Contact Center Unified Communications Challenges is the sixth in a series on Contact Center Unified Communications.
In the last two blogs, Contact Center Unified Communications Best Practice Technology and Contact Center Unified Communications Best Practice, we discussed the processes followed and technologies adopted by those best-in-class contact centers with unified communications. In this blog, Contact Center Unified Communications Challenges, we will now look at the other end of the spectrum – the challenges faced by companies without unified communications in the contact center, according to the Aberdeen Research study we have been citing.
1st of Contact Center Unified Communications Challenges – Lack of Systems Integration
Aberdeen Research has found that one of the top Contact Center Unified Communications challenges is lack of systems integration:
Systems integration in the contact center means integrating other applications with your call center software, such as your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application. The Cisco© Customer Journey Platform, for example, can be integrated with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle and ZenDesk CRM applications.
Companies without integrated systems tend to have disjointed customer interactions, as the study results show. These companies struggle with their customer data:
- Disparate data sources and systems (45%) – When systems aren’t integrated, agents have to log into each different system that contains customer information. This means juggling multiple screens and potentially getting lost in the process, or missing key information that the customer expects them to have. Another unfortunate result is lost agent productivity.
- Insufficient data (41%) – Companies without Contact Center Unified Communications also struggle with the challenge of insufficient data. Because their customer data is spread across multiple systems, data can be hard to find at best, or at worst, it may not be there at all. Customers expect agents to know what product(s) they have and understand their past interactions with your company. Not being able to find this information results in agents having to ask customers questions they have probably answered before, which is not the ideal customer experience.
- Data quality (38%) – Another of the Contact Center Unified Communications challenges companies without system integration face is data quality. To have a productive customer interaction that results in an issue resolution or an upsell, agents need to know everything they can about the customer. Having multiple systems that aren’t integrated often means the information they need is old, or inaccurate, or contradictory.
2nd of Contact Center Unified Communications Challenges – Keeping up with Empowered Customers
Another important finding of the Aberdeen Research study is that another of the Contact Center Unified Communications challenges is struggling to keep up with their customers’ expectations:
Customers today have access to more information about the products and services they buy than they ever had before, and as a result, their expectations have risen accordingly. Businesses without Contact Center Unified Communications face challenges in keeping up with these empowered customers.
- Customers have insights into competitive products and services (36%) – Where customers used to come to you for information on your products and services, they now do a lot of online research ahead of time. They know more about what features they want and what they should expect, and their questions can be more complex. In addition, they also have researched the competition and know what other companies offer as alternatives. This means that agents have to have a lot more knowledge at their fingertips. They need to be able to contact their colleagues to ask questions while they are interacting with customers. They need to be able to access online process guides, help guides, templates, and other documents and FAQs. If they can’t find this information in a timely basis, they are going to disappoint customers who have done their research and can easily turn to the competition for answers. Unfortunately, companies without Contact Center Unified Communications struggle with providing agents with the information they need.
- Customers are getting more expensive to acquire (24%) – It’s a competitive environment, both to get customers and retain their loyalty. That makes it even more of an imperative to keep the customers you already have, and the best way to do that is to give customers a great experience when they contact you. You have to give them the flexibility to interact with your business however they prefer, so you have to offer multiple channels. This means you have to give your agents the ability to handle multiple channels efficiently. Without Contact Center Unified Communications, that is going to be a challenge.
3rd of Contact Center Unified Communications Challenges – Delivering OmniChannel Interactions
Omnichannel refers to organizations’ use of multiple channels and devices to interact with customers in a context-aware manner. (See Customer Service In-Context for more information on context-aware interactions.) The Aberdeen Research study shows (see Fig. 2 above) that contact centers without unified communications have challenges delivering omnichannel interactions.
Customers want a consistent experience across all channels. Today more than half of all customer interactions involve multiple events and multiple channels. This can require agents to hand off a customer to other agents. The next agent who interacts with the customer has to be able to pick up the conversation where the last agent left off. With omnichannel and unified communications integrated into a single UI, they would be able to see all the past interactions on their screen, and communicate with their colleagues to ask questions if needed. Without integrated omnichannel and unified communications, they are left to struggle on their own, and will most likely have to ask the customer questions they have already answered, perhaps multiple times.
Ideally, if a customer calls, emails, or chats with a business, the agent who interacts with them will be able to see all the past interactions to give them a picture of where the customer is at and what they are asking for. They will know what the last agent said and therefore won’t contradict it or say the opposite (if that has ever happened to you, you know how infuriating it is). Instead, they can explain or elaborate (even reaching out to the previous agent in question if they need to) on what that agent said. Unfortunately, in contact centers without Contact Center Unified Communications, the agents just don’t have the tools available to them to make this customer experience happen in a consistent way.
Life Without Contact Center Unified Communications is Challenging
Data from the Aberdeen Research study shows that enterprises without Contact Center Unified Communications face challenges with disjointed customer interactions due to lack of systems integration, keeping up with empowered customers, and delivering omnichannel communications.
In the next blog in this series, we’ll look at the three building blocks of Contact Center Unified Communications.
To learn more about the Aberdeen Group research “How to Maximize Customer Satisfaction: The Role of Communication & Collaboration:”
- Listen to the Aberdeen Research on-demand webinar The Business Value of Contact Center and UC Integration
- Download the Aberdeen Research Infographic Maximize Customer Satisfaction through Communication & Collaboration