One of the reasons why organisations find it hard to draw together the different elements they need to deliver truly joined up customer service has been their over-reliance on enterprise CRM solutions. While CRM databases are a powerful resource, it has become increasingly clear that their complexity, depth of data and speed of access makes them inherently unsuitable for the immediate day-to-day needs of contact centre operations.
The reality is that agents often find it hard to make CRM work for them on the high-pressure, target-led contact centre floor. The last thing agents want is to spend time opening screen after screen and searching through multiple pages to find the information they need to take an interaction forward. We know this is a growing problem for organisations, as a recent poll commissioned by mplsystems queried over 200 UK call centres and found that over half required their agents to use five or more different applications to serve customers, while 23% actively used more than 10 different applications.
While an ideal solution might be to replace everything in the contact centre with a single, integrated solution, that’s likely to be an expensive, time consuming and potentially risky strategy. For most organisations, each existing application or system already performs a necessary function, with many delivering value elsewhere in the business and only supporting the contact centre as a secondary function. Replacing all these applications with a single system simply isn’t realistic.
Instead, the appropriate solution is to bring all this functionality together in a way that makes it much easier for agents to carry out their tasks. Effectively, this requires the combination of contact handling, workflow, case management and reporting with critical data from multiple applications. To achieve efficiency in the contact centre, this then has to be delivered so that contact centre agents and other service staff can access the desktop intuitively, thus adding value to their customer engagements rather than struggling with additional complexity.
Organisations know that the use of multiple applications can have a detrimental impact on customer experience, particularly through prolonged call handling and response times. The reality for customers is that they are kept on hold while agents log into, refer to and cut and paste data from a range of different applications.
Instead of replacing everything, the answer lies in making the most of what you’ve already got, effectively providing agents with a desktop interface that helps them to talk to customers within their context rather than being constricted by a framework of legacy applications.