pace of change and customer expectations, this is an untenable position to maintain.
However, the ‘rip and replace’ IP migration path often recommended by infrastructure vendors also makes it difficult for universities to move forward. This “one stop shop” approach can be appealing: the promise of simplified deployment, single accountability, centralised management and lower costs. But it automatically cuts off any forward flexibility by locking universities in with one supplier.
C3 support clients taking a phased approach to migration, making it possible for them to sweat out their existing switch investments with new applications that are relevant to their user-base and can simply be migrated across to IP.Taking this granular approach encourages pick-and-mix application deployment.
Not only is this more cost effective, it also gives buyers the flexibility to adopt a wide range of applications from specialised ‘best of breed’ suppliers who can offer strong technological leadership and more advanced solutions to satisfy changes in legislation e.g. such as PCI DSS Compliance for credit card payments.
The Forrester Research report ‘Ending the multichannel frustration’ demonstrates how increasingly complex it has become to provide customer service.
According to the report, only 39% of companies earned an “excellent” or “good” customer experience index rating, whilst almost two thirds of brands were rated as delivering an “ok” to “very poor” customer experience.
The report outlines three key areas where customer service departments are struggling:
These issues stem from the lack of integration between communication channels, both technically and functionally. This might have been acceptable five years ago. But we live in a multichannel age where we expect to email, call and Tweet an organisation, and for them to have a common-thread view of all those interactions.
Without an integrated contact centre solution agents are unable to track customer enquiries across channels, which is frustrating for them and the customer.
Contact is our multichannel contact centre. This browser-based solution gives organisations the ability to stream all their enquiries into one unified interface. We also support outbound campaigns across the various channels, for a complete “360 degree” view of your communications, and PCI Compliant billing across channels.
As customers we expect to reach businesses using the communication channel most convenient to us and, if we’re very unhappy with the service we receive, we’re likely to broadcast that to everyone via social media. This infographic demonstrates how customers are using various communication channels and their expectations from them.
Companies are finally getting on board with “multichannel” and investing in contact centre software that is able to unify their fragmented communication channels.
There are now a number of solutions available that simplify the management of your multichannel operation. They are designed to capture disparate inbound enquiries and send them, in a unified queue, to your agents.
However, where some of these systems struggle is with outbound capabilities. Many don’t support outbound communication at all, which obviously creates another frustrating interaction silo where valuable customer data can fall between the cracks.
The ideal situation is for your multichannel contact centre to provide inbound/outbound functionality – where outbound campaigns and subsequent inbound enquiries correlate for a substantial impact on the consistent experience. This ensures you can monitor the impact of your marketing campaigns and make any necessary changes in response to live results.
Our multichannel contact centre software, Contact, offers this fused inbound/outbound functionality giving you a 360-degree view of your channels and customers. We also support centralised (and PCI Compliant) billing so customers can easily transact between channels.
Everything can be launched and managed via one browser based interface for a comprehensive and holistic view of your customer.